The Iroquois called this area the Garden of the Great Spirit. During the Gilded Age it was the playground of the rich. Today you can enjoy a great family vacation or get away weekend easily. Make a point to include the Thousand Islands into your vacation plans and see why the area is so special.
Are you looking for fishing action in a beautiful setting? Do want to try a great new fishing spot or pursue a different species every day? Do you want fishing for the whole family? From the mysterious muskellunge to plentiful panfish, the Thousand Islands region has something for nearly everyone. You can conveniently launch your own boat, find plenty of opportunity for rentals, or take advantage of very reasonably priced guided fishing charters.
In case some of the family does not share your enthusiasm for fishing, there are plenty of other things to keep them busy and happy. Golf, museums, touring Boldt Castle or Singer Castle, nature centers, boat tours, craft stores, swimming, boating, hiking, dining, and much more are available. Excellent wineries, including The Cape Winery, Thousand Islands Winery and Coyote Moon Vineyards, offer great wines and a fun-filled visit.
There are accommodations to suit every taste including campgrounds, cottages, inns, motels, bed & breakfasts, or luxury hotels.
There is dining to suit every taste and style. The Thousand Islands area offers world class recreation with small town convenience and friendliness. For more information contact the Thousand Island International Tourism Council at 800-8-ISLAND or their website www.visit1000islands.com. Be sure to also ask for the “1000 Islands Fishing & Hunting Guide.” It is packed with information including guides, launch sites, and articles on fishing.
It is no secret that Clayton holds a special place in my heart all these years. Contact the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-252-9806 or check their website at www.1000islands-clayton.com. Ask for their Visitors Guide to help you make your plans. It’s only two hours away, but it seems as if you are in another world as you enjoy the scenery, the fishing, and the cuisine. The calendar of events is packed with an amazing variety including boat tours at the Antique boat Museum, Wine and Food Festival, concerts, boat shows, and the
popular Decoy and Wildlife Art Show.
When I was young I eagerly looked forward to our family’s frequent trips to the St. Lawrence River and thought the fishing was fantastic. Later we took our own children there for memorable vacations. Many years have passed since then, but I still feel the same attraction and return each year. Consider that you can catch muskellunge, northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, catfish, and panfish.
Northern pike remain one of the prize sport fish. Changing conditions on the river usually mean that the pike are in deeper water and more widely dispersed than in past years, but when you hook one you will agree that they are worth the effort. Due to poor spawning success in recent years the new
regulations in effect set a creel limit of three pike.
Smallmouth bass are always one of the most exciting fish to catch. The myriad granite structures and river currents provide great habitat. Clearer water means that you will probably use deep water tactics like jigging or live bait for much of the summer, but smallmouths provide great sport no matter what technique you use. The bass fishing deserves a separate column of its own.
Whether it is keeping the kids busy or filling your bucket for a tasty fish fry, panfish are abundant and cooperative. Perch, sunfish, bluegills, and other species are caught with worms, small minnows, crabs, or tiny jigs. Fishing from shore at the many public areas or from a boat along shallow bays will yield lots of
If you don’t have a boat, you are still able to take advantage of the great fishing by hiring a guide. Legendary guides like Al Benas in Clayton and others will use their experience and knowledge of the river to put you into excellent fishing action. Their boats have the latest conveniences, and they will entertain you with their interesting stories of the river, as well as fishing. Contact Al Benas – 1000 Islands Fishing Charters (315-686 2381). Al Benas’s large charter boat can handle big parties in comfort, yet will take you into the small, seemingly inaccessible places to find fish that love such spots. Enjoy a full day of drift fishing or step back into time.
Even if you bring or rent a boat, it is often a good idea to hire a guide for a day when you first get there. Their knowledge of what type of areas to find fish, techniques to use, etc. is invaluable and will help to ensure your fishing success for the rest of your vacation. The St. Lawrence River – Thousand Islands area is a confusing maze of depths, currents, structure, etc. and can be tough to figure out. Invest in their skill and have a great time while doing it.
It is an area rich in tradition, yet modern conveniences and changes are always evident. In addition to the excellent state parks, there are a variety of private campgrounds and seasonal parks that feature the latest conveniences. It is a great experience to dine along the river and enjoy the scenery and action.
If you are new to the area, consider a boat tour. Visit Rock Island Lighthouse, the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center on Wellesley Island, or hike some of the trails of the TI Land Trust. Go fishing, dine with a view of the river, and enjoy some of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see.
Whether it is a week or two vacations or a get-away weekend, the Thousand Islands are a great destination only two hours away. You owe it to yourself to go there this summer.
Bass Season Closed Until June 15 in Eastern Lake Ontario & St. Lawrence:
DEC Reminds Anglers Bass Season (Largemouth & Smallmouth) Closed In Eastern Basin, St. Lawrence River, and Tributaries Including Catch & Release Until June 15. The DEC reminds anglers that the closed season in Jefferson and St. Lawrence waters includes a ban on Catch and Release for bass. They have posted signage alerting the public at numerous boat launch sites in Region 6 counties. This is in response to the controversy over catch and release putting pressure on spawning bass. That removes bass from the nest for a short time but in that short time the nests are vulnerable to the predatory round gobies which rush in and eat the eggs or the fry.
This controversy which pitted mostly local, recreational anglers against tournament anglers and a few guides has increased in recent years. The DEC resisted pressure to allow catch and release and agreed to increased publicity.
However some locals in the Thousand Islands called this a weak response and noted that a lot of out-of-state bass boats have been seen recently. They want more publicity and a presence of ECOs to enforce the ban.
Keesler Scholarships Available
The Janice and Paul Keesler Memorial Scholarship Committee is proud to announce that they are now accepting applications for 2022 scholarship awards.
These awards are available to any NYS resident who has been accepted into an accredited institution of higher learning who has been accepted into a program or is working towards a degree in some facet of wildlife management.
This scholarship fund was established a living memorial for two people who loved New York State and the outdoors. They wrote, lectured about the outdoors, and founded the New York Sportsman magazine which was highly respected and popular. Their lives and influence are greatly missed. To date over $31,000 in grants have been distributed. For information or to apply for the scholarships check the website keeslerscholarshipfund.org or email KeeslerBridget@gmail.com.
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