Tag Archives: Fish

2017 NYS Winter Classic Fishing Tournament Continues through February

NYS Winter Fishing Tournament Continues through February

OSWEGO COUNTY – The 2017 NYS Winter Classic Fishing Tournament is considered the largest winter fishing tournament ever conducted in NY state, the NYS Winter Classic Fishing Tournament continues through the end of February. The event features seven categories of fish to target, a catch-and-release event for trout and pike, 58 weigh-in locations, and a prize structure that tops $80,000 in sponsored cash and prizes from over 50 sponsors making this event one of the most sponsored tournaments in the country.

Anglers fishing in the tournament can visit three local businesses — All Seasons Sports and Salmon River Sports Shop in Pulaski, and App’s Bait and Tackle in Cleveland — to weigh in their catches.

Angler catches a steelhead fish at a tournament

Anglers fishing Oswego County waters can enter their catches for the New York State Winter Classic at three Oswego County tackle shops: All Season Sports and Salmon River Sports in Pulaski, and App’s Bait and Tackle in Cleveland. Pictured holding a steelhead he released back into the Oswego River is Tommy Quinzi. Photo courtesy of Capt. Kevin Davis, Catch the Drift Guide Service

“This will be the third year for this statewide event and it continues to grow with more anglers getting involved and larger prizes to the winners,” said tournament organizer Tim Thomas. “The event allows anglers to fish any waterway in NY state, any time between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, using any legal angling method, to target seven categories of fish. ”

Live leaderboards on the website keep anglers updated in near real-time throughout the event for both the main event and weekly awards. This year’s event features two large prizes: a $2,500 cash grand prize sponsored by Clam Outdoors (to be given to one of the first place finishing anglers by random draw) and a Case canoe with graphics wrap and fishing accessories for the overall largest fish entered.

Additional prizes include weekly, monthly, and overall prize packages, product specific awards, female angler awards, species specific awards including a $1,500 stainless steel artistic steelhead mount by world-renown artist Steve Nielsen, door prizes, and angler achievement awards for catching fish of substantial size.

Registered anglers will also have a chance at 58 shanties being given away in raffles – every weigh-in location has one to give away. Anglers can gain entries either by registering for the event or bringing fish in to the stations during the event (one entry per angler per day per location per fish). Registration is $25/angler ($35/angler with the optional lunker pool) and anglers can register at most weigh-in locations or online at www.nyswinterclassic.com.

“The New York State Ice Pro-Am Corporation in association with Finders Keepers Sportfishing continues to strive to offer exposure for the New York State fishery through their tournament events and sponsor connections to promote the industry and encourage tourism,” said Thomas. ” These tournament events have been very successful at offering new product companies and tackle shops exposure to turn profits.”

For more tournament information, contact Thomas at (585) 330-0494 or email info@FKsportfishing.com or visit www.NYSwinterclassic.com.

For Oswego County fishing conditions and visitor information go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or call 1-800-248-4FUN.

Tips on Learning How to Fish

Spring fishing season has arrived! If you are an inexperienced angler and would like to try fishing for the first time, follow these few tips for your preparation. Even if you are an experienced angler, these tips will refresh your memory for your fishing adventures.

Fishing License

A fishing license is one of the most important things that you will need in order to go fishing. Each state has their own rules and regulations, so it is important that you read up on them before heading out. All fishing rules and regulations will be under Fishing > Rules and Regulations in your Fishing and Wildlife Pocket Ranger® Guide. Licenses can be purchased online. Some states require you to be 18 years or older in order to obtain a fishing license.

Location

Man fishing on a pier alone

Image: www.active.com

Choosing a place to fish can vary. Some people choose locations where they often see people fishing or local places where they may want to start. If you are a beginner and feel shy fishing in front of a heavy crowd, you may want to opt for a quiet fishing area.

You can go freshwater fishing in lakes, ponds, streams or rivers. Or you can choose saltwater fishing such as surf fishing, fishing by boat (party boat or charter boat) or bay fishing.

Time of Day During Spring Season

Two men fishing on a boat during sunset with his catch

Image: jimolive.photoshelter.com

  • Early Morning – Fish do not bite during this time because the water is cold and doesn’t heat up due to the sun being low which makes the rays bounce off the water.
  • Late Morning/Early Afternoon – Fish are biting on and off during this time because the sun’s rays start to penetrate the water. During this time, you should fish towards the downwind shoreline because the wind pushes the warmer surface water into that area.
  • Afternoon/Early Evening – There are a lot of fish eating during this time because their metabolism and digestion are high. The water is also warmer because the sun is directly above.

Fish Species

Images of different fish species

Image: pixshark.com

Focusing on fishing for a particular fish for a beginner may be too difficult, but it’s a worth a try! Here is a list of popular fish to help you choose one to catch:

  • Bass – a southeastern sport fish
  • Striped Bass – you will most likely need a boat to catch these
  • Sunfish – best catch for a beginner angler
  • Walleye and Pike – northern, cold-water lake fish
  • Catfish – vary from small to large

For a complete list of freshwater and saltwater fish, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® Fish and Wildlife Guide.

Methods

Man surf fishing pulling in his catch, clear blue water

Image: www.rancholeonero.com

Fishing in a lake from shore – Sit and wait with a bobber and bait. For this type of method, you can use inexpensive equipment.

Surf fishing from a beach – This requires heavy tackle that costs a little bit more. Catches vary day to day with this method.

Pond Fishing – Fishing at a pond can be simple, especially for beginners. It allows you to manage your skills and you may even catch a pan fish for dinner.

Boat Fishing on an Ocean – There are many boating options that are available for fishing. You can pay to go on a party boat for a half day or full day and you can use equipment and bait that is provided to you. Depending on the type of boating you choose and how big the crowd is, you can have assistance such as hooking your bait, casting and landing a fish.

Suggested Gear: 

  • Fishing Rod/Fly Rod
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Check out more fishing gear at our Pocket Ranger Gear Store.

Kayak Fishing Tips For Catching Large Fish

A man catches a big fish while kayak fishing

Image: Alex Vail

Contributed by Alex Vail, The Flying Kayak

More and more people are catching bigger and bigger fish from kayaks every day. Kayaking fishing for big fish isn’t just a challenge, but also a rush. Hooking and fighting big fish from the ‘yak is one thing, but landing those fish is a whole different story entirely. So here are a few kayaking fishing tips to consider when it comes down to the final step of landing your trophy.

Consider Your Safety When Kayak Fishing for Large Fish

There have been numerous instances in my life where I simply feel unsafe bringing a fish aboard the kayak. Situations such as rough seas, strong currents, sharp teeth, and flailing fins have kept a few fish in the water and away from my body. Sharks are a prime example of fish like this. Sure it’s great to get a hero picture of one before I let it loose, but if I’m feeling even remotely unsafe about the situation, I’ll just cut the line boatside. Especially large fish such as tarpon might not need to be brought aboard in order to prevent something like capsizing. Sure the picture might be awesome, but losing all your gear when it flops isn’t ideal.

Leg Sweep Method

For instances such as catch and release, the leg sweep method to land fish works fantastically. Just as the name implies, one simply brings the fish along side of the boat and uses their leg to get underneath the fish and lift it into the kayak. Getting a lip/gill plate hold helps ensure the fish’s head isn’t going anywhere, while the leg does the heavy lifting from below. Just be prepared to get slimy.

Someone has caught a large fish while kayaking

Image: Alex Vail

Gaffs

What can I say? Gaffs are sort of the be-all and end-all of landing fish. There’s no catch and release with these tools, and a good gaff shot can almost guarantee a successful landing. One thing to consider, however, is how to hold the gaff. Gaffing from a kayak is a little different than gaffing from a boat because of how low in the water you already sit. From my experience, I find it safer to actually gaff from underneath the fish rather than from above. This way, the actual gaff acts as some protection between you and the fish. Gaffing from above can quickly send an angry, toothy fish right into your lap.

A fisherman uses a net to get a fish into the kayak

Image: Alex Vail

Nets

I see more and more people using nets to land large fish from the kayak and I have to say that it’s a very good method. You instantly eliminate the chances of the fish getting away boatside the moment that it’s in the net. Also, when using a net, you don’t hurt the fish at all. Sadly, I’ve yet to see a net big enough to easily handle 100+lb tarpon from the kayak, but for slightly smaller fish, it’s a perfect method.

Other tid-bits

Always remember that safety is the most important thing. With that said, toothy critters such as king mackerel, wahoo, sharks, etc, should be landed with their business end pointed away from you. The last thing anyone wants is some razor sharp teeth chomping around in their lap.

A man kayak fishing while a llarge fish rests in the bottom of a kayak

Image: Alex Vail

As stated before, when your kayak fishing it isn’t always necessary to pull the whole fish into the boat. Often merely lipping the fish or using a lip gaff will suffice. The picture gets taken, the fish swims free, and you (and your gear) remain safe and sound.

So when you’ve done everything right and are about to land the fish of a lifetime from the kayak, just remember these tips for the final step. With these methods you can safely land big fish and avoid the horrible feeling of losing a fish boatside before getting to at least snap a picture. Just don’t forget to bring the camera!

How to Catch Monster Trout

Larger trout behave differently than smaller trout because they require more energy. For example, large trout aren’t going to target small flies as often as small trout do. This is because the energy return from feeding on small flies is less for large fish than it is for small fish. Therefore, catching monster trout is going to require a few tactical adjustments. Here are some tips to help get you started:

Fish Big Trout Waters

Yellowstone river [image: www.nps.gov]

Yellowstone river [image: www.nps.gov]

That secret stretch of mountain stream is great, but it’s probably not going to produce many fish over 20 inches. There is simply not enough food. Focus your attention on larger rivers and lakes where adequate food supplies grow big trout.

Bait

Big streamer, big trout [image: www.current-works.com]

Big streamer, big trout [image: www.current-works.com]

All trout eat small aquatic insects, but only smaller trout eat them exclusively. Salmon flies, large stonefly nymphs, imitation crayfish, large streamers, imitation crayfish, and baitfish are all excellent options for targeting big fish. Power hitters often strike out, but they also hit homeruns.

Timing and Weather

Night fishing [Image: www.simmsfishing.com]

Night fishing [Image: www.simmsfishing.com]

The guy who catches a monster trout at noon with a nightcrawler is the exception not the rule. Whereas smaller fish feed throughout the day, larger trout are more selective and prefer the low light conditions of early morning or late evening-sometimes even the dead of night. On bright sunny days the monsters, especially the browns, tend to go into hiding. Target those days on the water when a front rolls in or days when a summer shower whips these fish into a feeding frenzy.

Spawning Season

Spawning trout [image: goeddelphotography.com]

Spawning trout [image: goeddelphotography.com]

According to Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler (1653), the brown trout is “a fish that is so like a buck, that he also has his seasons.” Indeed, browns become more aggressive during the fall months when they move out of lakes and up rivers to spawn. More big browns are caught in the early fall than at any other time.

Suggested Gear List: 

  • Streamer Flies
  • Wading Gear
  • Sunscreen

Check out our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and more!

 

How to Dress the Part of an Outdoorsperson

Let’s say you’re walking along, you find yourself at some kind of park, and you strike up a conversation with a person that you begin to fancy. All’s going well: you’re talking about your favorite books and bands, where you grew up, and other such things that occur in potential pre-first date conversations. But then, lo and behold! This person starts talking at length about this great overlook he/she wants to take you to, and it’s only a 15-mile hike, and you start to realize that your six summers at sleepaway camp as a child just aren’t going to cut it because you’ve somehow roped yourself a true outdoorsperson.

Between hipsters masquerading as lumberjacks, overalls (which look suspiciously like fly fishing waders) being back in style, and fashion plates mimicking chic safari garb, it was understandably hard to discern that your new potential love was a hiking/camping/fishing/hunting/general outdoor enthusiast, but now that you know, we’re here to help.

Disclaimer: We don’t advise completely changing who you are for love. We just thought this was funny. Also, we want everyone to love the outdoors.

So, read closely, friends. We’re going to tell you how to dress the part of an outdoorsperson. Luckily for us, it’s in time for spring fashion finds, so here are our picks!

For the fellas:

dress the part of an outdoorsperson

Image: www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-skeena-river-waders-long?p=82310-0

These men’s skeena river waders are lightweight but durable. If you show up to the watering hole with these on, you’ll look like a fly fishing pro.

backpacking shoe for men

Image: www.thenorthface.com

The North Face’s men’s storm mid waterproof leather shoe is fashionable yet rugged, and is perfect for backpacking on wet terrain. Put these babies on and your new special someone will think you’ve been hiking for ages.

 

men's fishing jacket

Image: www. pocketrangerblog.com/gear-store/

Throw on the Simms men’s flyte jacket, and its windstopper technology will have you feeling comfortable throughout your whole excursion.

For the ladies:

These women’s wreck mid GTX North Face hiking boots are fashionable (get a load of those blue laces) without being too in-your-face. Plus, they’re lightweight, waterproof, and have Grippy Vibram® rubber soles for optimum traction when hiking on wet or dry surfaces.

hiking boots for women

Image: www.sunandski.com

These grey socks may not look like stunners, but SmartWool mountaineer socks will show your new partner that you mean serious business when hitting the outdoors. Perfect for hiking, mountaineering, etc., the extra cushioning, breathability, and ability to not get stuck in your new boots will have you thanking us after your excursion. (We accept all kinds of gifts, like love letters, Twitter shout outs, etc.)

 

women's mountaineering socks

Image: www.rei.com

Did your new squeeze suggest a trail running date? No problem! Get yourself these Patagonia Houdini® pants, and you’ll look like you were born ready. They have a water repellent finish, cuff with snap closure to get them on and off over running shoes, and a reflective logo so everyone will see you speeding by.

 

clothes for outdoorsperson

Image: www.shoebuy.com

Love is in the air, friends, so fall in love with the outdoors with these fashion finds. For other get-ups perfect for outdoor adventures, check out our Gear Store.

What are your favorite picks for outdoor wear?

 

Five Tips for Surf Fishing

Contributed by Alex Vail, The Flying Kayak

With spring quickly approaching, it’s getting to be that time of the year when you put away most of the hunting gear and get ready to hit the water. If you’re in Florida like I am, chances are you’ll soon find yourself at the beach. The following are a few tips to keep in mind when surf fishing in the warm weather. surf fishing

1. Pick your spot

Some areas of the beach provide better fishing than others. Look at the wave action and current flow to pick out the holes between the bars. These spots of deeper water tend to hold fish and are prime spots to land pompano, redfish, and whiting. Often, the slope of the shore is a dead giveaway of these holes. Try your best to spread your rods evenly to cover as much of the hole as possible.

2. Pick the time

The best time to fish from the beach is early morning and late evening. You obviously won’t be getting the world’s greatest tan during these low-light hours, but the fishing is almost always better. Low visibility underwater means high hook-up chances and the fish are more prone to feeding during these hours. In addition, tide times/changes are important to consider. Generally speaking, an incoming tide produces better fishing than a falling tide. If you have the luxury to pick the time of the day you can fish, aim to do so during an incoming tide. High wave action and currents tend to bring baitfish closer to shore and produce a better bite out of the fish.

3. Bring a chair

Though not required to catch fish, a folding chair can be a life saver. If you’re at the beach, you want to relax. But at the same time, you want to be able to watch your rods. So being able to lean back and relax while fishing is an amazing feeling. It certainly beats sitting down in the sand with having nothing to lean on. Just be sure to position the chair so that you aren’t staring directly into the sun while watching your rods.

4. Choose your bait

There are a variety of baits that work well in the surf. But I’ve found over the years that it’s tough to beat naturally occurring bait when fishing from the beach. Sand fleas (mole crabs) and other small sand crabs tend to out perform things such as cut bait, squid, or shrimp. If you’re unable to find sand fleas, fresh shrimp will probably be your best bet. I personally like to pinch off the heads and thread the hook through the body as best as possible. If bait fishing isn’t what you want to deal with at the beach, small pompano jigs and shiny lures often work well. The only disadvantage with these is that you’ll need to continuously cast if you expect to ever catch anything. surf fishing slack

5. Watch the slack

Anyone who’s ever beach fished has had to train himself to recognize the difference between wave action that’s bending the rod and an actual strike. Keeping bait still in the water is essential in order to recognize when a fish is on. This is why so many people prefer to use pyramid weights that dig themselves into the sand. Tension on the line is what gives it away. But often times, especially with pompano, they’ll pick up the bait, and then swim toward shore. This removes all tension in the line and the rod sticks straight up in the rod holder, leaving the line slack and dragging in the water. A dead giveaway that a pompano is on the line, be sure to retrieve slack line quickly. You don’t want to lose that fish.

So as you find yourself breaking free of winter’s frigid grip and venturing to the beach for relaxation, be sure to bring a fishing rod or two with you. Given the opportunity, it’s entirely possible to relax on the beach, catch a few rays (sun rays, hopefully), and fill the cooler. Just follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a successful beach trip. Red Snapper

Breaking the Ice: A Beginner’s Guide to Ice Fishing

The beauty of ice fishing, aside from the magical prospect of sitting on top of frozen water, is that you can fish on any part of the lake (provided you have ample ice). For those without boats, it might be that one chance to venture out over deeper waters in search of a lunker. In North America, ice fishing is often done from inside a small portable shelter known as a fishing shanty. The benefit of a shanty is that it allows you to stay warm as well as beat inclement weather. Ice fishing is also a great way to spend a day with friends and family—provided everybody can stay warm. While a few anglers are confident on 2.5 inches of solid ice, 4 inches is considered safe for walking. For snowmobiles and other light craft, 5-7 inches is recommended.

Ice fishing shanty [image: www.blog.syracuse.com]

Ice fishing shanty [Image: www.blog.syracuse.com]

Safety Ice safety is your number one concern. Our very own ice safety primer can be found here. As always, use good judgment when walking out onto the ice. Avoid areas with running water such as dams, spillways and streams flowing into or out of lakes. Keep in mind that slush ice is 50 percent weaker than clear ice and ice over running water is 20 percent weaker. Also, take a buddy fishing with you—it’s more fun and it could save a life.

image: www.dnr.state.oh.us

Image: www.dnr.state.oh.us

Gear The fish might be biting but without warm clothes or a way to cut a hole in the ice, you won’t be catching a thing. Warm ski pants or coveralls are the best way to go. Another essential item is a stool because it keeps you elevated and off the ice. Creating a hole in the ice can be done a number of ways, but the most efficient (if also the most cumbersome) is by augur. An ice augur is large gas or manually operated drill that can easily burrow through a foot or more of ice. If you don’t own an augur, an axe or ice saw will do the trick. Another technique, if a little sneaky, is to locate holes made by pervious fishermen where the ice isn’t as thick. These can be broken through with a small hand axe or chisel known as a spud.

Hand augur [image: wikipedia.com]

Hand augur [Image: wikipedia.com]

Technique Tips-up and jigging are the two most common forms of ice fishing. Jigging is done with a small, lightweight spinning rod, using brightly colored lures or jigs that are often “sweetened” with a piece of bait, such as a wax worm or minnow. Once you’ve reached the depth you think the fish are at, lift the rod every now and again to produce the effect known as jigging. Tip-ups are specialized ice fishing devices made of wood or plastic that allow anglers to fish multiple locations and depths at once. When a fish takes the bait, a flag is released, notifying the angler. The fish is then pulled in by hand or reel depending on your setup.

image: www.lakemichiganangler.com

Image: www.lakemichiganangler.com

Location Settling on a location depends on the species of fish you’re after. Shallow ponds and lakes are best for bass, panfish, chain pickerel and northern pike. For trout, landlocked salmon and cusk, you’ll want to fish in a deep-water lake. However, even though trout and salmon prefer deep water, it doesn’t mean you’ll find them there in the winter. Trout and salmon prefer deep water because it allows them to stay cool in the summer months. During winter months, it is not uncommon to find these fish just below the ice. Remember, if you’re after bigger fish, make sure to drill your hole big enough (8-12 inches) to land it. Lastly, don’t forget to pack a hot beverage to sip while you contemplate the unique position of standing on top of 40 or more feet of ice water.

image: wikipedia.com