OUTDOORS: Make the Thousand Islands part of your summer vacation plans
If this scene seems distant, remember that it is only two travel hours away, and only a couple months away on the calendar. It’s not too early to start making your vacation plans and if you aren’t including the Thousand Islands in your plans, why not?
Are you looking for fabulous fishing action in a beautiful setting? Do want to try a great new fishing spot or pursue a different species every day? Do you want fishing for the whole family? From the mysterious muskellunge to plentiful panfish, the Thousand Islands region has something for nearly everyone. You can conveniently launch your own boat, find plenty of opportunity for rentals or take advantage of very reasonably priced guided charter boats.
In case some of the family does not share your enthusiasm for fishing, there are plenty of other things to keep them busy and happy. Golf, museums, touring Boldt Castle, nature centers, boat tours, craft stores, swimming, boating, dining and much more are available. Two excellent wineries – Thousand Islands Winery and Coyote Moon Vineyards – offer great wines and a fun-filled visit. There are accommodations to suit every taste including campgrounds, cottages, inns, motels, bed and breakfasts or hotels.
There is also dining to suit every taste and style. The Thousand Islands area offers world class recreation with small town convenience and friendliness. For more information contact the Thousand Island International Tourism Council at 800-8-ISLAND or their website www.visit1000islands.com. Be sure to ask for the “1000 Islands Fishing & Hunting Guide.” It is packed with information including guides, launch sites and articles on fishing.
It is no secret that Clayton holds a special place in my heart all these years. Contact the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-252-9806 or check their website at www.1000islands-clayton.com. Ask for their visitors guide to help you make your plans. It’s only two hours away, but seems as if you are in another world as you enjoy the scenery, the fishing and the cuisine.
Be sure to check out the Thousand Islands Inn on Riverside Drive (1-800-844-4241). Enjoy a fine meal while viewing the spectacular sunset on the river.
When I was young I eagerly looked forward to our family’s frequent trips to the St. Lawrence River and thought the fishing was fantastic. Later we took our own children there for memorable vacations. Many years have passed since then, but I still feel the same attraction. Consider that you can catch muskellunge, northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, catfish and various panfish.
Northern pike remain one of the prize sport fish. Changing conditions on the river usually mean that the pike are in deeper water and more widely scattered than in past years, but when you hook one you will agree that they are worth the effort.
Smallmouth bass are always one of the most exciting fish to catch. The myriad granite structures and river currents provide great habitat. People come from all over the northeast to experience the smallmouth fishing. Clearer water means that you will probably use deep water tactics like jigging or live bait for much of the summer, but smallmouth are great sport no matter what technique you use.
Whether it is keeping the kids busy or filling your bucket for a tasty fish fry, panfish are abundant and cooperative. Perch, sunfish, bluegills and other species are caught with worms, small minnows, crabs or tiny jigs. Fishing from shore at the many public areas or from a boat along shallow bays will yield lots of action.
If you don’t have a boat, you are still able to take advantage of the great fishing by hiring a guide. Great guides like Myrle Bauer, Al Benas and others will use their experience and knowledge of the river to put you into excellent fishing action. Their boats have the latest conveniences and they will entertain you with their interesting stories of the river, as well as fishing. Contact Myrle Bauer – Net Results Charters (315-686-2122), or Al Benas – 1000 Islands Fishing Charters (315-686-2381) for more information.
Even if you bring or rent a boat, it is often a good idea to hire a guide for a day when you first get there. Their knowledge of what type of areas to find fish, techniques to use, etc. is invaluable and will help to insure your fishing success for the rest of your vacation. The St. Lawrence River – Thousand Islands area is a confusing maze of depths, currents, structure, etc. and can be tough to figure out. Invest in their skill and have a great time while doing it.
Iroquois Indians called this area the Garden of The Great Spirit. During the Gilded Age it was the playground of the rich. Today you can enjoy a great family vacation or get away weekend easily. Make a point to include the Thousands Islands into your vacation plans and see why the area is so special.
DEC Conservation Camp Online: The New York State DEC is launching a new online registration system for its summer environmental education camps for the 2013 season. Online registration is currently open.
The new online registration system will allow those registering campers to determine which camp sessions have openings, sign campers up directly and pay by credit card or e-check. Paper applications and paper checks will no longer be used. For the 2013 camp season the fee remains $350 per one-week session per camper. In addition to being able to immediately select which camp session their child will attend, parents will also be able to sign their camper up for the optional Sportsman Education program offered at each camp.
A link to the online application can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html in the “Environmental Education Summer Camps” section of DEC’s website. Step-by-step instructions will detail how to complete the form to register a child. For more information please visit the DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov, or call 518-402-8014
NYS Camping Reservations: New York State Campgrounds offer a great experience at reasonable rates. But because they are popular it is getting tougher to get your choice of campgrounds or sites. Whether Adirondacks and Catskills campgrounds run by the DEC or the rest of the state’s Office of Parks and Recreation runsites, you can make reservations online or by phone. Go to www.ReserveAmerica.com for maps, information, availability of sites and making a reservation. You can call toll free 1-800-304-1265 if you know the campground and site that you want.