Niagara Gazette


July 14, 2013

Bill Hilts' Outdoor Report for July 14, 2013

Niagara Gazette — The International Joint Commission (between Canada and the United States) will be conducting a series of public hearings this coming week and the kick-off session will be tonight in Lockport from 6 to 9 p.m. Registration will open at 5:30 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Avenue (Route 78), Lockport. The focus will be in the IJC’s new Plan 2014, addressing how the Great Lakes will be managed regarding water levels.

Of utmost concern locally is how this will affect the boating industry, impacting not only boats coming in and out of the harbors of Wilson, Olcott and Point Breeze (and further east), but also the launch ramps and the operation of many of the marinas in those harbors. In addition, there has to be some serious concerns how this will affect the many tributaries along the shoreline of the south shore of Lake Ontario, a huge economic boon for the small communities that line the lakeshore during a time of year when there isn’t a lot going in the way of other tourism draws.

Let’s consider those tributaries for a moment. During a recent stream creel survey conducted by the Department of Environmental Conservation in 2011-2012, total estimated effort showed 1,582,428 angler hours – an increase over the last surveys in 2005-06 (999,182) and 2006-07 (910,413). At the top of the list stands the Salmon River, home to the lake’s major fish hatchery in Altmar. This river accounted for 68 percent of the angler effort per hours fished and 39 percent of the total number of trips. Sitting in at number two was 18 Mile Creek in the Town of Newfane, Niagara County. This small section of tributary registered about 14 percent of the angler action, translating into some 59,000 trips. A majority of the fishing takes place in September through November, but there is a significant amount of fishing during the winter months, too, if conditions aren’t severe.

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