I Love NY Fishing!
That was the theme of a recent sportfishing familiarization tour involving four German dignitaries who shared an interest in what the Empire State had to offer as it related to fish and fishing opportunities. Working with Markly Wilson, director of international marketing for I Love NY and Lori Solomon, I Love NY project manager for the trip through Van Tourism Specialists, a group was put together with the help of Wolfgang Wekwert, Germany’s I Love NY representative. Included in the group were Olaf Jochmann and Jan Hrdlicka, both writers with the popular German fishing magazine Am Haken; and Andreas Quenstedt with Deutscher Reisering, a tour operator who was hoping to package New York fishing trips for interested German anglers.
We’ve been saying all along that fishing is an excellent tool for promoting this state’s tourism efforts and Wilson has put together similar efforts for promoting this state’s fishing attributes. This particular “ am” focused specifically on fishing. DEC was even involved by recommending specific times that would be the most impressive at the different corners of the state. A conference call finalized everything just prior to the trip and the tour was set.
After flying into New York City, the first stop was Montauk Point on Long Island – perfect for some striper fishing and some action on a head boat for their first I Love NY angling experience. From there, it was back on the plane and this time they headed west to Buffalo-Niagara.
Barton Hill Hotel and Spa in Lewiston was their destination and they barely had time to change their clothes before they were on the water chasing trout and salmon on the Lower Niagara River. It wasn’t the best time for fishing, falling between salmon and trout timeframes. And it wasn’t the best weather as a forecast of rain was predicted. Despite the hurdles, it wasn’t long before the charter boats started to catch some fish and at least show off the area. Hrdlicka caught his first salmon ever. He did lose one the week before in Lake Michigan when he came over early to take in a Green Bay Packers game – his favorite team – with Jochmann. But that one didn’t make it to the net. In the Niagara they also caught steelhead, lake trout, smallmouth bass and even a few other species. The food during their stay was pretty darn good, too, an excellent complement to the fishing out of Lewiston.
From Lewiston, it was on to Oswego and the Salmon River. This was a prime time there and they managed to catch more salmon and trout. They were teamed with quality guides and they saw the potential that this fishery can offer European anglers.
Next and final stop was Ogdensburg and the St. Lawrence River targeting walleye and muskellunge before they headed down to Syracuse to fly back to NYC and a return trip to Germany.
“I am thoroughly impressed with this state from the standpoint of scenic beauty and the quality of the fishing resource,” said Jochmann, editor of Am Haken magazine. I would have to agree. They were given a red carpet tour. Hopefully they were able to grasp the scope of the Empire State’s natural resources and what it represents. From Montauk Point to Niagara Falls is roughly 525 miles (845 kilometers); Germany, at its widest point (east to west), is a hair under 400 miles.
We can pretty much guarantee they will be back themselves, as well as setting up trips to bring some of their fellow countrymen to experience New York’s angling attractions. It won’t be long before we may hear them say: “I Love NY Fishing!”