Fun times at Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Rendezvous — Ramblin’ Outdoors

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By Jerrod Villa

I spent last weekend in the New York’s High Peaks Region in Wilmington. The Hungry Trout Resort played host to the very first Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) Rendezvous of the New York Chapter.

For those unfamiliar with BHA, the group prides itself in conservation and preservation of public land and water. That is the No. 1 priority of the group.

Its mission statement is a rather simple one, “BHA seeks to ensure North America’s outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife.”

Arriving at the Hungry Trout Resort Friday evening, I checked in, got settled and made my way over to the restaurant for happy hour. I was not really sure what to expect, or who to see present. Upon walking in, I immediately recognized the familiar face of Evan Bottcher, owner of the Hungry Trout Fly Shop, and also Rachel Finn, perhaps one of the most notable female flyfishing guides in all of New York. After shooting the breeze with both of them for a few minutes, Brian Bird, Chairman of the BHA New York Chapter made his way over and introduced himself.

Lots of chewing the fat took place prior to dinner, and it was just an overall welcoming place to be. After dinner, a few presentations were given. One standout presentation was given by Brandon Dale, a BHA board member and a huge advocate of Hunters Of Color. His presentation was inspiring, to say the very least. There will be more on Brandon in a future column.

Day two was filled with fun events, raffles and educational seminars. Ranging from hikes, saddle hunting, turkey hunting, fishing, wild game preparation, cooking, buck tracking, pack load outs, flyfishing casting lessons, etc. The list was extensive, and I am sure I am still missing some events. Day two wrapped up with everyone gathered around a campfire enjoying newfound friendships.

Sunday morning closed with a cleanup of the Ausable River. If you love public land, whether you are a hunter, fishermen, or even just a hiker, BHA has a place for you and I would highly recommend joining the organization.


As the summer changes into fall, the Atlantic Salmon will begin their traditional migration from Lake Champlain venturing up the Saranac and Boquet Rivers. I know quite a few anglers who make the journey north to target these acrobatic chrome fish. If you are an avid landlocked salmon angler, please take note.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that a river creel survey is being conducted in the Plattsburgh/Willsboro area to complement the Lake Champlain Angler Creel survey.

The survey began Sept. 1 and is focused on the Atlantic salmon spawning runs in the Saranac and Boquet rivers. The survey results will provide DEC fisheries biologists with a better understanding of angler use, catch rates, and harvest information, and angler expectations on major tributaries to Lake Champlain used by Atlantic salmon.

Information gathered will be used to develop a bi-annual river creel survey that will monitor the Atlantic salmon fishery and inform management actions on these rivers.

Anglers will be asked to voluntarily participate in the survey by providing information about their day of fishing. Collected data will include catch and harvest information, along with the angler’s satisfaction with the fishery. Participating anglers are also encouraged to provide biological data from fish caught, including length, presence of fin clips and number of sea lamprey wounds.

Survey locations on the Saranac River include the Green Street angler access site and the pool below the Imperial Mills Dam in the city of Plattsburgh. The Boquet River sites include the stretch of river from the town of Willsboro boat launch at Gilliland Park upstream to the fishing pool just below the cascades and the parking areas along this stretch of the river.

A full report is planned to be released in the Spring of 2024.


Thirty-seven boats competed in the Greenbush Tournament Trail on Saratoga Lake last Saturday. Results are as follows:

First-place honors, and a purse of $920, went to Ed Kausmeyer of Covington, Pennsylvania, and Mike Godfrey of Waymart, Pennsylvania, with a combined weight of 17.38 pounds.

Second place and a purse of $520, went to Zach Sharpe and Bob Rings, both of Nassau, with a combined weight of 16.95 pounds.

Third place, and a purse of $440, went to Jim Clyne of Clifton Park and Dan Brinsko of Stillwater with a combined weight of 16.36 pounds.

Fourth place, and a purse of $360, went to Geno Bielawa and Bob Pelletier, both of Ravena, with a combined weight of 14.93 pounds.

Fifth place, and a purse of $320, went to Tom Lauctore and Carl Alexander of West Rutland, Vermont, with a combined weight of 14.81 pounds.

Sixth place, and a purse of $180, went to David Munger and John Jenkins of Saratoga Springs with a combined weight of 14.22 pounds.

The lunker fish prize of $370 for a 5.40-pound fish went to the Sharpe and Rings.

By Leader-Herald

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