WNED-TV KIDS FEST – What an Awesome Event

  • 1400 New Kids – FIND the OUTDOORS for the First Time
  • Parents of Kids – DISCOVER FISH and FUN of New York OUTDOORS
  • Kudo’s to TV Station Crew and Outdoor Sportsman Volunteers

By Joe McAdams – ECFSC Kids Fest Co-Chairman

This was the Erie County Federation’s 1st participation of the WNED-TV Kids Fest.  I’ve attended this event with my grandson last year, so I had an idea of how the event worked and what to expect as an attendee. 

The press release was sent out and we prepared to add another community event to our calendar.  Unfortunately, we had no idea what to expect as a vendor.

Our platform consisted of standard Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs (ECFSC) banners and signage, Teach-Me-To-Fish posters supplied by Dave Barus, printed handouts for the Federation and an awesome supply of NYS fishing maps, fishing regulations and beginning fishing guides.

The crew consisted of President Jeff Jondle (event co-chair), Joe McAdams (event co-chair), Tom Fischer, George Rockey, Gary Melnyk, Hope Melnyk, and DEC biologist representative, Mike Todd.

Thanks to the assistance of the WNED studio crew members – we had our banner high on the wall.  We went right to work setting up shop.  This seasoned crew had everything ready to go in record time.

Our location in the TV studio – adjacent to the “Curious George and Friends” photo op and the “See Yourself on TV” green screen camera – gave us opportunity to present the Federation and all our programs to the interested parents.

                                                           Experienced crew assembles booth display.

Not knowing how many kids to expect and not having a large supply of prizes, we wanted to use a prize wheel to award drawing prizes. We brought 20 fishing poles, 100 mini-tackle boxes and over 200 Cabela’s braided wrist bands in hunter orange.

The stage is set, ready for kids and parents at WNED-TV Studios, Buffalo, NY.

We couldn’t get a prize wheel, so we used a Plinko board with a 1-in-4 chance to win a top prize (fishing pole).  Everyone else received a wrist band or mini tackle box.  We expected our cache of over 300 prizes to easily last the day.

To say that we were WAY OFF is an understatement!  Saturday’s pre-registered attendance was a little over 500, but an additional 400 kids purchased tickets at the door bringing the attendance to over 900 kids.  This was amazing!

There was genuine interest in the Teach-Me-To-Fish program with many parents eager to attend this year’s events.  I could not believe how many parents had never heard of ECFSC and Teach-Me-To-Fish.  We had more face time with parents than any other Federation event!

                           Kid-size mini-Plinko.

DEC representative Mike Todd brought the popular fish identification display and a new event – the “fish pool”.

The fish pool consisted of numerous laminated color prints of various regional fish with a Velcro nose.  Fishing poles equipped with a Velcro lined plug were used to make the catch.  The water consisted of a blue tarp and nautical rope rigging to prevent those fishing from “falling in”.

The idea was to have the kids hook their fish, then take it to the identification chart behind the pool.  This reinforced the fun of fishing with educational interaction.  The fish pool was a huge success.  Parents were taking pictures of their kids landing everything from Perch to Lake Trout!  At times, the line to fish in the DEC Fish Pool stretched across the room.

After the first day, we exhausted our supply of prizes.  We eliminated the mini-Plinko game and expanded the fish pond to account for the extra space.  Sunday’s attendees would have been disappointed if it wasn’t for George Rockey.  George came to the rescue with 200 stuffed emoji’s and 30 Frisbees to give away.

                                   DEC Fish Pool                                                                                Ryan McAdams lands a big bass. 

Sunday’s event was smaller and shorter in time with a schedule of 12-4.  There were 300 pre-registered and another 180 walk-ins that brought the total kids to almost 500.  The crowd was enthusiastic and parents snapped up anything that had information about Federation programs.

Hope and Gary Melnyk kept an eye on the prizes and managed to stretch them out until 2PM.  Even without prizes, the kids still loved the fishing pond.

EVENT SUMMARY:

During this one event, we were able to reach more kids and engage more parents than the last 3 years of the “Teach-Me-To-Fish” program.  More importantly, was that the majority of kids that attended this event were under the age of 6.

Our literature, fishing guides and maps weren’t taken by browsers strolling by, but were methodically acquired by young parents that were engaged by our Federation volunteers.

As a Director, former President, and longtime member of the Federation, I couldn’t be more proud of our all-volunteer team.  They took this opportunity to educate and enlighten.  To engage and provoke interest.

A special note of thanks for Mike Todd.  This passionate New York State DEC biologist and educator does not get paid to support our events.  He re-arranges his work schedule to cover the Federation sponsored events.

His fish pond was the hit of the show and had all of WNED-TV talking about what a great activity it was.

I can’t wait until next year…

Click on logo to learn more about EDUCATIONAL Outdoor Programs in Erie County, New York.

About the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen (ECFS): The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Inc. is an all-volunteer, charitable, non-profit organization that is dedicated to the promotion of fish and wildlife conservation, education of outdoor participants and related outdoor recreation. This promotion is accomplished in several ways. We conduct or sponsor a variety of educational opportunities for young and old. Including, but not limited to: • Sponsoring youths to conservation education camps.• Scholarships for conservation related education.• Instructor Workshops • Sponsoring Outdoors Woman program candidates.  We also sponsor many community service programs that include: • Hunters Helping the Hungry • Family Fishing Clinics • National Hunting & Fishing Day hands-on event for youth.  ECFS programs Grow with the Community: We are actively involved with the community – acting as liaisons to state and local government agencies that affect New York State conservation laws and activities; attempting to improve the hunting and angling conditions for the sportsman – promoting the multiple use of our lands, forests and waters for recreational purposes for all the people.  We sponsor legislation, participate in fish stocking in Lake Erie and tributaries, inland lakes and streams of Erie County. We assist the Conservation Department in pheasant stocking – and we are involved in the 4H pheasant stocking program.  Visit us and keep track of our outdoor educational event programming throughout the entire year: www.eriectyfsc.org/

 

 

NYSDEC Eastern Lake Erie Fishing Report – June 10, 2017

Lake Erie and Harbors

Fishing from a very windy Sunset Bay in Irving, NY, retired Charter Captain Bob Rustowicz and teammates, caught a few walleye from Day 1 of the Southtowns walleye Association Tournament in Lake Erie.

The night bite along the nearshore reefs has fallen off. Most walleye anglers are now targeting daylight hours and catches have been slowly improving in 40-60 feet of water near major spawning areas. Productive methods include trolling with worm harnesses or stickbaits just off the bottom, or by slow trolling (1 mph or less) with a bottom bouncing rig and worm harness. Working deeper edges off the walleye spawning structures is also worth a try. Some walleye anglers are still doing well at night off the Buffalo Harbor’s outer breakwalls out to 30 feet of water, with a few catches inside the harbor as well. There have been some decent yellow perch catches recently out of Cattaraugus Creek starting in 60 feet of water. Anglers fishing in around 50 feet of water report plenty of nuisance goby. Live emerald shiners fished near the bottom work best for perch.

Smallmouth bass are still available in and around Lake Erie harbors and their breakwalls. Early this week, Dunkirk Harbor anglers were catching between 15-35 smallmouth per outing. On Lake Erie, depths of 20-30 feet of water over rocky shoals has recently been productive. Good spots to try include Myers Reef, Seneca Shoal, Evans Bar and Van Buren Reef. Many smaller reefs, rock piles and humps will hold bass as well. Tube jigs, jigs with twister tails, deep diving stickbaits, live minnows and crayfish are good bass baits. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Some smallmouth bass are still available in the Lake Erie tributaries. However, with low and warming waters in the small to medium streams, the bite is fading. Best chances for bass is in the lower end of Cattaraugus Creek.

Upper Niagara River

Smallmouth bass catches are on the rise around Grand Island. Bass fishing is by catch and release only, artificial lures only in the Niagara River north of the Peace Bridge, until the regular season opens on third Saturday in June.

Chautauqua Lake

Musky fishing along weedlines has been productive since the season opened. Good techniques include trolling large stickbaits along weed edges or casting stickbaits over weed beds and retrieving towards open water. There has been some decent walleye fishing during daylight hours. One group caught a bunch of keepers in 15-18 feet of water by drifting with bottom bouncing rig and worm harness and by trolling (1.3 mph) with harnesses or deep diving stickbaits. See the Fishing for Walleye page for more information. Yellow perch and sunfish seem to biting well lake-wide inside of 10 feet of water. Perch catches are also good in deeper areas.

Inland Trout Streams

Trout streams throughout the region are in great shape with moderate flows. Warming water temps also have more bug and fish feeding activity at the surface. Sub-surface nymphs are good bets early in the day, while dry flies can be productive in the afternoon. Look for hatches of March browns, sulphurs, caddis flies and stone flies on the streams that have them. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. Western New York anglers have a variety of Wild Trout Streams and Stocked Trout Streams to choose from. In addition, Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for many of the region’s best trout streams. Check out the Fishing For Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, equipment and fishing techniques.

Spring Trout Stocking

All of Region 9’s trout stocking waters have been stocked with all of designated stocking increments. For County lists of stocked waters check the Spring Trout Stocking 2017 page. Hatchery staff stocked some surplus two-year-old brown trout in the following waters between May 23rd and 26th: Genesee River – 400 brown trout from Wellsville to PA border; Cattaraugus Creek – 400 brown trout in Erie and Wyoming Counties; Cohocton River – 275 brown trout; Oatka Creek – 275 brown trout.

Genesee River Angler Diary Program

DEC Region 9 Fisheries Unit will be running an angler diary program for the Genesee River during 2017, and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. The diarist program aims to record data for trout and bass fishing trips on the Genesee River from the Pennsylvania line downstream through Letchworth State Park from March 1st through October 31st, 2017.

If you fish the Genesee River (even once) and would like to contribute your observations by keeping a diary, please call DEC Fisheries at (716) 379-6372 or email fwfish9@dec.ny.gov.

More Information:

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; michael.todd@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.