By Spider Rybaak
OSWEGO COUNTY – Have you been dying to go fishing but haven’t taken the plunge because you don’t want to dish out the bucks for a fishing license without trying it first to see if you’ll like it?
Well, this month the state is making it easy to get your feet wet by designating the last couple days as Free Fishing Weekend.
That’s right, come June 29-30, the territorial waters of the Empire State, from the tiniest brooks squirting out of the Adirondack Mountains and large streams like the world-famous Salmon River to the Great Lakes and the deep, blue sea, fishing will be free.
It makes perfect sense.
Acre for acre New York State has more shoreline than some island nations. And the water beyond the banks ranks among the most productive on the planet. In fact, anglers come from all over the world to sample our incredible salmonid (Lake Ontario holds the world record coho salmon, a fish native to the Pacific Ocean) and warmwater fisheries.
So it’s wise for the powers-that-be to give folks free samples of our world class angling in hopes of hooking them on a healthy and wholesome activity they can indulge in for the rest of their lives; lives that will exceed average duration, if you believe the old Indian claim that the Great Spirit doesn’t deduct from a lifetime the hours spent fishing.
However, all areas of the state aren’t created equal.
While it’s true you’ll find a fishing hotspot in every region, none comes close to matching the incredible diversity of opportunities found in Oswego County, a magical spot sitting smack in the middle of the most incredible fishing found this side of the Rockies.
But exceptional trophy opportunities and longevity aren’t the only benefits of angling in Oswego County.
With all that water come countless other features like fresh air, loads of sunshine and scenery ranging from Oswego’s city-scapes with a river running through ‘em to the remote islands of Redfield Reservoir and the forested naves crowning creeks like Scriba, on the north shore of Oneida Lake.
Best of all, Oswego County’s fishing spots are easily accessible and loaded with public access, some with boat launches.
Here is a list of the most popular shore fishing sites:
Phoenix: Bank fishing access and boat launch on Culvert Street;
Fulton: Handicapped accessible shore fishing access and boat launch on NY 481, north end of town;
Oswego: Shore fishing access in the fenced linear parks hugging the river on Canal View Drive (east bank) and West First Street.
Brewerton: Bank fishing at the municipal dock on North River Drive (off CR 37), and at the handicapped accessible fishing platform on CR 37, below the I-81 bridge;
Caughdenoy: Bank fishing above and below the dam on CR 12.
West Monroe: Bank fishing at the end of Toad Harbor Road (off NY 49) and surf fishing at Phillips Point, at the end of McCloud Road (off Toad Harbor Road);
Cleveland: Bank fishing, Cleveland Docks Public Fishing Access Site, NY 49.
Fulton, at the park on NY 3.
Texas: Pier fishing at the mouth of the Little Salmon River, Mexico Point State Park, Mexico Point Drive (off NY 104B) and on the other side of the river at the Mexico Point Boat Launch, Pond Drive (CR 40 off NY 104B);
Port Ontario: Pier fishing at Selkirk Shores State Park, NY 3.
· Numerous public access sites punctuate the river on both banks.
· North and South Reservoirs: Several public access sites line both reservoirs.
For visitor information, maps and detailed information on these and numerous other fishing hot spots, check out: www.visitoswegocounty.com or call Oswego County Tourism (1-800-248-4386) and request a copy of its “Fishing and Hunting Guide.”
With Free Fishing Weekend just around the corner, there’s no reason to put off angling any longer.
Considering June’s still prime fishing time, grab those around you and head for a fishing hole.
And while there’s no guarantee you’ll catch something, you’re sure to create some fond moments to etch into your fondest memories.
Spider Rybaak is an award-winning outdoor writer who has been published in more than 20 periodicals. He is the author of “Fishing Eastern New York” and “Fishing Western New York” guide books that cover 429 streams and lakes in New York State. Contact him at [email protected] Check out his blog at http://fishingandhuntinginoswego.blogspot.com/