Bill Hilts

Nedding on the Niagara

(Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)You never know what is going to work for fishing on any given day. Sometimes it does not matter how you cast, the way you retrieve or where you throw your bait. Ultimately, it is up to the fish to grab your offering. We met at the launch ramp at the foot of Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda with…

Taking the Grandson Fishing … with his dad

Parker Costello with his father, Kyle.In the new world of the coronavirus, the great outdoors has become a diversion of sorts – especially with fishing. License sales for residents have been on the rise because more adults were off work and kids were out of school. They needed something productive and relaxing to preoccupy their time. It did not take…

Fishing regs are in place for a reason, but who reads them? 

It happens every spring. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) stocking trucks, filled with fish, head out to plant fish at designated locations around the state. Many people associate this activity with the April 1 opening day of trout for the inland streams and lakes, and they should. However, there is a disconnect, a lack of understanding with what…

Charter captains to the rescue

It was Sunday, March 22, when charter captains and guides were hit with a “PAUSE” order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, declaring that they were deemed “non-essential.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Charter captains are the ambassadors for our Great Lakes fisheries here in New York. For many non-resident anglers coming into this…

Changing times at New York Outdoor News

It was more than 15 years ago that I made the acquaintance of Steve (and Paula) Piatt, when the first edition of the New York Outdoor News (NYON) made its appearance on the outdoor scene. It was probably at a New York State Outdoor Writers Association conference, either Dunkirk or Plattsburgh (or both) and the friendship grew from there. It…

New boating law in New York

A new boating law in New York, referred to as “Brianna’s Law,” is now in effect as of Jan. 1, 2020. It requires all motorboat operators to complete a boating safety course. New age requirements began Jan. 1, with full compliance for all boaters by Jan. 1, 2025. The older you are, the more time you will have to take…

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.

End of a hunting era?

Hunting season was a bit more difficult than in years past all the way around. For the regular Southern Zone big game season opener, our traditional trip to Steuben County saw limited participation from our group of hunters. Life seemed to get in the way this year as illness, school and work impacted a brother, my daughter, two nephews and…

Mississippi River’s Best Dam Fishing Float

It was a special day on the mighty Mississippi River, a football Sunday, and the Green Bay Packers were playing the Minnesota Vikings. Allegiances are divided here because the river is the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin (where Green Bay is for you geographically challenged folks). This turned out to be a great side story as we fished the river…

Erie’s Ohio ‘eyes bountiful, too, and the fishing is on fire

While local populations off New York’s shoreline have been increasing, the real kicker to our walleye population numbers is the migrating schools of fish that show up every year from the Western Basin of the lake. As many as 10 percent of the lake’s Western Basin walleye will take a trip from Ohio to the western reaches of the lake – as far as Buffalo.

Lessons learned on every fishing trip

One of the best things about being an outdoor writer is that you have an opportunity to fish with a wide variety of angling professionals, be it of the charter captain or guide variety or people who could be captains or guides but won’t or can’t for several reasons. Seeing how they approach any given situation is an educational lesson…