Outdoor Web Words by Bill Hilts Jr.

Fish Odyssey spans from 9/11 to pandemic

Sometimes there is a silver lining in those storm clouds. Keep an open mind. It helps to spend as much time outdoors as possible, maintain a positive attitude and let Mother Nature work her magic.

Nedding on the Niagara

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…

Catching gar from a kayak – on purpose

For anyone who knows me, they probably understand that my body is not made for a kayak. I am not very bendy to say the least. So, when fellow scribe Joel Spring of Ransomville asked me to go kayak fishing…

Fourth of July trip offers surprises, excitement

It was the 4th of July and it was a reunion of sorts on the water. Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters, who operates his 39-foot Sea Ray out of Wilson, had a few hours available on this explosive…

Taking the Grandson Fishing … with his dad

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…

Boots on the ground for chasing spring turkeys

The thundering gobble echoed through the trees at 5:22 a.m. We had already been sitting in the woods for an hour and it was surprisingly comfortable. It was the middle of May and temperatures were in the 50’s with no…

A different way to fish salmon and trout

Salmon and trout fishing on Lake Ontario jumped off to a good start because of the mild winter we experienced and the fact that there was little ice on Lake Erie. Kings showed up in early April all along the…

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…

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…

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…

Getting involved: Public input sought on cormorant management

It’s important to get involved, especially when it comes to letter writing and making contacts for various issues that affect all we do relative to hunting, fishing and our natural resources. Some of you might already be thinking: “I’m one…

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…

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…

A big muskie day on the Niagara River

My phone vibrated while I sat in a seat at the DEC presentation on the forage base in Lockport. It was Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island inviting me along on a muskie trip the next morning. One of the…

Capt. Ernie a legend in western New York and beyond

As Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston set the hook, there was a big smile on his face. “It feels like a good one,” he said with excitement in his voice. We were fishing on the lower Niagara River along with…

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…

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…

About This Blog

Bill Hilts, Jr. of Lockport (Niagara County) has been a freelance writer since 1980 after graduating from SUNY-Oswego (’78). His first job was with Gun Week Newspaper out of Buffalo. He now writes every week for seven newspapers, contributes to magazines and has been writing for New York Outdoor News since its inception in 2004. He is past president of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers, a former board member of Outdoor Writers Association of America, and active with New York State Outdoor Writers Association. A life member of NRA, he’s also involved with numerous sportsmen’s and conservation groups. He’s an avid deer and waterfowl hunter, and Great Lakes angler.

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