Incredible fishing opportunities abound in the waters of the St. Lawrence River Valley, and the crown jewel of those waters is the St. Lawrence River. In essence, the St. Lawrence River is a world-class fishery, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the Bassmaster Elite Series and the best bass anglers in the world come to Waddington this Aug. 8-11. I anticipate that these anglers will amaze followers across the country with catches of the rivers monster smallmouth bass.
The Bassmaster Elite Series is the premier professional fishing series in the world. This competition draws the worlds top 100 bass anglers and is comprised of eight tournaments around the country. The 2013 Elite Series kicks off in March with events on the Sabine River System and Falcon Lake in Texas, while the third event takes place in April at Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas. In May tournaments will take place at West Point Lake in Georgia and the Alabama River in Alabama, and the lone June event is slated for the Mississippi River in Wisconsin. No competitions will take place in July, but the 2013 Elite Series will conclude in August with the St. Lawrence River Showdown at Waddington and the Lake St. Clair/Detroit River event in Michigan.
All events at the St. Lawrence River Showdown are free for the public. Participating anglers will be competing for a purse of more than $600,000 including a $100,000 first-place prize.
Even more significant for the anglers is the opportunity to qualify for one of the Elite Series 37 spots in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, the Super Bowl of bass angling.
Like the other events in the Elite series, the St. Lawrence River Showdown consists of four days of fishing with 100 anglers competing on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday the field will be cut to 50 anglers, and on Sunday the number will be reduced to 12 anglers who will compete for the top prize money. All awards and Classic-qualification points will be based on cumulative weight over the four fishing days.
For most readers, fishing is a recreational activity; but for Elite Series anglers, fishing is a way of life. The Bassmaster website at www.bassmasters.com has a complete list of the 100 anglers eligible for the Waddington event as well as biographical information on each angler.
Upcoming Ice Fishing Derbies
The most important motto for any ice angler is safety first.
Keeping that motto in mind, here is a brief rundown on upcoming derbies:
This coming Saturday derbies are slated for Alexandria Bay, Black Lake, and Pierrepont.
The Alexandria Bay Luck of the Draw 15th Fire and Ice Fishing Derby is an open-boundary affair with activities and entertainment taking place at the Alexandria Bay Municipal Building/Fire station (408-9351 or 788-2243).
The Black Lake F&G Associations 45th annual Ice Fishing Derby is also an open-boundary tournament with northern pike, walleye, panfish, and junior panfish divisions (www.blfga.org). The Pierrepont VFDs Ice Fishing Derby is an open-boundary one with adult and youth divisions, and the Pierrepont Fire Station is the events headquarters.
Looking ahead to early February, the Redwood VFD hosts its Luck of the Draw Ice Fishing Derby on Feb. 2. Rte. 37 Building Supply and Wellesley Island Building Supply have donated the $1,000 adult grand prize while Felders Roofing and Gerald Umstead General Contractor have provided the $300 child grand prize.
Anglers can register ($10 for adults and $5 for youths) at Felders Service Station and Crossroads Grocery in Redwood, TI Bait Shop in Alexandria Bay, Chapmans Sport Shop at Black Lake, and the Chaumont Ace Hardware in Chaumont. Also, anglers can register at the Redwood Fire Hall from 6-9 p.m. on Feb. 1 and from 6 a.m. until noon on derby day.
The Redwood Fire Hall will serve as derby headquarters for various activities, drawings, food availability, weigh-ins, awards, and more. Weigh-in hours extend from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. with awards being presented at 6 p.m. For more information, call 783-8993.
Tuesday: SLC Fisheries Advisory Board meets at Canton Boces at 7 p.m.
Friday-Sunday: New York Sportsmans Expo at NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
Saturday: Black Lake F&G Associations annual ice dishing derby.
Saturday: Alexandria Bay VFDs annual Luck of the Draw Ice Fishing Derby.
Saturday: Pierrepont VFD Open-Boundary Ice Fishing Tournament.
Feb. 2: Sign-up day (in-person) for hunter education course at SLVSC (344-4017).
Feb. 2: Redwood VFDs Luck of the Draw Ice Fishing Derby (783-8993).
Feb. 2:Parishville VFDs annual rabbit hunt (244-0817 or 265-2922).
Feb. 2-3: Lyme ice fishing derby.
Feb. 9: Chippewa Bay F&G Clubs annual ice fishing derby.
Feb. 9: River Valley Gun Dog Club hosts annual banquet at SLVSC.
Feb. 9: The Waddington Sons of the American Legions ice fishing derby. For further information, please contact derby chairman, John Dinneen at 388-4360.
Feb. 9-10: Theresa FDs 27th annual Luck of the Draw Ice Fishing Derby (777-3936).
Feb. 16: Howies/fishcap ice fishing derby 7a.m.-3 p.m. Wheathouse Bay Ogdensburg. Call 393-3669 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 13-17: Central New York Boat Show at NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
Feb. 16: Claytons 8th annual Catch-and-Release Ice Fishing Derby (771-3533 or 767-4497).
Feb. 16: Plessis annual fishing derby (Luck of the Draw and Big Fish Divisions).
Feb. 23: SLRWAs annual Northern Pike Challenge (384-3450).
Feb. 23: Racquette Valley F&G Clubs ice fishing derby.