Thank You to all our sponsors, 
volunteers and participants!

Special thanks go out to NYPA for their sponsorship, as well as Shakespeare-Pflueger, the Newfane Business Association, Carmen Presti of The Primate Sanctuary, Mark Daul and his website, the Niagara County Legislature, Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, Narby's Superette and Tackle, Karen Everts at The Boat Doctors and all the people who helped to make this year's Fish Odyssey another success.

Also Special Thanks to Bill Hilts Sr., Bill Hilts Jr., Wayne Peters, All Weigh Stations Personnel, Charlie the Chimp, and anyone else we forgot!...... See y'all next year!

Fish Odyssey Report and Analysis ~ 2005

By Bill Hilts Jr. September 26 2005

The 29th Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby concluded in a most
fitting fashion for a Sanborn couple while attending the awards ceremony at the
New York Power Authority Wildlife Festival last Sunday. John Danielewicz and
his wife, Denise, were celebrating their 13th anniversary on this lucky day.
And thanks to a lucky catch the day before and a lucky drawing at the beginning
of the festivities, JD had the perfect anniversary present for his wife - a
Grand Prize check worth $3,000.
    Brown trout had been hard to come by in the derby, especially over the
minimum qualifying weight of 10 pounds. It was on the last Saturday of the
contest that Danielewicz was targeting salmon off the NYPA fishing platform with
Crazy Eggs when the 10.98 pound brown hit his offering, giving him the
opportunity to win the Grand Prize through the competition's Classic Challenge Draw -
placing all the first place winners into a hat at the awards gathering. It was
fitting that the fish was caught off NYPA's fishing platform, too, due to the
fact that they were celebrating their 20th anniversary of the Wildlife
Festival. We couldn't have set the story line any better.

    Other winners in the derby included:
   Mike Pinkham of Sanborn was the first place salmon winner, good for a
$500 check, when he reeled in a 25.62 pound salmon while fishing off the Olcott
pier. He was casting a Little Cleo spoon.
   In the Rainbow Trout category, Robert Bloomer of West Hurley, NY earned
the top slot with a 13.48 pound fish caught off Point Breeze in Lake Ontario.
Bloomer was using a J-plug, targeting salmon, when the first place steelie hit.
   Top walleye was reeled in by John Hagerman of Lewiston. He was working a
bucktail jig on the Niagara Bar at the mouth of the Niagara River when a 10.47
pound 'eye hit his offering.
   The Smallmouth Bass division was most impressive with a 6.38 pound fish
leading the way. The trophy fish was caught by Dan Woodward of North Tonawanda
and he was fishing with a shiner in the Thompson's Hole area of the Upper
Niagara River. The top three fish were all over six pounds.
   James Bartz of Attica was the leading carp catcher when he weighed in a
34.25 pound fish from the piers at Point Breeze. Bartz, who's been fishing for
carp for over a year now, used a boilee for bait - made up of a secret
concoction. It was the largest carp he's ever caught.

In the Junior Division, the top anglers - winners fishing gear from
Shakespeare-Pflueger and plaques from NYPA were:
   Cassandra Wittcop, 12, of Lockport with a 23.55 salmon she caught on a
Little Cleo at Olcott.
   Tim Condes, 12, of Wilson with a 13.32 pound steelhead trout he caught
off Olcott with cutbait.
   Alex Hastings, 11, of Niagara Falls with a 4.85 pound smallmouth bass he
caught on Evans Bar in Lake Erie with a minnow. He collected the prize on the
eve of his 12th birthday, where his father, Andy, presented him with a
lifetime sportsmen's license - if he kept his room clean.
   Zachary Whitmer, 6, of Niagara Falls led the panfish division with a .77
pound perch he caught in the Lower Niagara River.
   Amanda Mrzygut, 10, of Lewiston was the carp division winner with a 17.19
pound fish from the Lower Niagara River. She was using corn.
   Joe Groom, 14, of Blasdell, led the kids walleye division with an 8.88
pound fish he caught off Cattaraugus Creek in Lake Erie. He was trolling with a
Renosky lure.

In the Charlie Challenge, seven kids received special Charlie shirts and hats
for beating the minimum weight established by the angling primate. They were:
Cassandra Wittcop and Tyler Justice in the salmon division; Tim Condes in the
Trout class; Joe Groom, Zachary Dubuc and Billy Nelson in the walleye
grouping; and Alex Hastings in the bass category.

In the Rob Ray Fishing Trip Drawing, eight-year-old Kaylie Myers of Sanborn
was the lucky kid signed up in the Fish Odyssey. Ray showed up to make the
drawing Sunday afternoon.

A portion of all the proceeds was donated to The Primate Sanctuary this year.
All of their fund-raising efforts in the month of September will be focusing
on the animals effected by Hurricane Katrina. A check for $500 was presented
to Carmen Presti for that most excellent cause.

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