By Senator Patty Ritchie
With an estimated 1.88 million anglers, fishing is one of New York State’s most popular pastimes. This past weekend, I was able to join many of those fishing fans in St. Lawrence County for the Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament.
This four-day fishing extravaganza, known as the “Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River,” attracted the country’s top anglers and thousands of fishing enthusiasts to Waddington.
Out of the competitors, Idaho native Brandon Palaniuk took home the top prize and earned a spot in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.
Not only was the tournament a lot of fun, it also was an excellent opportunity to expose people from across the country to the world-class fishing opportunities that exist right in our backyard. New York State boasts more than 7,5000 lakes and ponds, as well as 50,000 miles of rivers and streams.
Locally, from the St. Lawrence River and Black Lake to the Salmon River and Lake Ontario, our region is home to some of the best, and most beautiful, lakes, rivers and streams where the fish are biting.
To make it easier for visitors and residents to reel in their next big catch, New York State recently released a newly updated “I Love NY Great Lakes Fishing Brochure.”
This guide shows anglers not only where to fish, but also what to fish for in our region.
If you’d like a copy, visit www.dec.ny.gov to view an online version or request a guide by mail.
Not only is fishing an excellent pastime, it also provides a tremendous boost to our economy.
It’s estimated that New York’s sport fishing industry generates $1.8 billion in economic activity annually and supports nearly 17,000 jobs.
In addition, many anglers travel to get to their favorite fishing destination, and as a result support our state’s tourism industry, which is the fifth largest employer in New York State.
A recent report indicated that last year, spending by tourists generated $92 billion in economic activity.
That’s a 6 percent increase from 2011.
In addition, the tourism industry also supported more than 714,000 jobs with total income of $29 billion.
At the recent Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament, I had the opportunity to talk with a number of anglers and visitors who were all impressed with not only our region’s beauty, but also the friendliness of the people who call Upstate New York “home.”
It is my hope that their first trip won’t be their last and that they’ll be back again to experience all our area has to offer.