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Rod, Gun & Game: Fishing is now tops in the U.S.

DAVENPORT DELIVERS — Fishing aboard CastAway Charters near Dunkirk Harbor on Lake Erie, guest speaker Rich Davenport, shares in the bounty of Lake Erie walleye treasure with a 10-pound fish last week.
One of America’s favorite recreational pastimes is on the rise. You can see it here in Western New York, with longer boat launch lines. An amazing 47 percent Americans went fishing in 2012.

Erie County fish Advisory Board member and economy statistics wizard Rich Davenport recently addressed a group of legislators and media representatives from Erie and Chautauqua counties about Lake Erie fishing and boating activities. During the “VIP Fishing Event,” at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, Davenport emphasized that fishing as a recreation is No. 1 in the country.

The event brought together Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, as well as many other officials from both counties. New York State Director of Fish and Wildlife Patricia Riexinger also addressed our underutilized opportunities with Great Lakes resources.

She also mentioned the newly-published “I Love NY Guide to Great Lakes Fishing,” which is a 44-page guide that offers free depth charts of key Lake Erie fishing hotspots, with detailed explanations about when, where and how to fish. The resource is complete with full-color fish identification plates, launch sites, contact numbers and latitude/longitude coordinates. To receive a free copy, write to NYS DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233, or visit

The hotspot list include Evans Bar, Myers Reef, Seneca Shoal, Woodlawn Bar and more. The depth charts with each of these locations help complete the effective guide.

While the rough Lake Erie waters might have turned away many would-be anglers that day, Poloncarz and Edwards shared common ideas and tight-lines fishing together on the same boat. Sometimes it takes a fish or two to cast bipartisan issues aside.

Davenport provided a laundry list of economic facts, with data as proof of the need for more activity that each of the two county management groups might want to take advantage of, in regard to the Lake Erie waterway borne resources, since sorely-needed economic stimulus for the region is available.

Davenport said that valuable economy boosters are already present, but neither county really goes after world class fishing tournaments, boat tour excursion ventures, scuba diving activities, sailing opportunities and other water-related summer activity events, as a joint venture group. As volunteer conservation groups provide leadership to bring legislators together for common understanding that may benefit many others into the future, these same groups have brought together kids and parents, with fishing.

The collective effort is yielding results, at least in fishing. Increased participation in both fishing and boating leads to increased license sales, and boat registrations, key sources for funding state fish and wildlife conservation programs.

Last year, 47 million Americans went fishing (an increase from 46.2 million in 2011), while 9.4 million people stopped fishing; 10.2 million new or returning anglers participated in the sport, netting a gain of more than 870,000, establishing the highest number of new fishing participants ever recorded.

Outdoor calendar

– Aug. 17 – 25: Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby. For more information, visit

– Aug. 22: 3D archery shoot, West Falls Conservation Society. The event will include 15 targets; 4 p.m. start. For more information, call Mike at 655-5030.

– Aug. 24: NYS hunter safety training, West Falls Conservation Club, located at 55 Bridge St. Home study course, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8: 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 662-5657.

– Aug. 24 and 25: Great Lakes Tackle Invitational, walleye tournament, Harbor Creek, Erie, Pa. For more information, visit or call 814-602-8432.

– Aug. 26 – 28: NYS hunter safety course, Eden-North Collins Rod & Gun, 2404 Sand Rock Road. Pre-register by calling Pat at 432-3049.

– Aug. 28: 3D archery shoot, Evans Rod & Gun Club, Cain Road. Will begin at 4 p.m. For more information, call 549-0333.

– Aug. 28: 3D archery shoot, East Aurora Fish & Game, 1016 Luther Road, East Aurora. The event will begin at 5 p.m. For more information, call Nadine at 982-7069.

Email outdoor news to Forrest Fisher, 10 days in advance, at

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