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Rod, Gun and Game: Check out the best fishing spots in Western New York

SPRINGVILLE — If you are in the market for a place to vacation and kick back, look no further than Mother Nature, which has provided us with many incredible waterways.

Check out the Finger Lakes, where rental cabins welcome families and individuals on every budget. Get away for a while and do some fishing.

All over Western New York, parents and grandparents are introducing kids to fishing, for the first time.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s website offers interactive and educational information, with fishing for multiple species, complete with directions and lake depth contour maps.

New York state has more than 7,500 lakes and ponds and 50,000 miles of rivers and streams. Many of these locations have public access and cabins for rent. We have world-class fishing, for a wide variety of cold water and warm water fish, right at our doorstep.

Visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7749.html, for more information. Check out the state contour map and select the region about which you would like to learn more.

For example, when you select Region 9, you will find advice about where to fish and what to use, on Lake Chautauqua and many smaller lakes, in the area.

Many of our local trout streams are noted for excellent fishing. The DEC’s website will provide advice about what flies to use, where to access the water, which equipment to utilize and when to fish.

I checked out Silver Lake, online. The DEC’s website detailed how that lake was formed by glaciers, how big the lake is (836 acres) and where it is located (eastern Wyoming County). The website specifies the fish that inhabit that lake, the aquatic nature of the waterway and advice about how to fish that lake.

Find out where you can launch your boat or have a picnic. Check out the best spots to fish for panfish, such as crappie and bluegills, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass and perhaps the most prevalent fish in the lake, the largemouth bass.

Live bait will always catch panfish. Crabs will usually catch bass. Live chubs off a bobber and 6-foot leader will entice the northern pike.

Remember, safety first. Strap on the life jackets, then find the fish. Locate the visible edge of the weeds, usually about 10– 13 feet from shore. Drop anchor, then fish the bottom, with a simple hook and sinker, or a slip bobber rig. Set the slip bobber for about 1 or 2 feet shorter than the water’s depth, or tie on a simple one-eighth ounce jig head, with half of a worm attached, on the hook.

Let the jig go to the bottom and slowly reel it back. If you do not catch any fish in your first spot, move up or down the weedline 100 yards and try again. I like the slip-bobber rigs for both kids and adults, because they will keep you out of the weeds, most of the time.

Use plastic worms, for largemouth bass. Set your rig on a size 3/0 worm hook, add a one-16th ounce slip-sinker ahead of the hook and thread the plastic worm on, from the head to 2 inches down the worm, and bring the hook out.

Turn over the hook and slide its point into the worm body, to make the rig totally weedless. You can cast near the edge of the weeds and have the chance to catch the biggest bass in the lake.

Many WNY anglers prefer 6-inch purple plastic worms made by Pure Fishing©. Other favorites include the bubblegum and the June bug varieties.

If you can’t head out for several days, check out the many local fishing spots.

For an adventure all by itself, visit Lake Kirsty at the Tifft Nature Preserve, located at 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd. in Buffalo. Lake Kirsty can be fished from the west, south and east shorelines. This family fishing site includes largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sunfish, yellow perch and bullhead. A wheelchair-accessible fishing platform and bathrooms are located at the visitor center.

I have recently discovered an underwater camera, complete with color screen, called the Aqua-Vu®. Drop the weighted probe and camera down, near the dock or the weed bed, and check out the underwater action.

This device can record what you see, for playback. This is the coolest fishing tool I’ve seen, since live worms. For more information about this camera, visit www.aquavu.com.

Get out there and do some summer vacation fishing, with your family. We live in the best fishery region in all of North America!

Free fishing day clinic
Shelter 10 at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park will be the site of a free family fishing clinic on Saturday, June 22, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The NYSDEC and the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs will team up, to provide this event. Participants may fish and visit six stations, to learn about fish, techniques and tackle. This event falls on the NYS free fishing weekend, so no fishing license is required, for those older than 16.

Kids age 15 and younger may register to win free rod and reel prizes and will receive a free Sahlen’s hot dog lunch. Fishing rods are available to borrow, or participants may bring their own. Live bait will be provided. Adult accompaniment is required.To register, contact the East Aurora Boys & Girls Club at 652-4180, Cochairman Mike Todd at 851-7010 or Dave Barus at 597-4081.

Lake Erie debris warning
Heavy rains have recently pushed trees into Lake Erie and the U.S. Coast Guard station in Buffalo warned all boaters to exercise caution, while on the water, in the next few weeks. Reports of damaged boats have been recorded, by many agencies in both Lake Erie and the Niagara River.

BassEye fundraiser
The 12th annual Greater Niagara BassEye Celebrity Challenge, to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, will take place on Lake Erie, out of Buffalo, on June 27 – 28.

This Redbone Series tournament, sponsored by Rich Products, the Buffalo Bisons and Robert-James Sales, will kick off on Thursday night, with a dinner and auction reception at Coca-Cola Field, located at 275 Washington St.

The evening will feature live and silent auctions, as well as dinner.

The fishing competition will begin on Friday morning at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority small boat harbor, located at 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd., followed by an awards reception, held dockside.

For more information about the event or to participate in the fishing, contact Gia Coone at the Western New York Cystic Fibrosis Foundation office, at 204-2535 or gcoone@cff.org.

Outdoor calendar
– June 22: Free fishing clinic, Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, 10 a.m. – noon. Prizes for all.

– June 22: Southtowns Walleye awards picnic, 1 p.m., 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg.

– June 23: NYS archery certification, Erie Conservation Society, Miller Avenue, Chaffee, 8 a.m. To register, call 585-680-2519.

– June 24 – 27: Children On the Stream interdisciplinary fly fishing conference, $350. For more information, visit www.childreninthestream.com/2013-registration--fee.html.

– June 26: Summer fly fishing with Ray Marks. Six-week class. Lake Shore Central School. To register, call 926-2270.

– June 27 and 28: BassEye Celebrity Fishing Challenge, NFTA small boat harbor, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser and bass-walleye contest. For more information, call 204-2535 or visit www.basseye.org.

– June 30: Springville Field & Stream woodchuck hunt. Weigh-in will begin at 8 a.m. For more information, call Jerry King at 592-3515.

Send outdoor information for the Forrest Fisher column, 10 days in advance, to nugdor@yahoo.com.
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