Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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Niagara expo teaches fishing … and more

If you have an interest in fishing, you have a desire to learn how to catch fish. That’s as simple as it gets. Becoming more proficient at catching fish is an important part of the equation, but it’s not the only thing. You’ll find that out by attending the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo Jan. 17-19 at the Conference and Event Center in Niagara Falls.

Every year that this fishing show comes around, the education keeps getting better. There are over 200 seminars over three days, offering expanded opportunities for fly fishing and bass tips this year. By attending the show, you will see that there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts alike. It’s all about “teaching fishing.”

By getting more people fishing, everyone wins. More licenses are sold so there’s more money in the Conservation Fund. If people are catching fish, they will want to share that knowledge with others, getting more people on the water. The better they get, the more likely they could expand and diversify their own personal knowledge. Those people could very well see the big picture and get involved in a bigger way.

Joining a fishing club should be a next big step. Fly fishing is a great example. With an expanded Expo focus that will include a fly fishing school for beginners at the show, fly tying and casting demonstrations and insight from the two biggest fly fishing clubs in Western New York, anglers will be able to take that knowledge and put it immediately to use. As the passion within them grows, they will see the importance of being stewards of these fishing resources.

The WNY Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Lake Erie Chapter of Fly Fishers International are groups that are involved with stream enhancement projects, promotion of youth angling and overall education for this pastime at every meeting and beyond. They also promote ethical behavior and good sportsmanship. It’s a way to give back.

There is some crossover education, too. For example, guide Nate Carr will be giving a seminar on fly fishing for bass in the Great Lakes tributaries. Fly fishing doesn’t have to be for just trout, and you may want to give bronze backs a try. By the same token, diehard bass lovers may want to give bass on the fly a try, too. You don’t have to stick with one form of fishing or one species. We have that luxury in Western New York, where we enjoy two Great Lakes and the Niagara River as headline acts.

Bass fanatics will also see expanded education. As incentive to attend the Expo, show management will be offering a trip for two to attend the 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk this March in Alabama. All you need to do to enter is attend one of the bass fishing seminars and fill out one of the survey forms. In fact, you will receive an entry opportunity for every bass seminar you attend. The Bassmaster Classic will be celebrating 50 years, so it promises to be a good one!

This year the “Teaching Fishing” show will offer over 35 free bass classes that are specifically targeted for the beginner bass angler, the High School/College bass angler or the experienced bass angler. There are also over 60 walleye-related seminars and a long list of salmon and trout educational offerings that are sure to teach you something new and make you a better angler.

We’re just scratching the surface here, so you are better off checking the website out at www.niagarafishingexpo.com. There’s a complete list of vendors, speakers and special attractions already posted. Some of the big names include Mark and Jake Romanack with Fishing 411 TV; Lance Valentine with Teachin’ Fishin’ and Walleye 101; Matt Straw with In-Fisherman and Great Lakes Angler; Travis Manson with Smallmouth Crush on YouTube; Casey Smith and Capt. Joe Fonzi, who fish some of the FLW tournaments; some of the top salmon and trout fishermen in Capt. Vince Pierleoni, Capt. Matt Yablonsky, Capt. Frank Campbell and other notables; and some great walleye fishermen in Capt. Jim Steel, Capt. Jim Skoczylas, Capt. Jim Klein, Rob Oram and more; expert fly fisherman Rick Kustich, a noted author, photographer and speaker and fly fishing guide Scott Feltrinelli … the list goes on.

Make sure you check out the DEC Open House on Saturday, Jan. 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be 10 different stations in the Cataract Room of the Conference and Event Center, allowing attendees to see who is managing the state’s Great Lakes, tributaries, inland streams, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery, the Finger Lakes, Law Enforcement and so much more. Ask any questions you want as you put a name with a face. What an opportunity! There will also be State of the Lake sessions on Friday night for Erie and Ontario.

In addition to the fly fishing clubs, make sure you check out the Southtowns Walleye Association of WNY, the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association and some of the local bass clubs to see what they are all about.

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