2020 Top Attractions

Teaching Fishing

Teaching Fishing

"Teaching Fishing" is what this show was built around and what makes it unique from other events of this kind. The show facility - the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls - provides a unique blend of being able to offer a spacious Exhibitor Event Center, as well as a multitude of seminar rooms all utilizing "State of the Art" technology. The show utilizes these rooms plus the Hawg Trough to deliver up to 18 classes run concurrently, each targeting different topics/levels of expertise. The classes are taught by local and regional experts very knowledgeable in fishing our WNY waterways. Each class is developed for a specific level of expertise including:
1. Beginner / Casual Level - The angler who is just starting out or who has limited knowledge on the topic. Attending these classes will dramatically shorten the learning curve and provide the opportunity for attendees to save some "Tackle $$" by purchasing what is needed to get started.
2. Experienced Level - The angler with some experience on the topic who is looking to pick up additional knowledge from more experienced anglers that will enable them to make tweaks to their program to increase their success.
3. Expert / Tournament Angler - The "diehard" angler who is looking to increase their knowledge and skills on the topic by taking "advanced" classes taught by some of the best of the best anglers on the water.

The 2019 show offered attendees the opportunity to attend over 200 free classes over the 3 days of the show with the average attendee taking advantage of the opportunity to increase their fishing knowledge by attending over 5 classes during the duration of the Expo. The core belief of the show is that it is making a difference toward the effort to grow the sport of fishing by providing a vast amount of fishing education to our attendees. By providing this education, this show will recruit new anglers, including the next generation, to the sport as well as providing existing anglers the fishing knowledge to increase their enjoyment of the time they spend on the water by being more successful. The education also allows anglers to diversify to include other species and tactics if they so desire.
The 2020 curriculum of all free classes is guaranteed to improve your skills. The curriculum includes classes on the following:
1. Lake Ontario Trout & Salmon
2. Lake Erie & Inland Lake Walleye
3. Lake Erie, Ontario & Inland Lakes Bass
4. Lake Ontario & Erie Tributary Trout
5. Lake Erie & Inland Lakes Perch
6. Marine Electronics & Boat Rigging
7. Kayak Fishing
8. Fly Fishing
9. Casting Techniques
10. Ice Fishing
11. Youth Fishing
12. Fisheries Management / General Fishing

DEC Open House

DEC Open House and Presentations Will Inform Public on Fisheries Programs, Issues

In an effort to expand the Fishing Show's "Top Attractions," the state's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be increasing their participation in the 2020 Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo - a request that has been passed along from attendees to show organizers.

Anglers who fish in New York's Great Lakes and inland waters would like to have more interaction with the decision-makers and the biologists who manage these waterways. The same could be said for those same decision-makers and biologists. They would like to have more interaction with the stakeholders and users of the resources to help the public understand those management practices. They would also like to receive more input from the anglers themselves to help with their management decisions going forward.

Each winter and spring, DEC conducts State of the Lake meetings to initiate public outreach and give updates on what's happening with a particular body of water - Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Salmon River, Finger Lakes. They are often at a time when many anglers cannot attend. This will be a perfect opportunity for anglers to see what's happening with the bodies of water you fish and ask questions to better understand the dynamics for a particular lake, river or inland stream.

Abbreviated versions (one hour) of the State of the Lake meetings for Erie and Ontario will be available on opening night (Friday). If you participate in the popular LOTSA Salmon School, many of the top fisheries decision-makers will be on hand to mingle with Salmon School attendees on Friday night for a special "Meet and Greet." It's a great way to get up close and personal with the likes of Steve Hurst, DEC's Chief of the Bureau of Fisheries, Steve LaPan, DEC's Great Lakes Section Head, Chris Legard, the Lake Ontario Unit Leader and Jason Robinson, the Lake Erie Unit Leader.

Some of these same individuals will also be included with some of the top seminar speakers. Last year, Hurst became part of a seminar with Capt. Bob Songin and they complemented each other very well over the course of the presentation. They plan to expand those efforts.

The most exciting aspect of this DEC awareness expansion is a unique "Open House" that will place at least 7 different aspects of the Bureau of Fisheries into one room for three hours on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Included in this will be stations focusing on Lake Ontario Open Lake and Lake Ontario Tributaries; Lake Erie (with Lake Erie Unit Leader Dr. Jason Robinson and Sr. Aquatic Biologist James Markham) Open Lake and Tributaries; Niagara River; Great Lakes Fish Production and Stocking; Finger Lakes; Inland Streams; DEC Law Enforcement; and Angling Opportunities for Women.

In addition, DEC will continue to operate its popular booth in the main exhibit hall throughout the duration of the Expo. We are proud to be partnering with DEC in this "first of its kind" event, something that could be a model for them with other shows in the future. Be sure to take advantage of this innovative educational opportunity.

2020 Walleye School

2020 Walleye School

2020 Walleye School

One of the most popular features of the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is the "Walleye School". With the population of Walleye in Lake Erie estimated at 45 million resulting in the outstanding Walleye fishing the past few years on the Eastern end of Lake Erie, and the forecast for it even to get better for the foreseeable future based upon the number of Walleyes in the system, the demand for Walleye Education is at an all-time high. Walleye are by far the most popular fish to target in Western New York and this "School" was created to help meet the needs of the Walleye angling community.

The "School" will offer Three Days of Intense Walleye Information consisting of over 50 Free Class offerings for Walleye Anglers who fish Eastern Lake Erie, Chautauqua Lake, Niagara River and other NYS waters, with separate classes specifically targeted for the Beginner / Casual Angler, the Experienced Angler and the Expert/Tournament Angler. To view the full lineup of classes, select the "2020 Education" from the main menu and then select "Walleye Series".

Well known national Walleye Educators Mark Romanack, Jake Romanack and Lance Valentine headline a very experienced group of instructors with a wide range of expertise in different Walleye fishing techniques along with Boat Rigging and Marine Electronics.
All classes are free, no registration required, seats available on a first come first serve basis.

Hawg Trough

The Hawg Trough Returns

The Hawg Trough made it's debut at the Show in 2019 and based upon the many positive comments from our attendees will be back on the main floor in 2020. The Hawg Trough is a mobile 5,000-gallon fish tank loaded with Bass and equipped with a speaker platform.

The saying "A picture is worth 1000 words" is really true when it comes to the Hawg Trough. Being able to do seminars on it to show how different baits are worked in the water and how fish react to the different presentations will enhance the learning experience. The seminars are delivered by experts in these techniques or with the particular baits. Seminars are not just limited to Bass but cover other areas (Walleye, Float Fishing, etc.) where "seeing it" is an effective learning technique. This setting also allows the attendees to interact throughout with the seminar presenter to maximize the learning for each attendee making this an excellent alternative to the traditional education in the classroom.

New for 2020 will be the running of Kids classes at the Hawg Trough. We feel that this will be more effective for kids and their parents to learn how to fish than sitting in a classroom and furthers our show goal of introducing future generations of anglers to the sport of fishing,
To see the full list of Hawg Trough sessions planned select the "Education" tab on the main menu.

Casting Area

The Casting area will return in 2020 based upon the positive feedback we received on it from the 2019 show. This dedicated "Casting" area where attendees could see and actually cast at the show greatly improved the improved the learning process. It will be used to facilitate the learning process for Fly, Center Pin, Spinning and Bait Casting delivered by experts at the show. We also anticipate that some Manufacturers will use it to show off their latest offerings and have potential customers "try it out" to help them make their purchase decision. The full list of these offerings are can be found under our "Education" tab on the web site. The "Casting" area will be in Room #4.

LOTSA 202 Salmon School

LOTSA 2020 Salmon School

LOTSA 2020 Salmon School

Attention Great Lakes Salmon Fishermen! The Lake Ontario Trout & Salmon Association (LOTSA) is proud to (once again) host its well-known in-depth Salmon School on Saturday, January 18, 2020. This highly acclaimed school, now in its 13th year, has become the premier Salmon School anywhere in the Great Lakes. What started out as a local event 12 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 (January 17 - 19), makes this a "must attend" three-day winter event for many.

Each year the class is enhanced based upon the input from those that attended attending the previous School. Based upon that input, Pete Alex, Andy Bliss and Matt Yablonsky will return to take the class to the next level. They will do a much deeper dive into the specific tools and techniques they utilize that they didn't have time to cover in their previous school in 2019. The focus will be on the 3 main Lake Ontario Salmon fishing months (May, July and August) and dive into the more technical aspects for each of these months relating to location, the "right" water, deep king tactics, locating and catching offshore Kings and on fishing "meat" among many others. This instruction will include some detailed video footage taken during the 2019 season which should help the learning process. In addition, guest instructors Karl Chmilnitzky, who is a well-known, highly successful, recreational Canadian tournament fisherman will cover north and south shore locations and King catching techniques for the "weekend warriors." Marine Electronics guru, Lance Valentine, will also make a guest appearance focusing on using your Sonar/GPS to put more kings in the boat. For those that attended the school in 2019, consider this the next step. For those desiring a deeper detailed presentation, you will want to be with us in 2020.

Salmon School Details

The School consists of six hours of detailed Salmon catching instruction. The registration price of $85 includes free admission to the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo for all 3 days, your 2020 LOTSA Membership, a hot buffet lunch (or alternative for dietary needs) on Saturday with beverages available throughout the class and a "goodie" bag consisting of the "go to" baits of the instructors. Also included this year is a Friday night "Meet & Greet" with the instructors that includes free drinks and snacks. 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 2020 season. Doors open at 7 a.m. for check in and the class runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional time will be available after 4 pm with the instructors for any questions that you have that weren't answered during the class.
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.
This 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 most important questions/ topics that they want covered in the class. The instructors will then use this input to customize the curriculum to cover these particular areas. This will allow the instructors to limit the questions during the School and make sure that they cover all of the details that they have prepared.
The instructors have 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.
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 September. Early signups are encouraged to give the instructors enough time to build the curriculum for the desired topics


Captain Pete Alex

Captain Pete is a 54 year old salmon and trout fishing addict and reached his 31st year as a licensed charter captain in 2019. Pete has always had a passion for fishing and especially tournament fishing which helps feed his competitive side. He has accumulated fishing experience on Lakes Ontario, Erie, Michigan and Huron.

Captain Pete and his Vision Quest Fishing Teams have won over 20 events on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and have amassed over 100 Top 10 finishes since 2006. He ended the 2017 and 2018 seasons by winning the 2017 Fall King of The Lake event, then both the FishUSA Overall Championship and the annual Lake Ontario Championship Series back to back. He feels that tournament fishing helps him fish harder and think outside the box.

Pete enjoys doing seminars, educating and helping other anglers improve their fish catching ability. He believes he is a very diverse angler and can consistently catch both salmon and trout species by applying what he has learned over the years.

He regularly fishes Lake Ontario from the end of April to third week of June then returns occasionally to fish throughout the remainder of the season. He really considers himself a part time angler on Lake Ontario because of that and must figure things out each time he returns. He believes that there are reasons some anglers locate and catch fish consistently, while some do not. He hopes he can provide some of that knowledge to you at this year's Salmon School.

Pete represents these companies: FishUSA, Team Dreamweaver, Shark Cannonballs, Silver Horde, Fish Hawk, A-TOM-MIK Trolling Flies, Costa Sunglasses, Big Jon Sports, GAMMA Fishing Line, Pautzke and Atlas Mike's, AFTCO and Shimano.

Captain Andy Bliss

Capt. Andy first fished Lake Ontario in 1987 at the age of 7. He was hooked salmon fishing ever since! Since his early start he was able to work on many charters from Sodus Bay and Oswego learning many different styles and techniques from a variety of Captains. In '99 he started fishing full time aboard Cold Steel out of Oswego with Capt. Tom Burke. Since then they have competed in many tournaments from the East end to the West end of the lake.
With over 20 first place finishes and numerous Top Ten finishes, they know what it takes to be the best! They have won the Lake Ontario Challenge Cup 5 times and they were runner up another 5 times! This experience has taught them how to fish in many different conditions and produce results.
Capt. Andy loves fishing the open waters of Lake Ontario and typically compares it to a chess match. He enjoys teaching the techniques to become successful at catching these special fish to anyone who is willing to learn.
Capt. Andy represents these companies: Michigan Stinger, A-TOM-MIK, Pautzke Bait Co., Atlas Mike's, Pro-Troll, Cannon Downriggers, Humminbird electronics, BayRats Lures, Shark Cannonballs

Captain Matt Yablonsky

Captain Matt has been a charter captain for 12 years and has have been fishing the Niagara Region for 18 years. He has been a full time charter captain for the last 6 years. On average he's on the water 250 days a year. He runs charters on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara River. A lot of people refer to him as "the small boat guy." He has been operating his business out of a 21-foot Lund boat since he started chartering. It has allowed him to operate charters on both lakes and the Niagara River comfortably and safely. On Lake Erie he fishes for smallmouth bass, walleye and perch. On Lake Ontario he trolls for all species of trout and salmon. He also fishes the Lower Niagara River from September through May for trout and salmon.
A few years ago, Matt picked up a second boat to make his Lake Ontario fishing more diverse - a 29-foot Blackfin Combi. He runs this vessel for all lake fishing now.
Captain Matt fishes many tournaments and derbies throughout the year including the Lake Ontario Pro-Am series, LOC Derby, Lower Niagara Sport Fishing Challenge, Niagara Basseye and Reeling for a Cure. In the LOC Derby alone he has 40 top 20 places since 2009, of which 2 are grand prize, 6 are first place and 4 are second place. He was on the winning team for the Niagara Pro-Am in 2006, won the Trophy division of the Niagara Pro-Am in 2012 as a captain, and then won the entire tournament in 2018 in the Pro Division as the tourney returned to its roots. He has had the grand champion team in the Lower Niagara River Sport Fishing Challenge 3 times and grand champion angler 4 times. He has had multiple articles written about his derby wins and techniques of fishing the various bodies of water in the Erie-Niagara region. You can find these articles in the Great Lakes Angler, Lake Ontario Outdoors, The Fisherman magazine, Salmon-Trout-Steelheader magazine and New York Outdoor News.
Captain Matt has provided footage for various television shows. One of the shows was filmed on the Lower Niagara River for Illinois Outdoors. Other television shows were filmed on Lake Ontario for CRCS OUTDOORS. So far he has filmed 6 episodes for CRCS Outdoors.
Matt represents these companies: Yakima Bait Co., A-TOM-MIK Trolling flies Silver Streak spoons, Torpedo, Tuf-Line and Shimano.

Sign Up

So, signup early so that you are guaranteed a seat to avoid being left out in the cold. If you love to fish the Great Lakes for Kings, this is a great way to "Kick Off" your 2020 Season. Where else would you want to be in the Great Lakes on a Saturday in January than learning how to increase your catch from 3 expert Captains, sitting in a comfortable venue talking salmon fishing with a room full of individuals with the same common interest that you have? Tickets are pre-sale only and have sold out every year (early December sellout for the 2019 School).

Win a Lifetime Fishing License

Win a Lifetime Fishing License!

Win a Lifetime Fishing License!

New York State has a long angling heritage when it comes to sportfishing. Its angling resources abound, especially right here in Western New York. In an effort to help pass this outdoor opportunity on to the next generation, the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo will be having a drawing at the end of the show that will give every youngster 16 years of age an younger the chance to win a lifetime fishing license! This only applies to kids who are New York State residents, but the best thing about a lifetime license is that it even applies if the holder moves out of the state later in life. The number of licenses given away will be determined at the end of the show. Simply fill out an entry form when you arrive and then keep your fingers crossed. It will also be a great time to take advantage of youth fishing education abailable throughout the show. Good luck!

*Attendees at the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo will be permitted to submit One Entry Per Day Per Person, into the Drawing Barrel which will be located in the Grand Foyer

Lower Niagara River Fishing Trips

Lower Niagara River Fishing Trips


Get ready for the trip of a lifetime, on the Lower Niagara River, in January 2020!!!
The Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is pleased to announce a unique offering for our show this year, a continuation of an education feature that was started in 2017.

Lower Niagara River Trout fishing trips offered the mornings before, during and after the expo from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (Jan. 16-20, 2020). Five exciting days to 'scratch your fishing itch' and take your first boat trip in 2020 while attending the Expo!
These trips are being offered at "show special" pricing. It gives you another reason to make the Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo the destination to attend in January!

The lower Niagara River offers a world-class winter boat fishery in a 10-plus mile stretch of fish-rich water. It should be on everyone's bucket list. Sign-up is simple as you can sign up as an individual and there is no need to secure two other people in order to book a trip. Cost is $125 per person for the trip and also includes a 3 day free pass to the Expo.

What a unique combination: Listen to some of the Niagara River trout fishing seminars at the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo AND get out there and do it. It's an on-water lesson that can't be beat!

The Ultimate river experience!!!
This year's feature will all be coordinated through Capt. Frank Campbell and Niagara Region Charter Service. He has already secured several charter boats to take people out each morning. You can sign up for a seat at Niagaracharter.com .
Get ready for the trip of a lifetime, on the Lower Niagara River, in January 2020!!!

**Seats are limited and available on a first-come basis. **

Lake Erie Walleye: Cleaning

Lake Erie Walleye: Cleaning & Cooking Your Catch

Lake Erie Walleye: Cleaning & Cooking Your Catch

With the booming walleye fishing on the Eastern End of Lake Erie, many anglers are looking for the best way to clean, store and eat their walleye catch. There will be demos each day where Walleye Pros will demonstrate the best way to clean walleye using both electric and regular Fillet knives. Each Captain 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. Sponsors of the session, Fillet Away Fish Mats and Rapala, have great products that every angler who fillets fish will want to see.in action. Both Sponsors will be offering show discounts along with free giveaways of the session attendees. Then the chefs from the Conference and Event Center will show how they cook Walleye and provide the final product (not the walleye just filleted) for a tasty treat to be enjoyed by all in attendance.