Roy Larson of North Tonawanda did something last Saturday he’s been trying to do for a long time — win the Niagara River Anglers Association’s Steelhead Contest.

While drifting a pink egg sack in the tail end of the Stella drift, the retired school teacher managed to out-duel at 14 pound, four ounce steelhead to best 76 other anglers in the one day contest.

A guide in these waters, Larson was fishing with friend and fellow captain John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls. “It was kind of a fluke I even fished it,” Larson said. “John was supposed to have a charter fishing trip and his customer cancelled last minute with the flu. He called me up to fish it and I didn’t like the cold weather in the forecast. He actually talked me into it and I’m glad he did.”

Fishing conditions have been tough this year. With Lake Erie not freezing over and lots of wind and rain muddying the waters up, the trout fishing in the lower Niagara has been inconsistent at best. The anglers received a bit of a reprieve on Saturday, with good enough conditions to catch some fish and keep anglers happy.

We caught fish in Devil’s Hole, Artpark, Queenston and Jackson before catching the winning fish on Stella. Egg sacks worked for us all day and I know some boats caught fish on Kwikfish, too. We probably caught a dozen fish for the morning.

Larson wasn’t sure what the key to his success was other than pounding the water and trying out different areas. We seemed to catch the same size fish on most drifts, so we moved around to seek out some bigger fish. It worked.

Larson prefers a seven foot, nine inch G. Loomis steelhead rod equipped with a Fin-Nor spinning reel. While running a three-way rig, his egg sack was trailing a seven foot lead of eight pound fluorocarbon line. “You want as natural a presentation as possible,” said the avid waterfowler and 3-F Club skeet shooter. He won just under $400 for his efforts.

Mike Sullivan and Dan Covell tied for second place with each catching a 12 pound, six ounce steelhead. However, Sullivan claimed the second place prize by weighing his catch in first at Lewiston Landing. According to Larson, Sullivan hauled his catch from Artpark while fishing from shore. Then again, Larson is the guy that followed the wrong car in an attempt to follow his guide while out goose hunting in the Finger Lakes this past goose season, so who knows for sure.

Anyway, nice job, Roy. You did good.

Big Buck Measuring Day

Jeff Pippard of Niagara Outdoors in North Tonawanda sends word that his shop will be hosting a New York State Big Buck Club Measuring Day this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Official scorers Pete Labushesky, Don Haseley and Dave Muir will be on hand throughout the day to score your antlers and give you an official measurement. Food and refreshments will be available.

Niagara Outdoors is located at 223 Witmer Road (on the corner of Warner). If you have any questions or need any additional information, give Pip a call at 695-5873.

LOTSA Fishing Expo is Sunday

Don’t forget that the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s Fishing Expo and Flea Market this Sunday at the 4-H building of Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Avenue (Rte. 78), Lockport starting at 10 a.m. and running through 4 p.m. There will be some excellent speakers on spring and summer salmon and trout fishing in the lake, as well as 46 booths of information, gear and derby/tournament information. The $5 admission fee helps to fund pen rearing projects in Niagara and Orleans counties. For a complete synopsis of the event, check out www.lotsa.org.

Hunting seasons fifth safest

Good news and bad news so far as far as hunting related accidents and injuries for the 2007-2008 season. The good news is that this past hunting season was the fifth safest on record in the history of hunting in the Empire State. There were 38 hunting related shooting incidents in the state. The bad news is that six of those incidents were fatalities.

Deer hunting accidents led the way 14 mishaps, five of which were fatal. The five year average was 21 accidents, so the rate was down. As far as what gun was being used, 23 were shotgun accidents, 12 were rifle mishaps, 1 was a handgun accident and two muzzleloader incidents led to the state total.

Nine of the accidents were self inflicted, with two of them being fatal; 32 were two party accidents. Most could have been avoided if they had just used some common sense. While the number of hunters afield continues to decline, the hunting accident rate is falling at a much faster rate. In the past decade, the incident rate is 6.5 per 100,000 hunters. Back in the 1960s, that rate was 19 per 100,000 hunters. For a complete breakdown of the accidents and how they occurred, check out www.dec.ny.gov.

Pistol safety course Thursday

There will be a NRA Certified Pistol Safety Course sponsored by the UAW 686 Pistol Club from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday. The class will be held at the UAW 686 Hall at Walnut and Vine streets, Lockport. For more information or to pre-register, contact Larry Koch at 778-9935 or Gordon Botting at 434-1563.

State of the Lake meetings

The Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that it will host Lake Ontario “State of the Lake” meetings in March. The meeting schedule is as follows: Mexico Bay (BOCES, Oswego County), March 6; Rochester (RIT in Monroe County), March 11; and Lockport (4-H Bldg., Niagara County), March 13. The meetings will probably start around 7 p.m., but we’ll have more definitive information as we get closer to the gathering.

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