Blogs > Oneida Outdoors

An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Don't let bug ruin your outdoor plans

Spring and summer are great times to be afield fishing, hiking, boating, etc. However, there is one danger that can easily spoil your fun – bugs! Most of us are familiar with the evil black flies that frequent Tug Hill, the Adirondacks and most areas of central New York where there is clear, cool water. The black fly season is just getting into high gear so be prepared if you go afield.

Black flies are vicious biting insects that attack in swarms and leave nasty bites with their sharp mouths. Their saliva also contains an anti-coagulant that many people are allergic to. Although they hatch in clear water, the breeze may blow them a great distance and they can be found anywhere there is foliage for cover, especially during daylight hours. They are a serious threat to hikers, fishermen and turkey hunters.
No-see-ums or punkies are very tiny biting flies which also are found near still water. They occur in swarms but aren't as persistent as black flies. They are most active from dusk to dawn. They often penetrate under or through most netting or mesh covering.
The wet weather has been conducive for breeding mosquitoes which are born in stagnant water but travel long distances in search of prey. They are most active during periods of low light.
There are methods to protect yourself from these disgusting little critters, including special clothing and repellents. L.L.Bean makes a line of clothing called "Buzz Off." It is a cotton poplin fabric with natural odorless repellent bonded to the fabric. I have used the shorts, shirts and hats and they really work. There are other brands that utilize mesh, lightweight clothing and natural repellents. Of course many washings will remove the repellent and diminish the usefulness.
Common repellents contain DEET which is effective, but may cause an allergic reaction in some people. If a rash occurs, wash off the remaining repellent. Another problem is perspiration causing some of the repellent with DEET to get into your eyes. If you doubt that DEET is nasty stuff, see what it does to varnish on your canoe paddle or the material of your fly line, etc. One product that has proven effective for both people and animals such as short haired dogs is Bug Guard. It does not contain DEET, instead it relies on natural repellents and is specially developed to repel black flies, mosquitoes and ticks. I have also used it extensively and can testify that it works well. It lasts for about eight hours, although perspiration or rain will remove it.
My friend, the late Scott Sampson had a German Short Haired Pointer that was constantly being bitten by black flies due to its fine, short hair. A veterinarian recommended Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard since it is safe to put on animals even if they lick themselves. It also serves to repel deer ticks. Note that we are talking about a specific insect repellent, not the bath oil produced by the same company.
Movement, carbon dioxide, perspiration and perfumes all serve as attractions for these disgusting insects. You can't avoid moving or breathing, but you can avoid perfumes, colognes, etc. and you can try to cut down on perspiration.
The color blue also attracts these insects so avoid blue colored clothing.
You should wear long pants and tuck them in your socks or wear gaiters in areas where ticks are a problem. Spray your pants legs with permithrin or DEET. Use repellent such as Bug Guard on exposed skin.
So even though insects are a problem, you can still enjoy the outdoors with a little precaution. Besides, if you stay inside watching all those re-runs of "reality shows" you will probably suffer from brain damage.
INLET'S WOODS & WATER OUTDOOR EXPO: Inlet’s Woods and Waters Outdoor Expo will share outdoor recreational information and products by bringing together all levels of knowledgeable sports recreation educators and merchants with all levels of eco tourist enthusiasts for a successful family Adirondack adventure.
On June 4 and 5, the Town of Inlet’s Area Business Association will host the Wood and Waters Outdoor Expo on Arrowhead Park Lakefront. The event is free to the public.
It is a multi-themed outdoor recreational event hosting booths containing products for power sports, flat water paddle, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and fishing.
It will include organizations from the many fitness events, environmental organizations and tourism councils throughout the Adirondack Park
The theme of the event is a Forest Preserve for all to enjoy. The main goal of the event is to introduce all levels of tourists to the many successful methods of recreation in the West Central Adirondacks. It will be the first event of its type to celebrate all the eco tourists with lectures and demonstrations by guides, leading educators, writers and sports recreational merchants providing a method for successful journeys into the West Central Adirondacks.
The two-day event will have on water and off water lectures demonstrations and power point presentations on subjects from birding, Geocaching, sailing, snowmobiling, paddle making, photography, Dutch Oven cooking, kayaking, hiking safety, hunting, fishing, back packing, mountain biking, skiing, boating, photography, back country float plane services, camping and more.
For more information contact the Inlet Information and Tourism Office at 1-800-GO INLET or
HALL OF FAME MUSEUM OPENS: The NYS Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame will hold the grand opening of its new museum in Vail Mills on June 4 at 10 a.m. The Hall of Fame Museum will be located within the Wildlife Sports Museum at the intersection of Rt. 29 and 30, northeast of Johnstown. The Wildlife Sports Museum is a world class museum of mounts, history of sporting implements and other outdoor sports located in the popular sportsmen’s mecca of Fulton County. Because the other attractions already exist, the new NYSOHOF Museum will be focusing on educational exhibits, including those of achievements of its members and conservation issues.
SPORTFISHING REGULATION CHANGES CONSIDERED FOR 2012-14: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that changes being considered to the current freshwater fishing regulations are now available for initial public review and feedback.
The proposed changes can now be viewed on the DEC Website at
The website provides instructions on how to submit input and quick email links to easily submit comments on individual proposals.
Changes being considered include modifications to the current seasons, size limits and creel limits on certain waters for popular game fish species such as trout, salmon, walleye, black bass, pickerel, muskellunge and tiger muskellunge. Additional suggested changes pertain to ice fishing on certain waters, as well as for establishing specific gear requirements for certain angling practices.
Comments will be accepted through June 24 and comments will be utilized in making decisions for a subsequent rule making proposal. If adopted, regulation changes would become effective on October 1, 2012.
JUNIOR ARCHERY BILL BECOMES LAW: Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed the bill that allows Junior Archery Hunters to hunt big game at 12 years of age when accompanied by appropriate parent or guardian. The law is goes into effect October 2011.
DEC CAMP OPENINGS: The DEC has announced that there are still some openings in the four DEC Environmental Education Camps that are held from July 3 to August 20 this year. For more information contact the DEC at (518) 402-8014 or e-mail
VERNON ROD & GUN CLUB: The Vernon Rod & Gun Club has two major events next weekend. June 10 will be the Kids Fishing Derby starting at 6 p.m. at Janowski’s Pond in Vernon Center. June 11 will be the chicken barbecue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is welcome and proceeds will go to financing the youth programs.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Livingston County offers four seasons of fun

Trophy sized smallmouth and largemouth bass, big northern pike, deer with bragging sized antlers and wild turkey all beckon to the sportsmen in their respective seasons. Family vacations, get away weekends, or fishing and hunting excursions all beckon and offer plenty to do with a variety of accommodations to suit every taste and budget. Summer attractions include boating, river rafting, fishing, hiking, as well as shopping, museums, art galleries and more. Of course Letchworth State Park encompassing the Grand Canyon of the East or Genesee Gorge remains the star attraction.
Livingston County offers all of this and it’s just a short drive south of Rochester.
Most people are familiar with Letchworth State Park, but as I found out on a recent trip, there is a lot more to Livingston County. The occasion was the New York State Outdoor Writers’ Association annual Spring Safari organized by Livingston County Tourism to show writers from around the state the great experiences and resources that exist there.
Our base of operations was the comfortable cabins at Letchworth State Park. From there many of us set out for turkey hunting both in the park and nearby areas. Alas, the turkeys there are just as wary and frustrating as elsewhere but they are there to challenge the hunter.
Early one morning some of us set out to fish nearby Conesus Lake and we counted over a hundred deer on our way out of the park. Park Superintendent Roland Beck told me that deer hunting is allowed in the park during regular bow and gun seasons and is a popular activity. Once hunters draw their permit for hunting, many of them rent cabins there during the hunting season for easy access. Some of the park personnel showed us photos taken of deer there, and there were a lot of bucks with antler spreads that would make them trophies in anyone’s book.
From spring through fall, Conesus Lake and Hemlock Lake are very popular with anglers. Conesus offers a first class boat ramp and access site on the east side below Livonia and the lake has a great variety of fish to attract anglers. I fished with Paul Lane, a local angler, one day and he shared some of his tips and advice as we caught and released lots of largemouth bass.
We did see some anglers in a nearby boat catch a bragging sized northern pike. But Paul explained that at this time of year until the weed lines develop it is hard to consistently catch big pike. Once that happens you can fish the outer edge of weed lines and catch nice pike in the seven to ten pound range and reasonably expect to hit some 12–15 pound ones. Spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits and jigs all work well on pike.
The edges of the lake hold extensive weedy flats with several drop-offs into greater depths until you hit the 60 foot depth in the middle. It is along these drop-offs or points into deep water that you will find smallmouth, including many that are in the four to six pound class. Walleye also like to hang along these drop-offs and points and come into the shallows to feed in the evening.
At first we worked the flats for largemouth with tube jigs or plastic worms without much action until we found a long stretch on the west side with slightly turbid water and then we had action until quitting time. Shallow running crankbaits also worked well that day. Since it is weedy in the summer plastics, including Senkos, work well.
Hemlock offers a lake in a pristine wooded setting with no development but the largemouth and smallmouth also run big and eager for the angler in a canoe or cartop boat. The Canadice-Hemlock State Forest is a recent state acquisition and preserves the area for future generations for a wide variety of outdoor recreation.
As mentioned earlier, Letchworth State Park remains the gem of the area. The 14,350 acres encompasses the gorge of the Genesee River, known as the Grand Canyon of the East. It is characterized by three major waterfalls on the river that flows through 600 foot high cliffs, 66 miles of hiking trails and countless other small but charming and scenic spots.
Campers can chose from 270 electric campsites and 80 cabins from mid May through Columbus Day although some of the cabins remain open through November and one area is open all winter for snowmobilers, skiers, etc. Reservations are available by calling 800-456-2267. For those who desire different accommodations, there is the Glen Iris Inn and three houses available for rent.
Hunting is available in season by park permit. There is a swimming pool, museum, restaurants and even rafting available. There is too much to describe in a few paragraphs; Letchworth deserves, and will get, a story of its own.
Accommodations outside the park in Livingston County range from Bed and Breakfasts to Inns and motels and include other campgrounds. The area offers stream fishing for trout, hiking on the Finger Lakes Trail and tours inside the Mount Morris Dam. For variety there are art galleries, museums, shopping, unique farm markets, craft shops, vineyards and wineries.
For a complete guide to all activities, attractions and events contact the Livingston County Tourism office at 4635 Millenium Drive, Geneseo, NY 14454. You can also call 585-243-2222 or visit the web site
Whether it is a vacation or a get-away weekend you will probably find that there is so much to see and do that you cannot possibly do it all. The answer is to go back again. I certainly plan on it.
ADIRONDACK FISHING EXPO: Whether it is tips or tackle, you can pick it up this weekend at the Adirondack Fishing Expo in Old Forge on Saturday and Sunday. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the Park Ave Community Center (on Park Ave, the street behind the High School or Souvenir Village, etc.). Turn right at the High School or at the "Five Corners" in the middle of town.
There will be exhibits by organizations, vendors, demonstrations, seminars all day long. Information will range from fishing the Moose River Plains to rigging out your fishing kayak and demonstrations from cooking fish to fly casting clinics and more.
Learn how to take better fishing photographs, techniques for brook trout fishing and Adirondack bass fishing. There will be useful free information available from FishNY, Trout Unlimited, Embark magazine and more. Get autographed copies of books, wildlife art, or sign up for a guided trip.
DEC PROPOSES BEAR SEASON CHANGES: Earlier this week, the DEC proposed changes in the Southern Zone bear season. One change would involve changing borders and opening more areas in southeastern New York. The one that would affect more people in central New York would open the season seven days earlier, on the same day as the regular opening of big game in the Southern Zone. Complete details and areas are on the DEC web site.
STURGEON ALERT: The DEC wants to alert anglers, particularly on Oneida Lake, to be aware of spawning sturgeon while walleye fishing. Sturgeon are spawning at this time and are more likely to be accidentally caught by anglers. Remember that sturgeon are protected and must be immediately released. Do not lift them from the water and hold them vertically.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Boaters left out in the cold for the opening of Walleye seaon

High water levels on the Oneida River and Seneca River prompted the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Dept. to order these waters closed to all boaters on Tuesday. Shortly thereafter, the Oswego and Oneida County Sheriff’s Depts. closed Oneida Lake to all boaters. The order remains in effect until further notice. With heavy rains in the forecast for the remainder of the week, it is highly unlikely that these waters will be open for the weekend for the opening of the walleye season.
The Sheriff’s Dept. said that their decision to close the waterways to boaters is an effort to minimize shoreline damage. A no-wake advisory remains in effect in other waters to protect shoreline properties.
The opening of the walleye season is Saturday. Oneida Lake and surrounding waterways are traditionally one of the most popular areas in the state and anglers were looking forward to the season opener. Since high water will also prevent access to many other areas, most anglers will likely have to wait or find other waters around the state. Fish Creek, one of the main tributaries of Oneida Lake was very high and virtually unfishable in recent days and is unlikely to see lower water levels in the near future.
Boaters who try other waters that are open to fishing should exercise extreme caution. The sheer mass of floating debris in most waters that has washed into lakes and ponds poses a hazard to boaters. Boaters should proceed slowly and be on the lookout for hazards, including wood, floating limbs or partially sunken trees.
Ted Dobs said that for those anglers who do have access to shoreline on Oneida Lake it may be good fishing. The heavy rains and floods have washed many nutrients into the lake and small baitfish will be feeding in the area, perhaps drawing walleye into the area to feed on the baitfish. Higher water levels will mean that walleye may also be found closer to shore than normal.
Other areas that are popular with walleye fisherman are Canadarago Lake, Otisco Lake, Lake Delta and Whitney Point Reservoir. Some of the smaller reservoirs in southern Madison County also hold nice walleye populations. At press time there was no word about the status of these waters, but if they are open to boaters be sure to use caution.
Further north, anglers will be seeking walleye along Sandy Pond, Henderson Harbor and Black River Bay.
When Tom Yacovella caught a new record brook trout in 2009 many people were amazed. Not that he had caught a five pound, five and one half ounce brookie, but that it came from the Adirondacks. Fishing in Adirondacks in recent years has been somewhat of a mystery or often ignored.
This is what the annual Adirondack Fishing Expo is hoping to change.
The Adirondack Fishing Expo will be held May 21-22 in Old Forge. It will be at the Community Center on Park Ave, located behind Souvenir Village at the "Five Corners." Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. It is sponsored by Souvenir Village and the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame with proceeds to benefit Hall of Fame youth programs.
There have been a renewed interest in fishing the Adirondacks but many people are unaware of the potential that exists there, or the methods to take advantage of it. With exhibits, demonstrations and seminars the attendees of the Expo will have a much better idea of where to go and how to fish for the species they desire.
There will be exhibitors ranging from canoe and kayak sales, fishing tackle vendors, Adirondack guides, outfitters such as canoe rentals or seaplanes, fly tyers, conservation organizations, tourist information, wildlife artists and craftsmen. You will have the chance to meet and talk with award winning artist and outdoorsman Tom Yacovella and hear his methods for brook trout fishing.
Throughout the day there will be seminars and presentations on Adirondack bass fishing, brook trout fishing, kayak fishing, fishing remote trout waters, trolling techniques and lures, fly fishing and photography. Learn and sample fish cooking techniques from the masters Nick Bankert and Jim Holt. Professional photographer Angie Berchielli will share her tips for taking better fish photos.
There will be information on fishing various lakes, ponds, and rivers, as well as the "fish finder" maps available from Explore the options of getting to fishing waters ranging from roadside boat launches to flying in by seaplane, packing in by horseback, or traveling by canoe. Meet the outfitters and learn from their presentations on what to take and how to pack.
There will be fly fishing demonstrations, clinics, or lessons. You will have the chance to meet popular authors and get autographed books. There will be free fishing maps courtesy of and other material from Embark magazine.
Seminars and demonstrations will include kayak fishing at 10 a.m., floatplane at 10:30 a.m., Yacovella on brook trout at 11 a.m., fly tying demo at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., a fly casting clinic at 11:30 a.m., back country brookies at noon, a fish cooking demo at 1 p.m., bass fishing at 1:30 p.m., better fishing photos at 2:15 p.m., pack in by canoe at 2:45 p.m. and trolling techniques and lures at 3 p.m. See the Hall of Fame web site for more information.
FISHING REPORT: Although high water levels have made most streams unfishable and curtailed boat activity on lakes, the fishing for brown trout along the Lake Ontario shoreline has been great. Running stickbaits and spoons on flatlines or planer boards have produced many nice browns. Check or for complete reports.
HALL OF FAME BANQUET: A good crowd, including a virtual "who’s who" of conservation leaders and outdoor sportsmen, turned out at the Rusty Rail last Saturday for the annual NYS Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame Banquet. Sportsmen from Long Island to Chautauqua County came to honor the eight inductees which include Bob Fields of Rome and Lin Menninger and Ed Pugliese from nearby Onondaga County. Also receiving special recognition as Sportsmen of the Year was the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club for its many years of dedication to successfully restoring Atlantic salmon to Fish Creek and area waters.
TURKEY TALES: The opening of turkey season last Sunday was one of the few pleasant days we have had and many area turkey hunters took advantage of it. Most people reported seeing or hearing a good number of birds, including some big toms. But most of them had real hens with them or were otherwise reluctant to come into the calls.
My friend Glenn Sapir, former editor of "Field & Stream" magazine stayed at my home for the weekend and went hunting with me. Glenn called in a nice gobbler early in the morning but it came up the hill obscured from my vision by a big stump. As Glenn whispered – "there he is" I only caught a short glance at the head and hesitated. The bird became suspicious, disappeared behind a brush pile and headed back down the hill. We later had other birds answer us but none came into range.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: The Utica Office of the DEC is looking for volunteers on May 17 to help plant shrubs and trees along the newly restored bank of the Mohawk River north of Westernville. If you can assist, call Dave Erway at 793-2556.