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

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Busy summer boating season calls for common sense and patience

Boat Safety

Next week, especially the Fourth of July holiday, is traditionally the busiest boating time of the year. Let’s make sure that it is a safe and pleasant experience for everyone.

With the busy boating and canoeing season coming up it is worth reminding everyone about boat safety. New laws about operating a boat under the influence of alcohol have been passed and hopefully these will reduce the number of accidents on our waterways. Keep alert and save the refreshments until after the boat has been docked for the day.

It is also important to note that laws require a wearable type I, II or III PFD (life jacket) be aboard every vessel, including canoe or kayak and children under 12 must wear a PFD while aboard a boat or canoe. In fact everyone should wear them since nobody plans on having an accident. Injury, shock from cold water and currents can inhibit your ability to swim and statistics show that most deaths result from drowning.

Know the rules of the road about giving sailboats a wide berth, and use courtesy like reducing waves around smaller craft like fishing boats, canoes and kayaks to avoid swamping them. Be alert for kayaks and other boats that are smaller and ride low to the surface of the water. Familiarize yourself about common rules of passing or meeting other boats.

It is also the law to reduce speed and avoid causing wakes in areas like shorelines and docks. Use common sense, stay alert and make this a safe season on the water.

Boat Launch Courtesy

With the holiday weekend and great weather in the forecast it is certain to be a busy season on the water. Boat launches will be busy so be sure to use courtesy and keep things moving smoothly so you won’t interfere with others. We realize that veteran boaters are familiar with these procedures, but some newer boaters may not think of these so here are some hints to make sure all have a smooth launch or landing.

• Make sure your battery is cranking fresh. Running it off the trailer is not the time to find out you need a charge.

• Have an experienced person back the trailer down. This is not the weekend or the location to give your wife or son some learning experience.
• Get your boat ready before you launch. Have your gear aboard, tackle in place, water skis or coolers all set in the parking lot, not spending time doing it at the dock.

• After you pull your boat out of the water, move the trailer off to the side out of other people’s way before you fasten down everything for the trip home.

Thousand Islands

Traditionally we open the bass season in the Thousand Islands and this year was no exception. Camping on the St. Lawrence River near Clayton for two weeks provided us with a needed get away, fishing opportunities and other chances for fun.

We have nearly always camped at Grass Point State Park for the view of the Seaway and easy access to the many islands and shoals around Fisher’s Landing. A short run normally puts you into good fishing spots for smallmouth bass and northern pike around the islands structure or the deeper drop-off into the shipping channel.

This year as predicted the fishing started off slow. Bass had not even spawned yet due to the cold water temperature as they normally spawn when water is about 62–65 degrees and the water temperature was still 58 degrees when the season opened. Since Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties do not allow fishing for bass before the season opener few people knew where to look for them.

Later in the week as the water warmed up slightly bass began to move into spawning shallows and anglers found some action. Some strong winds and steady rain many days also hampered the fishing success for many but fishing on the lee side of the islands did produce some nice smallmouth.

Northern pike were usually found in the deeper structure adjoining shallow flats. One bonus of the colder water was that muskies were also spawning later than normal and a few anglers caught some nice fish. Captain Al Benas had his clients fishing for smallmouths and one of the anglers got the thrill of a lifetime by catching a 30 pound muskie. Largemouth bass were found in the weedy flats where unfortunately the cold water did not delay the development of that disgusting milfoil.

In addition to fishing there is always kayaking in the more protected or sheltered areas such as around Fishers Landing or the north side of Wellesley Island and Lake of the Isles. This year the state has completed the renovations to Rock Island Lighthouse and it is now open to the public. Thousand Islands Winery and Coyote Moon Winery offer tours, wine tasting and of course some excellent wines. Abundant wildlife, including lots of ospreys diving for fish, provided further enjoyment.

It was also a time to visit with friends like Susan and Allen Benas at the Thousand Islands Inn, Bridget and Neal Walsh who were camping at a nearby state park, or share a variety of experiences with Dan and Adrienne Ladd who camped with us for several days. For a complete list of attractions, accommodations, and special events contact the Clayton-1000 Islands Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-252-9806.

APA Accepting Comments: The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will be accepting public comments on plans for classifying the recent purchases of the former Finch-Pruyn lands in Essex and Hamilton Counties until July 19. The DEC wants a mix of classifications calling for wilderness category in some remote, sensitive areas while allowing the less restrictive wild forest category in areas where the public is likely to hunt and fish.

Already the extreme environmentalist-protectionist groups such as Adirondack Council or Protect the Adirondacks are lobbying hard for wilderness classification which would effectively shut the area off for use by most sportsmen. Write a comment, however short, and let the APA know that you favor classifying most of the area wild forest. Don’t let the extremists lock it up for the exclusive use of an elite few! Send your comments to APA, 1133 NYS Route 86, Raybrook, NY 12977.

Adirondack Outdoors: FishUS proudly announces the summer issue of its newest publication, “Adirondack Outdoors,” is now available. The magazine, which is the only one devoted to traditional Adirondack sports including hunting, fishing, paddling, as well as hiking, skiing, etc., made its debut with the spring issue in digital version. The current summer issue is available in both print and digital versions.

The print edition is available at many sports shops, marinas, tourism centers and other outlets throughout the Adirondack region. Locally you can pick up copies at Sweet Temptations Café, Herb Philipsons and Hanifin Tires. Check the digital edition at

The current issue features articles on mountain climbing destinations, paddling trips both short and long, camping, and fishing for bass, trout and pike. There are articles on destination areas including Cranberry Lake, St Regis Canoe Area, Ausable River and the Moose River.

The summer issue of “Lake Ontario Outdoors” is also available at the same local establishments as well as many other sports shops. It features fishing for steelhead, summer salmon, and tips on choosing a charter. Bass fishing from the St. Lawrence and Salmon Rivers and drop shot techniques are covered along with Finger Lakes rainbow trout status.


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July 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM 

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