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Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo returns to Conference & Event Center

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Fri, Jan 15th 2016 07:00 am

WNY's largest fishing event runs Friday, Jan. 22-Sunday, Jan. 24 in downtown Niagara Falls

The third annual Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo is set for Jan. 22-24 at The Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls St. The event focuses on fishing and outdoor education and features the Western New York Fishing Academy, a series of more than 120 seminars given by regional experts in their fields.

"This is truly a hardcore fishing show, where attendees will want to return for all three days of programming," said Bill Hilts, outdoor promotions director with the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp., who is helping promote the event. "The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls is a great facility that provides a unique blend of a spacious exhibitor space as well a multitude of conference rooms all utilizing state-of-the-art technology to help provide the most education of any fishing show in the Great Lakes."

"The quality and quantity of our seminars and speakers is what differentiates this show from the others," said Melissa Gearhart, expo manager and sales director at The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls, who promises a bigger and better event this year. "Although this is a relatively new expo, we have received rave reviews from our guests over the years."

The Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo team designed the show to cater to those who desire to learn more about fishing, from novices who are just starting out on the water, to the most experienced anglers. Organizers said this "passing on" of fishing knowledge is critical to sustain the future of fishing for generations to come.

The WNY Fishing Academy is sponsored by Traxstech Corp. Its seminars are available for free with paid admission to the expo. Seminars typically last about an hour and are held concurrently in 12 different seminar rooms. These seminars are given by well-known local and regional experts knowledgeable in fishing local waterways. The curriculum includes the following:

  • Lake Ontario trout and salmon
  • Lake Erie walleye
  • Lake Ontario and Erie tributary trout
  • Erie, Ontario and inland lakes bass
  • Lake Erie perch
  • Niagara River musky
  • Ice fishing
  • Kayak fishing
  • Marine electronics and boat rigging
  • Fly fishing

In addition to the WNY Fishing Academy, the following major fishing events will be offered:

•Super Walleye Clinic for the Fishermen - Ultimate Walleye Clinic: Mark and Jake Romanack, hosts of the hit television series "Fishing 411," will conduct an intensive, two-hour seminar aimed at helping anglers to be more successful at targeting walleye on Lake Erie. Some of the topics of interest sure to be covered in this seminar include crankbait trolling, using planer boards, fishing diving planers, using downriggers, snap weight trolling, techniques for drifting and trolling live bait.

This special, hands-on multimedia workshop on advanced walleye techniques will cover every new angle for fishermen who want to climb to the next level of catching walleyes and uses video clips and graphics from the hit World Fishing Network series that helps visitors better understand and master both traditional and modern walleye fishing methods.

"It would be hard to find two anglers with more collective walleye fishing experience," Hilts said. "These men are ardent trollers, who have spent countless hours fishing the open waters of Lake Erie for trophy walleyes."

Attendees receive free admission to this clinic by registering at the "Fishing 411" booth. Those registering for the clinic on Friday and Saturday of the expo will be given re-admission passes to enter the expo on Sunday for the clinic (donations will be accepted and donated to the Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club). Visitors to the Super Walleye Clinic will also have an opportunity to win door prizes provided by Mark and Jake's sponsors.

•Ice Fishing Jam - This series of ice fishing seminars and causal hands-on instruction will be conducted in the ice fishing area featuring Dave Genz, aka "The Godfather of Ice Fishing." Genz and a team of ice team professionals will share their love for the sport and their "how to" with all attendees who stop by their booths or attend their seminars. They will focus on Western and Central New York, as well as the Province of Ontario waters (including Lake Simcoe). Their indoor expo booth provides a genuine ice fishing experiences for novice and experienced guests.

•Ultimate Marine Electronics Clinic - Join Capt. Lance Valentine of Teachinfishin.com for an in-depth clinic designed to help anglers catch more fish by fully utilizing the features and functions available on their sonar and GPS units.

As the sophistication of these units continue to increase and the prices continue to drop, most serious anglers have both sonar and GPS units on their boat. However, angler education on how to most effectively use them has basically occurred through word of mouth and trial and error.

This two-hour class, offered for the first time in Western New York, is targeted to fill this education void and teach anglers how to make their units the most valuable tool on their fishing boat. Topics covered include the setup to maximize the useful "fishing" information these units provide along with sonar interpretation and advanced GPS usage/waypoint management.

Even though Lance is an expert in lowrance HDS units and will provide many specific tips and techniques for them, the clinic is taught so that it is relevant for all anglers no matter what brand units they own or type of fish they fish for. The clinic will be offered on Friday afternoon only for a price of $25 and is limited to the first 50 anglers who sign up. The class size is kept small so that everyone has a chance to actively participate in the class.

•LOTSA Salmon School - On Saturday Jan. 23, the Lake Ontario Trout & Salmon Association is once again hosting its Salmon School. This successful school, in its ninth year, boasts six hours of instruction taught by three expert charter captains: Pete Alex (Vision Quest-Port of Wilson), Pete Lahosky (Prime Time-Port of Oswego) and George Freeman (Free Style Charters-Port of Ludington, Michigan). These three captains have successful charter businesses along with a proven tournament track record of high placement over many years. They are a much-diversified set of instructors and will provide a class full of insights and details no one single instructor would be able to provide.

"They are all skilled educators with significant experience giving seminars over the years," said Joe Yeager, LOTSA president and member of the expo promotional team. "Each brings their own unique set of skills and knowledge to the class. Given the depth of the knowledge base of these instructors and their proven ability to educate anglers, we expect this school to be the most comprehensive, in-depth, information-packed event ever presented at the LOTSA Salmon School."

Yeager explains this custom class is not meant for novices to the Lake Ontario fishery. It is a "hardcore" salmon class targeted toward providing the "experienced weekend warrior" with additional insights and details to improve their catch in the limited time they have on the water.

"In a year of challenging fishing like we just experienced, this knowledge is often the difference between having a couple of bites or having steady bites throughout the day," Yeager said.

Admittance to the Salmon School is pre-paid only with a deadline of Jan. 19 (or as soon as it's sold out).

  • Hunting - Since most fishermen also enjoy the hunting, there are a number of "top-flight" seminars to cover this area, including well-known speakers such as:
  • Charlie Alsheimer - "Strategies for Whitetails," normally a three-hour Alsheimer specialty, will be divided into two segments. Parts one and two will cover the timing of the rut; whitetail behavior during the rut (seeking, chasing and breeding combined with strategies for each phase); scrape hunting and how to build mock scrapes; smart scouting tips and killer calling strategies; stand locations; hunting with decoys; as well as antler potential (what it takes) and antler development.
  • Gerry Rightmyer and Steve Schicker - co-hosts of "Forever Wild Outdoors Adrenaline Adventures" on the Sportsman Channel are a welcomed addition this year, offering seminars and talks at their hunting booth.
  • Craig Robbins and Oakridge Outdoors - Robbins and his team of professional staffers will be talking turkey, goose and deer at their exhibitor booth and on stage to share their outdoor knowledge to showgoers. Robbins and company manufactures game calls and hosts a TV show that appears on Wilderness Outdoors TV.

In addition to hunting seminars, other major outdoor seminars include:

  • Kayaking - With a booming interest in Kayaking in Western New York, this seminar will focus on choosing a boat, the best areas to kayak and kayak safety on the water.
  • Outdoor Nature Photography - Alsheimer shares his insights from more than 40 years of nature photography and reveals the techniques that have made him an award-winning photographer. This seminar addresses all aspects of nature photography - everything from camera equipment, to composition, to how to master different lighting conditions.

Other attractions include:

  • Lowrance Electronics Pro-Staffer Lance Valentine will give expert instruction on the use of marine electronics. And if you actually own a Lowrance HDS Unit, bring it to the show and receive a free update from Valentine at his booth.
  • Float Your Boat - The expo is a great way to do your homework as far as finding a new boat for 2016. Two boat dealers (Brobeil Marine from Buffalo and Anchor Marine from Grand Island) will be there to show off the best fishing boats for fishing the local waterways, and answer questions for attendees on rigging or purchasing a boat.
  • Free Line Winding - Blood Run Tackle will offer free line winding services again in 2016. Bring your center pin, spinning reel, salmon or walleye trolling reels down to the show. Purchase discounted show pricing main line, backing and leader and Blood Run Tackle will wind them for free off a line-winding machine. Free Line stripping included. Featured products include fresh float fishing mainline, bloodline-coated braid, walleye copper, tournament mono and more. New reels will also be sold at the show, so one can buy them and have them filled while one waits.
  • Winning Outdoor Photo Exhibit from the Pros - The Outdoor Writers Association of America will showcase winning photos of the 2014 Excellence in Craft Contests with a travelling exhibit that appears around the country. This is the only appearance in New York.
  • Fish Cleaning and Cooking - Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters will start things off by getting your fish ready for the frying pan. Campbell will go through the process of filleting your fish - from how to prepare your catch for the cleaning table to removing bones and skin if you so desire.

Sponsor of the session, Buck Knives, will offer up free giveaways (knives and hats) promoting its new line of fillet knives.

"The key is a super-sharp knife," said Campbell, who cleans fish nearly every single day. "Buck's new knives are so sharp and durable that they will hold up and keep its edge through several cleanings."

The Conference and Event Center will cook the final product for a treat to be enjoyed by all in attendance.

  • Bring the Kids - In order to introduce future generations of anglers to the sport of fishing, all children age 10 and under who attend the expo with a paying adult will receive free admission (limit of two children per paying adult). Through a variety of kid-friendly activities and events, children can spend all day in the shooting trailer, fishpond, classes and ice fishing activities. There's also feature an animal and bird showcase with childrens shows planned throughout the expo.

Admission to the Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo is $8 per day for adults; a three-day ticket for the entire expo is $16.

Expo hours are 1-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. There are 2,000 parking spots (most of them free) within one block of The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls.

For more information, including all of the details on the seminars, speakers, top attractions, directions and hours, visit www.NiagaraFishingExpo.com or call 716-278-2100.

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