Those Goofy Golf Balls!

  • The WORLDWIDE BAN-THE-DRINKING-STRAW movement started with a single turtle’s straw-clogged nostril video…WHAT ABOUT GOLF BALLS?

By Mike Schoonveld

I confess to being a recovering golfer. I think I’m fully recovered since my urges to hit the links are now exceedingly infrequent. I haven’t owned a set of clubs since I got out of high school and hand-me-downed my hodge-podge collection of Wilsons, MacGregors and Spaldings to my younger brother.

I did play a few rounds of golf in college and after graduation with borrowed clubs, but as I matured, my recreational pursuits moved to more fishing and hunting, and less to “chasing the little round ball.”  Little did I know I was saving the Earth by jonesing on golf.

I was never a threat to Tiger Woods (back then, it was Arnold Palmer), so when I was golfing and encountered a water hazard, I frequently took full use of it. I’ve plunked my share of balls into the ponds, rivers, or lakes guarding the fairways where I played. So do most other golfers.

A recent Internet post puts the number of golf balls littering America’s water-bottoms at 300 million. I don’t know if that’s a total number or that many accumulate each year, but like many Internet statistics, it’s likely a just-plain-guess either way. Either way, that’s a lot of golf balls. Put them all together, and they would fill Yankee Stadium (actually, I just made that up, but feel free to repeat it as fact).

No wonder golf balls have gained the attention of environmental worriers. A stadium full of golf balls can’t be environmentally safe.

But why I wondered? My first thought was perhaps riparian creatures like otters, muskrats, or water snakes were mistaking golf balls for eggs and eating them. Wrong! 

Researchers seeking facts about the aftermath of lost golf balls aren’t much worried about snapping turtles in golf course ponds mistaking them for food, at least so far. However, if the lost-ball scientists could document just one turtle with a golf ball clogged system, it would be revolutionary. After all, the worldwide ban-the-drinking-straw movement started with a single turtle’s straw-clogged nostril video.

If only some cute (or turtle-ugly creature) would turn up with golf-ball-it is, both the golf ball industry as well as the “collect money to save the Earth” industry would benefit greatly.  Golf ball makers could produce and market a variety of water-hazard friendly balls. Politicians and government regulators could make up rules and policies dictating all sorts of golf ball decrees. Tiger Woods and other pros could endorse environmentally sensitive balls. Environmental activists would have more reasons to picket golf courses, especially those frequented by unfriendly politicians.

Alas, it’s not whole golf balls causing the environmental degradation, it’s the conversion of golf balls into microplastic particles now consuming researchers’ dreams. Nothing lasts forever, even a golf ball in a lake. Eventually, the same forces of nature which formed the Grand Canyon and over time, turned the mighty Scottish Mountains into the not so mighty Scottish Highlands (birthplace of golfing) will grind a golf ball into little more than golf-ball dust, and then what?

According to researchers for the DGA (Danish Golf Association), golf ball dust has been found to contain “dangerous levels of zinc” and then opined that zinc could poison plants. Maybe so in Denmark. I’ve heard the phrase, “Something is rotten in Denmark” – maybe it’s rotting golf balls. Here in the USA, zinc is recognized as an essential plant micronutrient and regularly applied to the soil by gardeners and farmers. If you are Danish or plan to golf on your next trip to Scandinavia, look for zinc-free golf balls.

I’m happy problem seekers have little more about which to worry than golf ball pollution around America’s lakes, rivers and golf course ponds into which errant hooks or slices could result in excess zinc, clogged raccoons or other golf ball pollution. If that’s the worst thing being plopped into our water resources, America is in pretty good shape. At least until a turtle shows up on YouTube with a Titleist wedged in its throat. 

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report for August 16, 2017 – Presented by Destination Niagara USA

Lake Ontario Fishing Derbies Start this Weekend

Get ready to Rumble – Lake Ontario fishing style! This weekend, there will be three different fishing derbies going on, as well as a ladies tournament.

Jim Gasewski of Ohio hoists of a tasty salmon caught fishing aboard the Hawg with Capt. Jim Gordon.

The Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby kicks off on August 18 and runs through Labor Day. There is a $25,000 is the Grand Prize for the largest Salmon. Check www.loc.org for details.
The Second Annual Reelin’ for a Cure will also begin on August 18 out of Wilson and Olcott from 6 a.m. to noon. This all-ladies event will be raising funds for the Breast Cancer Network of WNY. It looks like right around 20 teams for this year. It’s a fun time for sure. Contact Stephanie Pierleoni at 716-481-6388 for more information or go on the event’s Facebook page.
The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby is set for August 19th to the 27th. This contest includes six species categories for the adults and a Grand Prize of $3,000. For the kids, it’s free to enter with loads of merchandise prizes and trophies. Sign up at any of the LOC weigh stations or at www.fishodyssey.net. This is for Niagara, Orleans and Erie counties. Many thanks to Jim and Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott who do a lion’s share of the work behind the scenes, such as the website and the leaderboard. This is a great way to get the whole family out to enjoy the waters of Western New York.

Ricky Deubel of Cleveland, Ohio, reeled in this 31 pound king salmon while fishing with Mark Lewandowski of Buffalo.

The Orleans County Rotary Derby is still going on and that contest will end on Sunday, August 20.
Now to the fishing. The water has been messed up a bit in the lake due to some unfavorable winds. The most stable water has been out deep. Hawg Charters and Capt. Jim Gordon headed out of Olcott this week and fished the 29 line one day and did well on kings, Coho’s and steelhead. All his action was on spoons in the top 60 feet of water. He repeated the performance the next day on the 27 line heading north, but the action was mostly 80 to 90 feet down. Capt. Mark Vilardo used spin doctors and flies to catch some nice kings in the 300 to 350 foot depth range, 80 to 90 feet down. Mark Lewandowski of Buffalo was fishing in 120 feet of water and took a 31 pound king so the mature fish are slowly starting to make their way closer to home. The Niagara Bar has been a here today – gone tomorrow scenario, and them back again, depending on what is happening with the wind and weather.

Capt. Jim Gordon holds up a trophy steelhead.

In the Lower Niagara River, bass and walleye have both been biting.  Capt. Jake Joseph with Jiggin’ Jake’s Charters has been doing well on walleye along drifts like Stella Niagara and around the green buoy marker.  Bass have also been cooperative with shiners and crabs.  Reports of the first salmon are normally seen by the third week in August and there were some rumors that some were seen this past week.  However the main run isn’t for another month. It should be a good one!
Upper Niagara River bass and walleye action remains consistent and the Erie Canal is still offering up some fish – pike and bass. Kayakers working Wilson Harbor have been catching some pike and bass. Spinnerbaits are good to toss around the weed edges.

Destination Niagara USA Fishing Report for August 10, 2017

Lake Ontario – The hottest action out deep has been for steelhead off Wilson and Olcott.  Boats have been heading out to 400-500 feet of water for salmon and trout, but most of the fish have been nice steelhead taken on spoons.

Flasher-fly will work for trout but if there are kings and coho’s around, those seem to be the best baits to use. The DW 42nd spoon keeps popping up for one popular bait; for spinnies, white on white, white 2 face, and chrome green dot flashers with stud fly, purple or lime mirage fly have worked best, but other colors are working, too.

A few salmon have started to make it in closer to shore, but the best and most consistent fishing has been out deep.

The Niagara Bar is producing some nice fish, as well.

John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda was out last weekend and did well with flasher-fly 90 feet down over 100 feet of water right at the drop off.  He caught a dozen nice kings to 25 pounds.

Out of Wilson, Capt. Mike Johannes has been reporting fish about 8 miles out, but fish are also available in the 100 to 200 foot depth range.  Spoons and flasher-fly, what’s been working elsewhere, has been the hot bite.  Meat will also work for kings as we move closer to the time when salmon will be making their way in to the ports they were stocked at.

The Orleans County Rotary Derby has been plugging along slowly the past week. Mike Schaeffer of Sligo, Pa., is leading the grand prize quest with a 28 pound, 6 ounce salmon out of the Oak.  In the Salmon Division, Chase Lamb of Burt is in first place with an Olcott king that weighed 23 pounds, 15 ounces.  The contest runs through August 20th, which helps set up for one of the busiest weekends of the year as far as the fishing scene is concerned.

The Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby kicks off on August 18 and runs through Labor Day.  Also on August 18, the Second Annual Reelin’ for a Cure will be held out of Wilson and Olcott from 6 a.m. to noon.  This all-ladies event will be raising funds for the Breast Cancer Network of WNY.  Last year there were 12 teams.  This year it looks like it has more than doubled!  They need boats – charter boats and rec boats – to make it all happen.  It’s a fun time for sure. Contact Stephanie Pierleoni at 481-6388 for more information or go on the event’s Facebook page.

The final contest that starts up next weekend is the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, set for August 19th to the 27th. Six species categories for the adults and a Grand Prize of $3,000.  For the kids, it’s free to enter with loads of merchandise prizes and trophies.  Sign up at any of the LOC weigh stations or at www.fishodyssey.net.  This is for Niagara, Orleans and Erie counties. Many thanks to Jim and Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott, who do a lion’s share of the work behind the scenes, such as the website and the leaderboard.  This is a great way to get the whole family out to enjoy the waters of Western New York.

Niagara River action, both above and below Niagara Falls, has been dominated by bass, but the walleye fishing can be pretty good, too.  Bass are liking crayfish and shiners, in that order.

Walleye are liking worm harnesses and other spinner-worm combinations.  Yellow sally rigs are a local favorite in the lower river.

  Captain Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston also hit the top walleye on the same drift, using the same bait as Fox – a softshell crab.

Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director

Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303; p: 1-877 FALLS US; 716-282-8992 x. 303; f: 716-285-0809; www.niagarafallsusa.comfacebook | twitter | instagram

Destination Niagara USA Fishing Forecast

  • For Wed. July 12, 2017
  • Salmon, Trout, Bass, Walleye, Musky…WOW!
Kristy Cox from New Vienna, Ohio, with her very nice King Salmon caught near Wilson Harbor, Niagara County, New York.

Water levels are continuing to come down in Lake Ontario to the delight of boaters and landowners. However, even the high water levels have not had any negative effects on fishing in the lake.
Salmon fishing continues to be very good out on the Niagara Bar, as well as out of Wilson and Olcott. Salmon action just outside the drop-off on the Bar continues to be excellent. Spin doctors and flies are near the top of the list for preferred baits; a flasher and meat rig with cut bait is another. Some fish are being caught on spoons, too, but they seem to be third on the list. The new A-Tom-Mik stud fly has been mentioned quite a bit by trollers in the lake. Niagara Falls USA waters are still at the top of the Lake Ontario stage for the Summer LOC Derby that is going on through July 30. Leading grand prize salmon is still a 27 pound fish caught by Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, he caught that one out of Wilson, The first place salmon is another Wilson

Mike Rzucidlo with a nice Steelhead that he caught in the Lower Niagara River on July 5.

fish, a 26 pound, 10 ounce king weighed in by Charles Jaenecke of North Tonawanda. Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda is back at the top of the lake trout leaderboard with a 23 pound – 13 ounce Niagara Bar fish, and Darryl Raate of Fulton is in first place in the steelhead division with a 13 pound trout he caught while fishing out of Wilson. Top brown trout is a 16 pound, 2 ounce fish weighed in by Joey Guernsey of McGraw while fishing out of Fair Haven.

Jerry Howe of Grand Island, New York, caught this 30 lb musky in the Niagara River.

Lower Niagara River action has been good and the moss has not been as much of a factor as in previous years for some reason. Shoreline casting with 2-inch pearl tubes was working for Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls this week, catching double digit bass and even a 9 pound steelhead. Boaters are still doing well on bass by casting the shoreline with spinnerbaits or working shiners or crayfish off three-way rigs. On July 17, the Devil’s Hole State Park stairs and trail will be shut down until the spring of 2018 for reconstruction and repairs. There are still plenty of other access points to get you into the gorge, but this trail is one of the more popular ones. Alternative access can be gained through the New York Power Authority’s South Access Road where a fishing platform and a stairs to the shoreline is available from Apr. 1 to Dec. 1. Other access points include the stairs at Whirlpool State Park; the Suspension Bridge Stairs (under the Whirlpool Bridge); the Great Gorge Railway Trail (that begins at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center); and the elevator at the Schoellkopf Site (adjacent to the Discovery Center). A copy of the Niagara Gorge Trail Map is available at: http://www.nysparks.com/parks/attachments/WhirlpoolNiagaraGorgeTrailMap.pdf
There are lots of fishing contests going on. The 27th Annual Erie Canal Derby is going on through Sunday, July 16th. Some pretty impressive catches have already come to the scales that will be tough to beat. For example, Michael Boncore of Buffalo is leading the carp category with a 28.02 pound fish; Todd Wells of Medina leads the sheepshead category with an 11.39 pounder; and Charles Rizzo of North Tonawanda has the leading catfish with a 14 pounder. The new walleye leader is Albert Whaley of Tonawanda with a 5.19 pound fish.
Upper Niagara River action continues to be good for bass, walleye and the occasional musky. A spinner and a worm produced all three this week for Capt. Chris Cinelli. The musky was about 46 inches long, probably in the mid-30 pound range as far as weight. It was caught by Jerry Howe of Grand Island and released.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA, 14303
p: 1.877 FALLS US | 716.282.8992 x.303 | f:716.285.0809
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