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SCATTERED NEWS AROUND WNY
NOVEMBER 24 201
Bill Hilts Jr.
Outdoors: Thanksgiving hunts stir vivid memoriesThanksgiving
<<<<<<< Jason Johannes of Ransomville took this buck from a Niagara County cornfield during opening weekend of the regular season with his Remington muzzleloader.
Outdoors: Thanksgiving hunts stir vivid memories– a time for
giving thanks, sharing a bounty of food and making outdoor
experiences. I thought about all of that and more this past weekend
while big-game hunting on the hills of southern Steuben County for
the regular-season opener. It’s a magical time of year for sure.
It’s a tradition that started for us more than five decades ago –
the same hill; the same tree in some cases.
|Ozarks – Part III -
See parts 1 and 2 below
“Show Me” a Quest for Personal Best Bass
“What goes around comes around.”
Many people believe in that statement and follow a path in life that subscribes to that way of thinking. To a certain extent, it worked for Scott Pauley and me during our recent visit to the “Show Me” State in and around Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. Pauley, who is contracted out by the state’s Division of Tourism for promoting its fishing resources (hint, hint I Love NY people), visited Niagara USA a few years ago on his way back from attending the Outdoor Writers Association of America conference in Lake Placid. He enjoyed a couple of days of fishing, including some pretty darn good bass action on the Niagara Bar, during his September stop-over. He offered to take us out with the hopes of showing off his home state. More on that a little later.
We ended Part II by checking in to Holiday Shores Resort www.holidayshoresresort.com , located between Osage Beach and Lake Ozark. We unpacked the Tahoe and headed over to the Tropic Island, a 75-foot luxury yacht that offers 90-minute narrated cruises around the lake at a nominal fee. Capt. Omer Clark runs a tight ship and the trip was very informative www.tropicislandcruises.com . Back to our temporary home at Holiday Shores. What was cool about this place was that we had our choice of three different floors for sleeping options.
We were up bright and early to meet up with Marjorie Beenders and Kyle Stewart for breakfast (at Stewart’s of course for another cinnamon roll and a pork chop breakfast) for a recap of what we had experienced so far and plans for what was yet to come. Of course, they were happy the trip was going well … but it’s what they expected. They had much pride in the area, as well as the state. They couldn’t wait to “show me” more.
Off to Lake of the Ozarks State Park www.mostateparks.com , the state’s flag ship park at nearly 18,000 acres. Not only is it the biggest, it is also the most popular as far as visitation is concerned. I’m still amazed that there is no fee to enter any of the state parks in Missouri. A total of 12 hiking trails are available. That’s not all though. The park offers up a self-guided aquatic trail, mountain biking options and equestrian trails for those that like to ride horses. The park also has boat rentals, public ramps and docks. Fishing is always just a cast away.
Inside the park was another attraction we needed to see: Ozark Caverns. This one was entirely different than the Bridal Cave. There was no internal lighting (we had to carry lanterns on the tour) and we couldn’t take anything extra into the caverns (like wallets or cameras) due to the threat of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) spores being carried out and transported to another area. WNS is decimating bat populations throughout the continent. Since it was first discovered in Howes Cave in New York in 2006, more than a million bats have already died. It’s important to become informed on the issues.
The tour itself was very interesting, featuring an impressive “angel shower” – one of only 14 in the world and the only one in the United States open to the public. The “angel shower” pours a never-ending stream of water out of appears to be solid rock … and into a bath tub made of calcite. The source of the water, despite some intensive research, has not been discovered. For more information on the caverns, call 573-346-2500.
After we left the caverns, we took a quick tour around the park and visited the Swinging Bridges of Brumley – a historical attraction off the beaten path. We actually caught some of the locals doing some “bridge jumping” (not recommended) as we drove across the 400 foot long antiquated structure. It has stood the test of time, an early adaptation to the construction of Lake of the Ozarks back in 1931.
Not knowing how far we were from any kind of a gas station (and with our gas gauge flashing an early warning) we used Onstar to locate the nearest petrol store to avert any kind of embarrassment. Technology can be wonderful. Onstar sent the Tahoe directions immediately to the navigation system and we were filling up within five minutes. We were closer to civilization than we thought. Tip: Check the gas tank
We hit a couple of wineries during our stay, finding many of the selections to our liking. Shawnee Bluff Winery www.shawneebluffwinery.com in Lake Ozark offered a great view overlooking the lake with an indoor tasting room and bistro that was pleasing to the palate. There were several other wineries in the area, too – a great way to break up the trip.
While golfing didn’t fit into our itinerary this time around, the area offered up some amazing courses. If you enjoy hitting the little white ball around, you’ll want to check out this region for sure. The only golfing we did was at Sugar Creek for a quick round of miniature golf. Even those courses are elaborate, giving us the option of two different 18-hole courses. ( www.sugarcreekminigolf.com . As we’ve been saying all along, fun for the whole family!
Another side trip was to Tour L’Osage Caviar facilities, a subsidiary to Osage Catfisheries, Inc. Founded by Jim Kahrs in 1953, the caviar side of things blossomed because of the declining wild sturgeon populations in the Caspian Sea. In 1981, the family began paddlefish production – a fish found abundantly in the lake – and started its “paddlefish ranching program” in 1984.
“Aquaculture is a huge part of our business right now,” said Steve Kahrs, part of the next generation of family running the show. “We have 32 different species of fish that we offer to aquariums and research facilities around the world. You can see some of our fish in Bass Pro and the aquarium in Scottsdale, Arizona to name but a few.”
The icing on the cake, so to speak, was the final fishing trip courtesy of Pauley. Big Ed Franko, Lake of the Ozarks fishing guide ( www.bigedsguideservice.com ) and co-owner of Bass & Baskets Bed and Breakfast in Lake Ozark ( www.bassandbaskets.com ) with his wife, Deb, also offered to help take our little group out in the morning before the sun chased us indoors. It was going to be a hot one!
We met at Big Ed’s lakefront accommodation and boat dock. Pauley was already there. We hopped on board and within five minutes we were fishing. Laurie Calvert from Oregon City, Oregon was the first to create excitement, hauling in a four and a half pound largemouth – her first fish ever! She was bouncing a rubber worm along the bottom. Her husband, Joe, will now have to include her on future fishing outings!!
Everyone caught fish for the few hours we were on the water. Crankbaits, swim baits and rubber worms were the three most popular enticements. It was near the end of our trip when my rod doubled over while drifting a rubber worm in 25 feet of water. Several times the fish stripped out line. Finally, after about a five minute battle, we pulled in a hefty six pound largemouth – a personal best. What a great way to end our trip, after exploring a new area and making new friends along the way. That’s what it’s all about. We can cross the Ozarks off of our bucket list, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be back for some more fun in the sun … and on the water. Check out the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau’s website at www.FunLake.com ; 1-800-FUN-LAKE.
Beginners Luck Reigns True for Summer Derby … Again
For Chad Fenstermaker of Warren, Ohio, this was a maiden voyage on Lake Ontario out of Olcott, fishing with Capt. Mitch Shipman of Signature Charters. Little did he realize he was about to make derby history by setting the pace in the 7th Annual Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Summer Derby held July 1-31, 2016 – winning the $10,000 Grand Prize by reeling in a 31 pound, 7 ounce Chinook salmon the final weekend of the contest. They also won the $1,000 weekly salmon prize.
It started Friday morning, July 29. Weather was a bit rough but they decided to head out in Shipman’s 21-foot 2010 Ranger 620 named Signature Charters about 10 am. At around 12:30 pm, pulling a Raspberry Shadow Moonshine spoon 90 feet back on a dispy diver set on No. 2 over 205 feet of water somewhere north of Wilson off Niagara County, the big fish hit.
“It took out over 500 feet of line when we hooked the winner,” said Fenstermaker, reeling in his first and biggest salmon ever. He told the crowd at Captain Jack’s in Sodus Point that he will split the Grand Prize with Captain Mitch. Fenstermaker is a signal maintenance employee for Norfolk Southern Railroad and is also in the Air Force Reserves. His share of the money will probably go for a honeymoon. He was married to his wife Rachel last November and they’ve not had that special celebratory trip yet. Remember Chad, Niagara Falls is the honeymoon capital – a perfect place after your Niagara USA king!
First place in the Salmon Division was Larry Wills of Lewiston, NY with a 30 pound, 15 ounce king salmon reeled in on July 8. The fish held up in the race for Grand Prize for three weeks before the last weekend heroics. Fishing with his brother-in-law Don Stephenson and Timothy Wills aboard Wills’ 24-foot Penn Yan “Reel Therapy,” they made a last minute decision to take off from work late in the day and meet at the Wilson launch ramp. “You need a pass in the derby if you want to get on the boat,” said Wills at the awards gathering. “It was my biggest salmon ever and it took about 40 minutes to bring to the net.” They were fishing straight out from Wilson 40 feet down over 400 feet of water with a purple colored Warrior spoon off the downrigger, hooking the fish at 6:30 pm. They won $1,000 for first place plus $1,000 for the weekly salmon prize.
Top Youth salmon catcher was Nicolas Curtiss of Overland Park, Kansas with a 28 pound, 5 ounce fish reeled in off Olcott while fishing with Capt. Vince Pierleoni and Thrillseeker on a spin doctor and A-Tom-Mik fly. He placed 13th overall in the division. John Powell of Niagara Falls, NY weighed in the largest salmon by a Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association member to win an extra $500 in addition to his 11th place winnings. The fish checked in at 28 pounds, 8 ounces and was caught out of Wilson. It was interesting to note that the 20th place salmon weighed in at 27 pounds, 7 ounces.
In the Brown Trout Division, Guy Witkiewitz of Ontario, NY set the pace by reeling in a personal best 18 pound, 14 ounce brownie to win the $1,000 first place prize and the $250 weekly prize. Second place Brown Trout went to Thomas Gies of Ann Arbor, Michigan with a 17 pound, 6 ounce. He caught the fish on July 3 and it held up almost the entire derby. Fishing with Capt. Dan Evans of Lone Wolf Fishing Charters out of Wilson, they were trolling over 220 feet of water – an unusual place for a big brown – especially since they had been catching salmon. Gies’ personal-best brown bit an Ice Shadow Moonshine spoon 45 feet down. They were fishing out of Evans’ 32 foot Luhrs that sports the name “Lone Wolf.”
Top Youth Brown also came in through some unique circumstances. Adam Flachbart of Fairview Park, Ohio was casting off the pier in Olcott with his dad when a 14 pound, 5 ounce trout grabbed hold of his Yo-Zuri crankbait – “a color they don’t make any more.” While the fish didn’t make the Top 20, he still received a nice trophy for his efforts.
In the Lake Trout Division, the winning catch this time around came from Henderson Harbor as the east and the west continue to have a slug-fest from derby to derby. Ephraim Burt of Watertown was fishing with angling buddies Chuck Trump and Joe Sabadish took the lead on July 16 and never looked back when they weighed in a 24 pound, 3 ounce laker. Second place laker went to the Western Basin when Bob Turton of Sanborn registered a 23 pound, 7 ounce fork-tail, a fish he caught with his father (Roger) on July 3 for the early lead. Fishing from their 19-foot Crestliner named “RT and Son,” they were trolling the Niagara Bar with a green Kwikfish lure in 80 feet of water. They caught the fish at 10:30 am and it took them about 15 minutes to reel the fish to the net. “Dad” also managed to place a fish on the board, a 19 pound, 1 ounce laker that finished in 12th.
The Rainbow-Steelhead Division saw a tight battle for first. Wade Winch of North Tonawanda was crowned the overall champ by virtue of his 17 pound, 10 ounce personal best trout. He caught the winning fish with Pete Baio while fishing out of a 21 foot Cruisers named “S & K.” They were trolling off Wilson in 180 feet of water using a purple Dreamweaver spoon behind a slide diver set back 185 feet on a No. 2.5 setting. It hit their offering at 8 am. This was the first time the two anglers fished together.
Just two ounces back for second place was Alfonse Gouker of N. Versailles, Pennsylvania. He caught the personal best steelie out of Olcott while fishing with Dave Pasquale (Captain Dave) and John Cyprowski aboard Captain Dave’s 24 foot Imperial boat named “Way-In.” They were fishing straight out from Olcott in 230 feet of water using a spin doctor and green A-Tom-Mik fly behind a dipsy diver set on No. 3 and pulled behind 220 feet of line. They caught the fish at 9 am. Gouker was driving the boat when he jumped up to grab the rod.
Top Youth division catch was a 16 pound, three ounce fish winched in by Francis Holly IV of Wilson. It ended up in 4th place overall. Fishing straight out of Wilson with his father, Francis Holly III, they were in 90 feet of water, using downriggers 40 feet down with green Stinger spoons when they hit a double – a salmon and a steelhead. They boated both with a lot of luck. Francis III also placed 15th in the Steelhead Division with a 12 pound, 5 ounce fish. They were fishing out of their 21-foot Sea Nymph named “Blue.”
Next up on the derby calendar is the “Return of the King” Fall LOC Trout and Salmon contest slated for August 19 through Sept. 5. Over $66,000 in cash will be up for grabs including a $25,000 check for the largest salmon; daily prizes for largest salmon ($500), brown trout ($200) and steelhead ($200). For more information or to find a list of weigh stations and registration outlets, go to the derby website at www.loc.org
|SUNDAY JULY 31 2016|
Lake of the Ozarks –
.......See Part l just below this
Leaving Alhonna Resort on the shores of Lake of the Ozarks was
bittersweet. We felt we had only scratched the surface and we begged
for more as we pulled away in our Chevy Tahoe. The Tahoe was made
for this terrain. Every driveway seemed perpendicular along the
lake, dealing with the tops of the hills that now surrounded the
lake after the valleys below were flooded back in 1931. We were
driving the 2016 LTZ version, a perfect fit for two couples with
lots of luggage. Of course, with a third seat in the back, it’s also
a great vehicle for the family. The 5.3 Liter V-8 VVT with direct
injection and cylinder deactivation gave us the power we needed. We
could have trailered up to 8,600 pounds had we wanted to … and the
next trip we just might have a pontoon boat fully loaded.
|SUNDAY JULY 21 2016.....Part l|
Lake of the Ozarks Region Offers Water Sports, Family Fun and Mor
* “There's a beauty in the river
There's a beauty in the stream
There's a beauty in the forest at night
When the lonely nightbird screams
And there's so much time for singin'
And so much time for words
There's so much time to listen
And so much time to be heard”
*Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Growing up in the “Land of the Ozarks” had to offer a certain amount of inspiration for the band Ozark Mountain Daredevils. After a recent visit to Central Missouri, we could certainly relate to those lyrics. We could even add a verse or two of our own as we spent a week in and around the Lake of the Ozarks – the largest manmade lake in North America. The state motto – “Show Me” – was fulfilled time and time again …
It started with a gentle prodding by Marjorie Beenders, a tourism maven in the state who kept asking when we were going to come and visit … every time we saw her. After doing a little research on the lake and the region, we couldn’t take it any longer. We graciously accepted her invitation to check out “the best recreational lake in the nation.” That was after a national vote conducted by two separate groups – USA Today and 10Best. It would live up to its name.
After a week that was jam-packed with activities, where do you even start? At the beginning of course! We left Lockport in a 2016 Chevy Tahoe LTZ packed to the gills, picking up Joe and Laurie Calvert of Oregon City, Oregon at the St. Louis airport along the way, adding even more luggage. The drive from New York was roughly 17 hours and it was a comfort ride all the way. We were impressed with the various alerts on the vehicle including the blind side zone that flashed warning in our mirrors and gave us gentle vibrations whenever some threat became available on the road or in parking lots. More on the vehicle later.
We arrived at Lake Ozark and our first destination, the Alhonna Resort and Marina www.TheAlhonnaResort.com in the middle of a thunderstorm. It had been so long since we had seen rain, we didn’t mind the drops as we hurriedly unloaded the vehicle. Timing is everything as the rain stopped long enough to finish the job. After a great breakfast outside at the in-house “Bobbers” Restaurant, we headed out to Willmore Lodge www.willmorelodge.com ) at Bagnell Dam – where it all began for Lake of the Ozarks. Along the way, we continued to find New York connections, like the fact that this lodge was an Adirondack-style lodge that was now a museum documenting the formation of the lake back in 1931 (a lodge built in 1930).
The dam (that created the lake) was actually built from 1929 to 1931, employing some 40,000 people along the way – at a time when the country desperately needed it. Workers from every state, as well as from 9 countries, were employed, making it the largest and last major dam in America built entirely with private financing. To make this project happen, 22 different towns and villages had to be destroyed and relocated. Approximately 30,000 acres of timber land had to be cleared. Over 900 miles of fences and numerous buildings had to be removed. A total of 32 cemeteries were moved to higher ground along with other scattered graves.
When the dam was finally completed, the Osage River provided most of the water. It took three months to fill up. The end result was a lake that was 94 miles long, providing 1,375 miles of shoreline. Average depth is 60 feet. It is almost entirely privately owned as far as the shoreline is concerned, allowing residents to build properties within a few feet of the water. Alhonna was a good example of that, allowing us to sit on a porch overlooking the water … and fish if we wanted to. In the neighboring cabin, we watched them fish off a similar porch and reel in bass and bluegill on a consistent basis.
After a little driving around to get our bearings, we headed back to Alhonna to take a paddleboat out for a couple of hours. Joe and I opted to not take fishing rods for this trip because of the funny looks we received from the ladies when we mentioned trolling. We also made arrangements to take out a fishing pontoon boat the next morning to really get a feel for the lake from the water and do a little fishing along the way.
The next day started with another breakfast at Bobbers following by gathering up all the gear for the pontoon boat ride. Since it was early morning, the lake hadn’t really come alive with activity yet. It was peaceful as we motored 10 miles up the lake. As I rigged up a rod for Joe, I sent a crankbait toward a downed tree along the shoreline – explaining the use of the spinning rod along the way. It took about 15 seconds to catch my first fish, a nice largemouth that hit a new Berkley bait that mimicked a small shad, the top forage in the lake. It proved to be the winner for the daily scratch-off contests that filled our time in Missouri.
We motored to different areas around the lake, hoping to find some active fish along the way. Magnificent homes stood out as sentinels to the lake. We all agreed it was a beautiful area with lots of potential. It should be on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit. In fact, Sandy went so far as to say that if we won the lottery, we would be getting a home here.
Alhonna Resort has everything you need to spend some quality time with family and friends. The facility offers up a full service marina with over 25 rental boats – everything from bass boats and pontoon fishing boats to ski boats, pleasure pontoons and deck boats. Non-motorized water craft is also part of the mix including kayaks, paddleboards and the paddleboats we sampled. In addition, there’s a nice pool both indoors and out to cool off in – something we needed for the week we were there. And if you show up when the weather is a little cooler, they even have an enclosed fishing dock with wood stoves! It seems as though Mike and Sheryl Elia have thought of everything in the 37 years that they’ve been running the operation. Our cabin made us feel right at home with a full kitchen and more. It was both clean and comfortable. The hospitality was top notch.
Our final evening at Alhonna was a light show offered by Mother Nature herself as a spectacular lightning display lit the skies all around us. Three nights went much too quickly and we wanted to stay longer … but like we mentioned earlier, we were just scratching the surface. It was time to move on. We’ll continue with part two next week. In the meantime, check out the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau’s website at www.FunLake.com ; 1-800-FUN-LAKE. We were singing our way to the second phase of our journey …
SUNDAY SPECIAL 06/0512
New York’s 1000 Islands – Food for Thought for
It was time to revisit the 1000 Islands again. This favorite area
has been filled with outdoor memories since I graduated from high
school. Camping and fishing top the list of past activities, but the
list of things to see and do have expanded over the years. The
Thousand Islands Region of New York State has a long, storied
history as a premier vacation destination – combining a picturesque
setting with a lengthy tradition of outdoor enjoyment, especially as
it relates to the St. Lawrence River as it carries the fresh water
from the five Great Lakes out into the Atlantic Ocean. While the
past may conjure up a mystique of monster muskellunge and a bonanza
of bass and other fish species, it is what the present offers that
helped enhance a recent visit to Clayton this spring – based out of
the amazing Thousand Islands Harbor Hotel for a second time. What a
difference from tent camping over four decades ago!
Federation Recognizes Conservation Stewards; Dinner
The Niagara County Federation of Conservation Club, representative of some 27 different clubs and organizations involved with conservation, fishing, hunting and the shooting sports, takes the time out every year to seek out people and groups for their stellar efforts in making our outdoors a better place; protecting our natural resources; protecting our Second Amendment rights; serving sportsmen and women behind the scenes. They are not looking for recognition. These are individuals and groups who go above and beyond the call of duty. This is not the column that goes into detail, this is the initial acknowledgement that lets people know who the winners are for the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs.
In the past, we would select the winners and it would be a surprise during the banquet. However, after much discussion, we decided to let the people know in advance so that they could inform their family and friends to let them know about the recognition. It gives the clubs an opportunity to show their support for a deserving individual, too.
That said, here are the winners for 2015. If you know any of these people and you want to come out and share in the celebration, you’ll first want to mark April 16 on your calendar. Social hour starts at 5:30 pm; dinner starting at 6:30 pm. Deadline for registering is April 2 and there will be no tickets available at the door – advance sales only. The site for this year’s banquet will be the Terry’s Corners Volunteer Fire Company hall located at 7801 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Gasport. Contact person is Dave Whitt at 754-2133 for securing your tickets in advance. And the winners are …
Oliver Jones Memorial Award (Sportsperson of the Year) – Joel Winters, Hartland Conservationists Club.
Leroy Winn Memorial Award (Club of the Year) – North Forest Rod and Gun Club, Lockport.
Carl Lass Memorial Award (Youth Program of the Year) – Jim “Bruno” Burnett of North Forest Rod and Gun .
Pinky Robinson Memorial Award for dedication to Great Lakes fishery – Dr. John Whiteman, Niagara River Anglers Assn.
James Reed/Donald Meyer Memorial Award (Firearms Hunter Safety Training Instructor) – Ron Meegan, Tonawanda (a member of the LaSalle Sportsmen’s Club and Wilson Conservation Club).
Steve Fountain/Archie Lowery Memorial Award (Archery Hunter Safety Training Instructor) – Dave Faccini, Town of Niagara (a member of the LaSalle Sportsmen’s Club).
Ken Berner Memorial Conservation Award (to the person, family or organization dedicated to conservation) – Paul Dewey of Lockport for his BOCES Conservation Program.
John Daly Memorial Award (Legislator of the Year) – Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour.
Victor Fitchlee Memorial Award (Lifetime Achievement) – Retired Environmental Conservation Officer James Rogers of Grand Island.
President’s Award (selected by 2015 president Doug Walck) – Dave Kern, Sr. of Lockport.
John Long, Sr. Memorial Award (Top Business or Businessperson) – Myles Tool of Sanborn.
There will be other award winners that will be honored on the Don Bronson Memorial Conservation Wall of Fame (located at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara in Lockport). Get out there and support these unsung heroes of conservation. We’ll have a full write up of their accomplishments in the April 17 column right here. On a final note, we are just scratching the surface as far as recognizing people behind the scenes. Like the NY Lottery, you have to be in it to win it and every single club in this county should be nominating at least one individual every year for at least one category. Keep that in mind moving forward. Now it’s up to pay homage to the current winners – all well-deserving!
Making Dream Come True with Hunt of Lifetime
the saying goes, when life throws you a lemon, the best way to
approach it is to make lemonade. For Leah Manth, a freshman at
North Tonawanda High School, her lemon if you will is a rare
neurological disorder called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). She
is lacking a protein and as a result she develops tumors along
her nervous system. She has several tumors on her brain and
along her spine currently and just in the last five years she
has had to deal with eight major surgeries. She has partial
hearing loss and some facial paralysis. It’s a hardship no one
should have to endure, let alone a young lady entering the prime
of her life. She’s a fighter, for sure.
The Outdoor Beat show airs on Channel 22 in Niagara County. It also airs in Erie County. If you don’t have Time Warner Cable you can go on the website at www.lctv.net to watch it live simulcast or you can check the On Demand section of the website in a day or two to see this show and any of the other Outdoor Beat episodes. The 4 pm shows also air on 90.5 FM if you want to catch it on the radio.
Our Leaders remembered - Outdoors Niagara Exclusive
Curt Meddaugh VIP - Remembered
LOTSA Pen Rearing Project Complete, Leader Passes On
In a recent correspondence from Curt Meddaugh [Pictured] of Pendleton, project leader for the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s salmon and trout pen rearing project out of Olcott, you could read between the lines – he was excited by the results of the 2010 effort of rearing salmon and trout in the Town of Newfane Marina. Of course, when he reported on the project at the Niagara County Fisheries Development Board meetings, he was like a little kid –visibly excited when he updated everyone at the April meeting – so it was easy to read between the lines. To him, these were his babies and he was the proud papa.
That said, he was always quick to give credit where credit was due. He would constantly recognize the many workers that made things happen, with the end result being much improved growth and increased survival for these fish once they were released in the lake. The steelhead arrived at 29 fish per pound. Those same fish were released three weeks later at 16.5 fish per pound. Three pens full of Chinook salmon arrived in Olcott at 140 fish per pound. When they were released into Lake Ontario, they were at 68.5 fish per pound, more than doubling in size in just three weeks time.
His constant reminders, updates and organizational notes helped to keep the work force and media informed. His final instruction for the project was organizing the pulling of the pens and the final clean up of the netting … until next year. For Meddaugh, though, his job complete for this year, he would not return. He passed on to a much bigger project last Saturday when he died quickly, quietly sitting in his chair at home. He was only 59, much too young for the plans the fishing community had for him; and the plans his wife Mary Lou and their family had. It came as a shock for all. Even though he had a brief history of heart problems, he was feeling good and loving life.
At the memorial service, it was evident two things were his biggest loves – family and the water, with a big focus on fishing. Joe Yeager, one of the LOTSA leaders, pointed out all the things that Meddaugh meant to the club: “You name it, he was involved with everything fish-related when it came to Lake Ontario. He was the guy that always took the time to make hatchery trips, attend meetings like the Lake Ontario Sportfishing Stakeholders group, the county Fisheries Board, State of the Lake and more – and then report back to his club. He was responsible for rallying the troops when DEC needed additional eggs for the hatchery, organizing volunteers at 18 Mile Creek in Newfane. He loved to teach kids how to fish and was involved with the kids fishing program for LOTSA for the past seven years. Through his direction as club membership secretary, membership grew from 25 to more than 250. He played a major role in the club’s Salmon Spectacular, raising money for the pen projects. His most important contribution was with the pens. He was the member who stepped up and took full responsibility for this huge project and turned it into a success.”
When an issue came up, Curt would research it thoroughly so that he could speak knowledgeably. And with everything, he was passionate about things that could impact “his” fishery - positively or negatively. He was just as passionate about family and friends. When I was subjected to a couple hospital stays last fall, he would call to find out how I was doing – sincerely concerned over my well being. If work needed to be accomplished or a meeting needed to be attended, Curt was always willing and not afraid to get involved or share an opinion. There are no replacing guys like Meddaugh. They are the ones that truly make a difference while they enjoyed their time in this world…and we are better for it. He’s enjoying another world for sure right now. We’ll miss you, man!
Ognibene Didn’t Pull Any Punches
Mudge Passes On – 12/19/09
Vince Caterina Dies at 84 –
Writer Ken Sprenger Passes –
McMurtry Passes –
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CAPTAIN DOUG STEIN REMEMBERED 1947-2009
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Go to Hilts Weekend Fish Locator
Go to Bill Hilts Outdoors Weekly Column /
Go to Joe Ognibene's "Outdoor Scene"/
Go to Will Elliott's "Fishing Line" /
Go To Bill Josephs "Straight From the Field"
Go to Mike Gillis "Outdoors in Niagara Experiences"
Bob Confer's Outdoors
Visit Outdoors Niagara Ice
Fishing pages for local information -
Read the tips from the experts including the Iceman Dave Genz HERE
Visit the ice fishing pages and Wilson Harbor Ice Fishing Contest Results and Pictures here