Multi-faceted extravaganza to feature exhibitors, seminars and more
Expo a family affair
By Terry Duffy
Just days into a new year and decade, thoughts of area fishers and outdoors aficionados are already turning to warmer weather. We have to admit that winter 2019-20 is already getting on our nerves; the holidays are thankfully over and the Bills short run at the playoffs is now history.
For locals, particularly those of the fishing/outdoors community, the better times on area waterways cannot come soon enough. So, news of the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo certainly has to be seen as a godsend.
Now in its seventh year, the Expo opens Friday, Jan. 17, and continues through Sunday, Jan. 19 at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls. Show organizers report this year’s event will feature more than 170 booths of vendors – boasting a plethora of well-known names and leading companies in the fishing industry.
A press release explained, “This is the largest freshwater fishing show in New York state and among the largest fishing shows anywhere in the Great Lakes. From bass and walleye to salmon and trout; from perch to piers, stream casters to trolling nuts; from fly fishing to ice fishing; from marine electronics to boat rigging; from fishing boats to kayak fishing – there is a little bit of everything for every type of angler and level of expertise.”
And what of the exhibitors?
This multifaceted fishing extravaganza will see many of the well-known fishing manufacturers, local and regional fishing retailers, local fishing guides and outfitters, top fishing boat dealers, kayak fishing watercraft, marine electronics, local fishing clubs in attendance. This includes 365 Sport Fishing, Anchor Marine, Captain Bobs Outdoors, Chinook Products, Collins Marine, Coleville Outfitters, the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, Lake Erie Federation of Fly Fishers, Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Derbies, Lake Ontario Sport Fishing, LOTSA, the Niagara Region Charter Service, the Niagara County Pro-Am, Tournament, NY Kayak Bass Fishing, Southtowns Walleye, Ultimate Outdoors WNY, WNY Bassmasters, WNY Chapter and Trout Unlimited.
There’s also a host of industry reps expected, including Amish Outfitters, A-Tom-Mik Manufacturing, Bow and Stern Marine, Cabela's, Cisco Fishing Systems, Favorite Rods USA, Garmin, Lorance Electronics, Okuma Fishing Tackle, Sonny’s Fishing Products, Torpedo Fishing Products, Warrior Lures and Wolverine Tackle.
That’s not all. Visitor favorites from past shows will be on hand, as well. Included: Mark and Jake Romanack with Fishing 411 TV; electronics whiz kid Lance Valentine with “Teachin’ Fishin’ and Walleye 101”; outdoors writer Matt Straw with In-fisherman; and Great Lakes angler Hawg Trough.
Another favorite to check out is the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This year, DEC will offer informational programs detailing the status of lakes Erie and Ontario, as well as a full-fledged open house, with DEC fisheries managers, biologists and law enforcement personnel expected. Visitors will find informational tables on lakes Erie and Ontario, the Great Lakes tributaries, the Finger Lakes, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery, DEC law enforcement and women in fishing programs.
There will be educational programs on fly fishing, including a Beginning Fly Fishing School; a program on advanced techniques by fly fishing guru Rick Kustich; and visiting speakers Scott Feltrinelli, Nate Carr, Nick Sagnibene and Adam Slainski. Also look for reps from local fishing clubs who exhibit and present programs.
Walleye fans will find more than 60 seminars to choose from, while trout and salmon anglers will have their pick of more than 35 different seminars to attend.
“Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a newcomer looking to get started, there is enough education to chose from to keep you coming back for more,” the press release noted.
A family-friendly event, the Expo also offers programs for children and young adults. On Saturday and Sunday, a robust kids fishing curriculum will be offered by expert instructors, with the focus on teaching the kids and their parents the skills they need to enjoy the fishing experience. Programs will also be targeted specifically for high school and college students, those seen by the industry as the largest growing demographic. Included will be a combination of classroom and hands-on sessions throughout the show.
Sounds like a great weekend outdoors experience for the whole family.
Admission to the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is $10 per day for adults, or $20 for a three-day pass. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free of charge.
For more information on the Expo, visit www.niagarafishingexpo.com or call the Conference & Event Center at 716-278-1000.