Olcott Beach is the Ultimate Fishing Town
June 07, 2012 at 9:29 AM
On a day when the community was buzzing with a long list of fishing-related events, the hamlet of Olcott Beach earned the title of 2012 Ultimate Fishing Town through a contest conducted by the World Fishing Network. As of 6pm on May 31, Olcott Beach held a vote total of over 135,000 votes. It was a hard fought battle with the Town of Waddington, located on the St. Lawrence River in St. Lawrence County – last year’s runner-up in the 2011 contest that was eventually won by Roscoe in the Catskills, another New York town. Waddington’s final tally was over 79,000 votes.
“This experience has shown me once again what a small town can do when they are motivated,” said Gina Guido-Redden who spearheaded the overall effort to organize and implement the town’s voting strategy. “People from Olcott Beach and the Town of Newfane are a rare breed. It has been the most energetic and well-supported activity I have ever seen! There was no where you could go in the last 30 days where people were not planning, discussing and supporting this effort. I have always been proud of where I come from, but today, I can honestly say, I have never been prouder.”
Somewhere early on in the voting process, when Olcott Beach was a distant second place, the Ultimate Fishing Town team reached out to another town across the border – Hastings, Ontario. They, too, were in second place in the Canadian version of the contest. As the towns strategized on how they could incorporate bonus votes by adding videos, using social media and recording comments on various walls, they slowly started to gain momentum. It was on May 17 when Olcott Beach took over the lead in the U.S. contest and they never looked back. Hastings enjoyed the same kind of success, winning the Canadian version of the contest, and solidifying a friendship that will live on through the ages as they made history together.
Yes, Olcott Beach and the Town of Newfane made history. They gave an awesome lesson on how a community can work together to make something happen. Tim Horanburg, the engaged Town Supervisor who was leading the charge as the town cheerleader, insisted that they could do this. Olcott Beach could win this national contest … but not without a little help from their friends.
While Olcott Beach will receive the recognition, this is definitely a vote for Niagara USA, a vote for Western New York and a vote for New York State. Being able to lay claim to the 2012 Ultimate Fishing Town title is prestigious in and of itself. And while the work was intense the past month to win the competition, to take full advantage of this designation we need to realize that our work is just beginning. We need to start shouting from the roof tops, incorporating the tag line into every piece of printed or electronic material that we produce.
It’s hard to believe that a simple email between Legislator John Syracuse and IDA and County Economic Development Commissioner Sam Ferraro asking to look into the Ultimate Fishing Town contest could turn into something like this. Like the New York Lottery slogan states: You have to be in it to win it! We were in it … and we won – against some pretty heavy competition by the way.
A check for $25,000 will be coming the town’s way soon, money which must be used for some type of fishing resource enhancement project. It would be smart to try and use the money as leverage to reach out for other grant opportunities. And with the eyes of the fishing world on Olcott Beach, it would also be wise to come up with some pretty impressive projects or programs to spend money on – to showcase the fishery, the community and the pride that everyone has in our area.
In addition to the cash, WFN will be featuring a television show on Olcott Beach, another great part of the prize. Really, the grand prize is the Ultimate Fishing Town handle. Roscoe figures that the economic impact of winning the 2011 ultimate fishing town contest generated in excess of $10 million in economic impact. Like with anything, though, you reap what you sew. It’s not just going to magically happen overnight. We need to continue to join forces and take this all to the next level.
Hats are off to the Newfane and Olcott Beach community. It was a great run and everyone should be proud of this very special accomplishment. Olcott Beach – 2012 Ultimate Fishing Town; Niagara USA – An Ultimate Fishing County!
Sabres Alumni Enjoy Olcott Fishing
On the day when the Ultimate Fishing Town Contest was ending, the Buffalo Sabres Alumni rolled into town to conduct their sixth annual charity fishing outing. When anglers and sports celebrities arrived in Krull Park at 7am, they were greeted with Tim Horton donuts and coffee, one of the sponsors for the event. All the teams were on the water by 8am, but they faced a challenge from two to three foot waves. Slowly, the wind started to change and by the time the fishing was over with at noon, the waters had started to settle down. It was going to be a beautiful afternoon.
Fishing had turned a little tough a few weeks ago as Lake Ontario moved into its transition phase from spring to summer. Still, nearly every one of the 31 boats commandeered for the event – thanks to the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament being run this weekend out of Wilson and Olcott – caught salmon and trout. Big fish for the fun contest was hauled in by Bradley Previty while fishing aboard the Runnin’ Rebel boat captained by Jerry Felluca of Hilton. His 26 pound salmon earned him a check for $750.
The afternoon ended with a great lunch provided by a local volunteer committee headed up by Dawn Wilson and a main course provided by BBQ Obsessions, a local catering company that provided pulled pork and chicken. A good time was had by all.
Opening Day Bass Contest
The state’s regular bass season opens up on June 16 this year and once again the kick-off contest will be hosted by the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Niagara Falls. Once again, only New York waters apply (the Ontario season isn’t open yet), with the contest based on your best two smallmouth bass. The fishing contest is from sunrise to 4 pm with the scales being open from 3 to 4pm. only. Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston is this year’s weigh master. Of course, a fish fry will follow with all the fixings. If you have any questions, give the restaurant a call at 283-9861. The restaurant, located at 7201 Niagara Falls Blvd., opens at 2pm every day. Stop in and register.
Bill Hilts, Jr., born in Niagara Falls and a Niagara County resident all of his life, is the current Outdoor Sports Specialist for NTCC. A carry over from the county's Sportfishing Promotion Program Coordinator that was initiated back in 1986, Hilts has been active with all the major writing organizations for the outddoors - serving as president of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association an dthe Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. In addition, he has served on the Board of Directors for the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Hilts serves as the current president of the Lake Ontario Sportfishing Promotion Council, an 8-county cross-regional group that unites to promote Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence/Niagara rivers. He lives with his wife Sandy in Lockport.