The WNY waterways comprised of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Niagara River and other inland bodies of water offer some of the best and most diversified fishing found anywhere in the country. The WNY Fishing Academy offers anglers the opportunity to attend free classes taught by local and regional experts very knowledgeable in fishing the WNY waterways.
The curriculum includes over 100 classes targeted for either novice or experienced anglers guaranteed to improve your skills. The curriculum includes the following:
Attention Great Lakes Salmon Fishermen! On Saturday, January 20, 2018 the Lake Ontario Trout & Salmon Association (LOTSA) is proud to (once again) host its well-known in-depth Salmon School. This highly acclaimed school, now in its 11thyear, has become the premier Salmon School anywhere in the Great Lakes. What started out as a local event 10 years ago now sees many diehard salmon anglers from across the Great Lakes and Canada attending. The School, coupled with all of the trout and salmon exhibitors at the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo, makes this a “must attend” three-day winter event for many.
The School consists of six hours of detailed instruction taught by three expert captains and this year they are:
Capt. Captain Richard Hajecki (Crazy Yankee Sportfishing out of the ports of Oak Orchard, Wilson & Rochester NY); Capt. Greg Amiel (Fishing 4 Tails guiding service out of multiple Canadian Lake Ontario ports and Capt. Jason Coslow (KC-1 Sport Fishing out of numerous eastern Lake Michigan ports).
These three captains offer a huge amount of on-the-water experience trolling for trout and salmon along with a proven tournament track record of high placement in the most prestigious tournaments over many years. They are a much diversified set of instructors and will provide a class full of insights and details that no one single instructor would be able to provide. They are all skilled communicators and very well known for sharing their fishing knowledge and daily fishing trips with anglers to help them to be more successful fishing the lake. Each brings their own unique set of trolling skills, techniques 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 another high quality, comprehensive, in-depth, information-packed event that our attendees have come to expect from this annual day-long instruction.
Captain Richard Hajecki has been fishing Lake Ontario for 30 years. His father introduced him and his brother, Captain Craig Hajecki, to salmon and trout fishing when they were just six or seven years old. The addiction took hold and Captain Richard became the household alarm clock every weekend of the season! Captain Richard started out fishing the ESLO Derby, which changed hands and became the LOC Derby with family and friends. Around 2004, the Hajecki family decided to give tournaments a try on the amateur side, and they had some success. In 2007, they switched over to the Pro side of tournament fishing and they won their first event - the Orleans County Pro-Am! Since then Captain Richard has led team Yankee Troller to 10 tournament wins, 36 Top 5 placings, and 16 Top 10 placings since 2007. Each season he participates in tournaments held in both countries and on both ends of Lake Ontario. One of Captain Richard’s biggest accomplishments was in 2013 when he led team Yankee Troller onto winning the Lake Ontario Challenge Cup Championship. When Captain Richard isn’t tournament fishing he is chartering under his business Crazy Yankee Sportfishing. He is generally the first boat in during late March as he probes the waters off Rochester for Spring Brown Trout. Around May 1st he can be found off the Niagara Bar catching Spring King Salmon out of the Port of Wilson. Once the West end tournaments are over he heads back to the Port he calls home at Pt. Breeze on the Oak Orchard River. You can follow Captain Richard’s fishing reports on his blog as well as his business’s Facebook page – Crazy Yankee Sportfishing. He is sponsored by Cannon Downriggers | Humminbird Electronics | Bay Rat Lures | Dreamweaver Lures | A-TOM-MIK Manufacturing | Daiwa Rods and Reels | Smart Troll | FishUSA | McCoy Fishing Line | Familiar Bite | Under Armour.
Greg Amiel is a 44 year old Richmond Hill, Ontario resident, owner of Fishing 4 Tails guiding service. As a Multi-Species Pro Angling Specialist, Greg fishes on average 150 days a year on the water. His character is driven to fish, with always wanting to gain more knowledge in a better bite, new techniques and figuring out daily fish patterns. Greg has won many tournaments and derbies throughout Lake Ontario for salmon and other species in the past 10 years. Greg and his family currently hold 11 IGFA World Records.
Greg targets fish of all species from musky to salmon in his surrounding waters. Ontario is a goldmine in terms of the many lakes and multi species all within a couple hours drive. With his salt water background, he is able to apply many different strategies, to increase his odds in tournaments and keeping his clients busy reeling in fish. He is able to teach anglers various techniques with his broad knowledge of seasonal patterns, lunar phases, water quality, baitfish movement and the when and where of fishing. He is sponsored by Lund, Mercury, Scotty, Gibbs Delta, Smooth Moves Seats, Shimano, J.B.'s Fishing Depot, Off Shore Tackle and Wack 'M Tackle.
Jason Coslow has been chasing salmon and trout in Michigan waters (rivers, streams and Lake Michigan) since he was old enough to hold a fishing pole. His addiction to tournament fishing started over 20 years ago and he has become one of the most successful and most respected captains on the Tournament Trail. Jason is a charter captain and leads one of the winningest teams, KC-1, on Lake Michigan. He is well known by his clients as a great teacher that will take the time to share his knowledge and experience with anyone who asks. Lastly, Jason and his team took the title of Salmon Showdown Broadcast Champions in 2016.
The Salmon School is not meant for novices to the Lake Ontario fishery. It is a “hard core” 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. As the Great Lakes continue to change and become a much more challenging fishery, knowledge is often the difference between having a couple of bites or having steady bites throughout the day.
The LOTSA Salmon School is a custom class built from the input from the attendees on what is most important to them to cover. It is not an “off the shelf” class for the masses. Each attendee will have the opportunity to submit their top three topics that they want to have covered in the class. The instructors will then use this input to customize the curriculum to cover these particular areas.
The registration price includes free admission to the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo on Saturday and Sunday, your 2018 LOTSA Membership, a hot buffet lunch on Saturday with beverages available throughout the class and a “goodie” bag consisting of the “go to” baits of the instructors. The class (and Expo) is held at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls in a “state of the art” conference room with a large screen, stage, good seating with tables and a good sound system that all make for a comfortable venue throughout the day for everyone attending. Given the quality of what you will be taught, coupled with the lunch, “goodie bag” and free admissions, it is a terrific value and a great way to start your 2018 season. Where else would you want to be in the Great Lakes on a Saturday in January than at a nice and comfortable venue talking salmon fishing with a room full of individuals with the same common interest that you have?
The School sells out every year as many of the attendees come back year after year which is the ultimate testimony to the value of attending the school. Signups will be available through the LOTSA web site (www.LOTSA1.Org") beginning in early September. Early signups are encouraged to give the instructors enough time to build the curriculum for the desired topics and so that you are guaranteed a seat to avoid being left out in the cold.
Sign Up Now!
The Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is proud to announce that a brand new “Walleye School” will become a part of the overall show experience for the first time in 2017. This “School” will more than double the amount of walleye education from past shows to meet the demand for Walleye education. With the walleye fishery “booming” on the eastern end of Lake Erie, and walleye being the most popular fish to target in WNY, we have created this “School” to help meet the needs of our WNY Anglers.
The “School” will offer Three Days of Intense Walleye Information:
Over 20 Free Seminars featuring more than a dozen regional and local experts including Mark Romanack, Lance Valentine & to name a few.
Two separate curriculum's focusing on “trolling” or “rod-in-hand” fishing techniques.
No registration required, seats available on a first come first serve basis, so plan on arriving early!
See all you Walleye Fans at the Expo!!!
Join Captain Lance Valentine of Teachinfishin.com for an in-depth clinic designed to help Anglers catch more fish by fully utilizing the features / 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 thru word of mouth and trial an 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 Captain 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. Date and Time TBD
Mark Romanack, “the Outdoors Guy” is a life long outdoorsman and one of the nation’smost active members of the outdoor media. A graduate of Northern Michigan University with aB.S. Degree in Conservation, Romanack has spent his entire career working to help othersbetter understand and appreciate the outdoors. Romanack’s outdoor career started in 1981 as an Environmental Educator. While working as a naturalist, he began to write outdoor articles for hunting and fishing magazines to supplement his income. His first article was published by Michigan Out of Doors Magazine (the nation’s largest independent conservation organization). This part time hobby quickly grew into a full fledged career with to date more than 3,000 writing credits in over 60 different local, regional and national magazines. Currently Romanack writes frequently for host of magazines and also produces a weekly outdoor blog on Facebook and the www.fishing411.net site.
Romanack made the move to outdoor writing full time in 1986. Since that time he has published 13 different printed books on fishing, including the widely popular Precision Trolling “Troller’s Bible” series of depth guides. Romanack has also released a growing number of Kindle “e-books” including Spinner Fishing Secrets, Walleye Jigging Tactics and Walleye Crankbait Trolling Strategies. In addition to writing and photography, Romanack has become a sought after public speaker on a variety of freshwater fishing topics. Considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on walleye fishing and all things trolling, Romanack conducts more than 40 multimedia seminars annually on a variety of fishing topics.In 2007 Romanack plunged into the television world by hosting and field producing a new TV series called Fishing 411 broadcast nationwide on World Fishing Network. Currently filming season 10, Fishing 411 has grown rapidly both in distribution and popularity reaching millions of homes on Dish Network and a host of cable TV providers. The Romanack family is also very active on the popular social networking venues. In addition to maintaining two Facebook accounts with over 20,000 followers, the Fishing 411 team provides social networking content in the form of video, photography and written communications for all of their sponsors. Brands currently supporting
Fishing 411 include Evinrude, Starcraft, Off Shore Tackle, Jay’s Sporting Goods,Ontario’s Algoma Country, Smooth Moves, Lowrance, MotorGuide, Trailmaster Trailers,Yakima Bait, Fish Hawk Electronics, Lurk Divers, the Ultimate Sport Show Tour and Cisco Fishing Systems.Romanack lives in Northern Michigan with his wife Mari, sons Zack and Jake and theirhunting dogs Mason, Stormy and Drake. Mark can be reached via e-mail email@example.com, https://www.facebook.com/mark.romanack and https://www.facebook.com/Fishing411.
Sammy Cappelli and his partner won the nation's most prestigious Walleye tournament ( the Cabela’s National Team Championship) held in June 2017 on Lake Erie. They bested the field of 250 boats over the 3 day Tournament to win $25,000 cash, two new fishing boats for a total take of $175,000 in cash and prizes. This tournament is the super bowl of Walleye fishing as it features the best Walleye anglers from around the country competing to be the champion.
Sammy has over 30 years experience fishing on Lake Erie and inland lakes. He started fishing Lake Erie at age 16. He has a tremendous amount of experience fishing walleye tournaments across the great lakes region. He is an experienced presenter having done numerous TV show and is in demand each year for delivering Walleye seminars at sport shows. He's been in several articles for fishing in different outdoor magazines and newspapers. His team were points champions for the last 3 years for Walleye Madness. He's also 13-time Cabelas National Team Championship qualifier. His son and he won the AYA regional championship and won a Lund boat, motor and trailer. He fished 18 Walleye Tournaments across 5 states in 2016.br>
He is a multi-dimensional walleye angler equally comfortable with “rod in hand” or trolling techniques doing whatever it takes to consistently catch Walleye. Sammy believes that fishing is going to be great for Lake Erie walleye for the next three to ten years with the excellent Walleye hatches the past few years that have produced the large amount of small walleye in the Lake Erie ecosystem.
Bassmaster Elite Pro Mark Menendez of Paducah, Kentucky will join an impressive cast of speakers at the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo to be held Jan. 19-21 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. Menendez, a regular on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail for 26 years, is slated to be a competitor in the Elite Series in 2018 once again.
His statistics are impressive. He has fished in 214 Bassmaster tournaments to date – placing in the money nearly 50 percent of the time. He’s captured first place three times; second place once; third place twice; and placed in the Top 10 and Top 20 22 and 44 times respectively; winning more than $1.25 million in career earnings. The 52-year-old angler is a graduate of Murray State with a degree in Fisheries Biology. He is familiar with the local waters of Western New York and his seminars will be “Great Lakes Power Fishing Tactics” and “Finesse Fishing for Great Lakes Smallmouth.” His presentations will be at noon on Saturday; 10 a.m. on Sunday.
"The combination of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, associated with the majestic Niagara River creates the most dynamic fishery in the United States,” insists Menendez, a Bassmaster champion. “The smorgasbord of game fish found here can fill anyone’s bucket list! And the waters in and around the Buffalo area hold more giant smallmouth than anyplace in the World!"
In addition to his two seminars, he will be giving product demonstration seminars for Rapid Fishing Solutions on a regular basis Saturday and Sunday, one of his valued sponsors. Menendez is one of the hardest working promoters and educators on tour and in that role he routinely averages more than 100 days a year working with the fans of the sport on behalf of his sponsors.
Menendez isn’t the only bass fishing expert sharing his intimate knowledge at the Expo. Buffalo-area Bass Pro Brad Brodnicki of Amherst will be in the spotlight all weekend, too, along with other members of WNY Bassmasters. They will all be providing bass seminars targeting all levels of proficiency. Whether you fish from a boat or on shore, like to cast or bottom-bounce, use artificial baits or live bait; there will be relevant seminars for you to attend. In addition, there will many manufacturers on hand to share insight and point you in the right direction to make purchases of equipment. Rods, reels, lures, electronics and other fishing gear will be available for purchase – even boats!
Bass is only one species that anglers can enjoy at the show. In addition, there will also be seminars on salmon, trout, walleye, perch and musky; seminars on electronics and boat rigging; expert talks on kayak fishing and tributary fishing. Nearly 130 seminars can be found during the three days.
Captain Jake Romanack is both one of the youngest and most experienced charter captains on the Great Lakes.
The son of outdoor writer and TV host Mark Romanack, Jake has been fishing since he was old enough to hold up a trolling combo. “Jake grew up on the Great Lakes mastering both the fundamentals and the finer points of trout and salmon trolling,” says Mark Romanack. “Jake spent three years acting as a first mate on a dozen different charter boats before he stepped up and got his own “captains” license.
These days Captain Jake specializes in educational charters, seminars, YouTube videos and co-hosting TV productions as part of the family business Fishing 411 Productions.
“Modern Salmon Tactics” takes an in-depth look at targeting trout and salmon on the Great Lakes putting emphasis on using lead core and copper lines fished on in-
line boards, fishing Tadpole Divers on boards, double stacking diving planers, fishing meat rigs, attractor fishing tactics and refined methods for downrigger fishing.
Captain Jake Romanack lives in Northern Michigan, but travels frequently to target trout, salmon, walleye and other species around the Great Lakes region. Jake can be reached via e-mail at Jake@Fishing411.net and also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jake.romanack? fref=ts or via his cell phone at 231-878-2017.
Lowrance Electronics Pro-Staffer Lance Valentine will be giving some expert instruction on the use of marine electronics. And if you actually own a HDS Lowrance Unit, bring it to the show and receive a free update from Valentine at his booth. You are guaranteed to learn something new when you listen to Valentine on using this important fishing tool.
Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls with Niagara Region Charter Service is a full time guide with over .20 years of guiding experience on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River. Spending an average of 200 days a year on the water has enabled Capt. Frank to be one of the most knowledgeable skippers in Western New York. He has been featured on numerous television shows including In-Fisherman, Keith Warren Outdoors, O’Neil’s Outside, Bob Redfern Outdoors, Mid-West Outdoors, and Angling the Great Lakes along with the CBS Morning Show. He has also been featured in media print for many magazines including In-Fisherman, Outdoor Life, Fishing Facts, Salmon Trout & Steelheader, Great Lakes Angler,
New York Outdoor News, Lake Ontario Outdoors, as well as in ESPN Outdoors.com. Campbell also gets involved to give back, serving as the chairman of the Niagara County Fisheries Development Board for over 10 years and also served as chairman of the Board of Directors for Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. His seminars are extremely informative, whether you are someone just starting out or a
long time veteran on the water.
"Born and raised in Western New York along the Niagara Escarpment, Joe Fonzi has spent most of his life in the outdoors: fishing, hunting, and trapping. Joe began his outdoor adventures as soon as he was old enough to keep up with his dad and grandfathers, who did it all from fly fishing to trapping. He still owes much of his success to the lessons and ethics that were set forth by these early mentors.
Joe is a graduate of both, New York State school of Environmental Science and Forestry (BSF); and SUNY Brockport, where all of his emphasis was placed on environmental studies. His graduate work was in fisheries management with importance placed on freshwater ecosystems; he participated in a 2 year fisheries inventory study of the New York canal system from Lake Erie to the Hudson River. For the past 16 years Joe has held a US Coast Guard license he’s used turned his passion for fishing into a successful fishing charter business. Captain Joe, charters fishing trips on lakes Erie and Ontario, spending almost two hundred days a year in his Ranger boat, targeting smallmouth bass, perch, and walleyes.
When Joe isn’t guiding, he tries to fit in as many fishing tournaments as possible. With finishes in the top 5 of both the National Bass and Walleye circuits Joe has accomplished something that most anglers don’t even attempt. Other tournament accomplishments include: 3 top ten finishes in the FLW and qualifying for the FLW Costa championship both years he completed the circuit. Joe has also had success north of the border with several wins and top 10 finishes in both the Canadian Sport Fishing League (CSFL) and the Renegade Bass Circuits.
Joe holds pro-staff positions with several outdoor equipment companies including Mack’s Lures, Warrior Lures, and most notably Ranger Boats (for the past 8 years.) Joe is entering his second year as a Cabela’s pro staffer, he often participates in the Cabela’s day’s events at the Cheektowaga location. Joe also does several seminars each year for local sportsmen’s clubs and outdoors shows in both the US and Canada, talking on a wide range of subjects from fishing ethics to tournament-winning strategies."
Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown is owner and operator of Wet Net Charters, a business he runs out of Western New York in the Great Lakes of Ontario and Erie. He also focuses on the Niagara River during certain times of the year, giving him a true year-round angling operation for customers. He’s been fishing these productive waters for nearly two decades, half of that as a licensed captain. His specialty has to be considered the Niagara Bar area, the outflow into Lake Ontario out of the mouth of the Niagara River – an area he focuses on for the lakes’ numerous derbies and tournaments. If his name sounds familiar to you, he is a regular in the winner’s circle when it comes to these fishing contests – especially the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby where he has been a Grand Prize winner and has numerous first place trophies to show for his efforts. He has also been featured in several television shows such as Illinois Outdoors, as well as numerous magazine articles in publications like Great Lakes Angler, The Fisherman, Lake Ontario Outdoors and more. His insight into fish and fishing the area is helpful for anyone interested in learning more about the Great Lakes, especially as it relates to salmon and trout.
Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown is owner and operator of Wet Net Charters, a business he runs out of Western New York in the Great Lakes of Ontario and Erie. He also focuses on the Niagara River during certain times of the year, giving him a true year-round angling operation for customers. He’s been fishing these productive waters for nearly two decades, half of that as a licensed captain. His specialty has to be considered the Niagara Bar area, the outflow into Lake Ontario out of the mouth of the Niagara River – an area he focuses on for the lakes’ numerous derbies and tournaments. If his name sounds familiar to you, he is a regular in the winner’s circle when it comes to these fishing contests – especially the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby where he has been a Grand Prize winner and has numerous first place trophies to show for his efforts. He has also been featured in several television shows such as Illinois Outdoors, as well as numerous magazine articles in publications like Great Lakes Angler, The Fisherman, Lake Ontario Outdoors and more. His insight into fish and fishing the area is helpful for anyone interested in learning more about the Great Lakes, especially as it relates to salmon and trout.Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters will be starting things off by getting your fish ready for the frying pan! Captain Frank 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 be offering up free giveaways (knives and hats) promoting their new line of fillet knives. ""The key is a super sharp knife," says 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." Then the chefs from the Conference and Event Center will be cooking the final product for a tasty treat to be enjoyed by all in attendance.