Already offering the most Education of any Fishing show in the Great Lakes, the Academy will expand its offerings to include detailed instruction using the Hawg Trough and a new casting area setup for 2019. The WNY waterways comprised of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Niagara River and other inland bodies of water offers 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 Academy will offer a curriculum of well over 200 free classes targeted for youth, novice and experienced anglers guaranteed to improve your skills. The curriculum includes the following:
1. Lake Ontario Trout & Salmon
2. Lake Erie Walleye
3. Lake Erie, Ontario & Inland Lakes Bass
4. Lake Ontario & Erie Tributary Trout
5. Lake Erie Perch
6. Boat Rigging
7. Kayak Fishing
8. Fly Fishing
9. Learn to Fish WNY Waterways for the Novice Angler
10. Ice Fishing
11. Youth Fishing
13. Learn to Boat the WNY Waterways Safely
The Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is proud to announce the return of the "Walleye School". With the outstanding Walleye fishing this past year 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 continues to grow.
Walleye are by far the most popular fish to target in WNY and this "School" was created to help meet the needs of our WNY Anglers.
The "School" will offer Three Days of Intense Walleye Information:
Over 25 Free Seminars featuring more than a dozen regional and local experts including Mark Romanack, Lance Valentine, & Joe Fonzi to name a few.
Two separate curriculum's focusing on "trolling" or "rod-in-hand" fishing techniques.
Classes range from the novice walleye angler just starting out through the experienced Tournament anglers.
All classes are free, no registration required, seats available on a first come first serve basis.
See all you Walleye Fans at the Expo!!!
One of the goals of the 2019 show was to have a much larger focus on bass and bass fishing.
To help us accomplish this goal, Mitch Grant and Rapid Fishing Solutions stepped up to the plate and sponsored a mobile 5,000-gallon Hawg Trough - a fish tank equipped with a speaker platform to help us add additional Education offerings. This will be located in the Main Event Center in the heart of the Bass area. It will be utilized throughout the show for demos by the Bass pros along with pros in other areas (Walleye, Ice Fishing, Float Fishing, etc.) where actually seeing the baits worked in the water will enhance the learning experience. Over 30 of these "Demo" education offerings are planned. They can be found under our "Education" tab on the web site.
Another goal for the 2019 show was to have a dedicated "Casting" area. Feedback from past shows has been that being able to actually cast at the show would greatly improve the learning process. This year we have a dedicated area set aside just for casting. 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. Over 10 of these "Demo" education offerings are planned. They can be found under our "Education" tab on the web site. The "Casting" area will be in Room #4.
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.
If you have an old tackle box, some old fishing reels or other fishing related items bring them to the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo. Mark and another collector will be there to provide an appraisal of what you have your hands on. Before you take the stuff fishing, before you put it in a garage sale or before someone throws it out, find out what it is worth. You may have a treasure in your hands and not even realize it. If you want to become a collector, talk to them and they can get you started down the right path. We understand carrying a tackle box or a pole or box of stuff around a show will be a hassle and we are setting up a procedure you can store your tackle and pick it up on the way out.
Mark has lived in Western New York his entire life. He grew up in the Cheektowaga area and was introduced to fishing by his late grandfather. His education was fishing Lake Erie, Canandaigua Lake, Honeoye Lake, the Wiscoy Creek and Case Lake in Franklinville, N.Y. As soon as he was old enough, he would ride his bike on great adventures, Ellicott Creek, Aero Lake and any pond he could find. Of course, he had to buy every lure he could afford. Taking his allowance to the local hardware store almost weekly.
When his grandfather passed away, he inherited his tackle box. This box was a treasure chest to him. There were all types of lures in there that he was never allowed to fish. Lures made by Creek Chub, Heddon, Chapman and Pflueger to name a few. This was the start of his obsession with collecting old fishing tackle.
When he started collecting there were really no books on the subject or no internet as we know it today. He collected what he liked. Cool looking reels, lures with 4 or 5 treble hooks, fish spears and old fishing license buttons.
In the late 1990's, Mark discovered the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club. There were other people like him with this obsession. He learned how to value a lure, a reel, a pole and how to grade them as far as the condition. He learned how to research the old now defunct lure manufacturers. When they started, when they were sold or folded. How to age a lure by the type of hook hangers / hardware it has installed.
Mark has contributed to a number of books, the one he is most proud of The Paw Paw Bait Company Book by Tougas and Stockman. Mark at one time had one of the largest collections of Paw Paw Baits in the country. Mark has also written a few articles for the NFLCC magazine and the NFLCC Gazette.
Mark has refined his collection the last few years. Specializing in specific Creek Chub and Heddon Lures. However, he does love fishing tackle that was made in the Western New York area such as Spiral Wind Reels (circa 1940) and pre-1915 William J.T. Lowes spinner baits.
Mark Romanack, "the Outdoors Guy" is a lifelong outdoorsman and one of the nation's most active members of the outdoor media. A graduate of Northern Michigan University with a B.S. Degree in Conservation, Romanack has spent his entire career working to help others better 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 https://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.
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."
Captain Jake Romanack lives in Northern Michigan, but travels frequently to target trout, salmon, walleye and other species around the Great Lakes region.
Attention Great Lakes Salmon Fishermen! On Saturday, January 19, 2019 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 12th year, has become the premier Salmon School anywhere in the Great Lakes. What started out as a local event 11 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 18 - 20), 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. Pete Alex (Vision Quest Sportfishing out of the port of Wilson and other Canadian ports); Capt. Andy Bliss (Cold Steel Sportfishing & Chasin' Tail Adventures out of Oswego and the Salmon River); and Capt. Matt Yablonsky (Wet Net Charters out Youngstown, Wilson and Olcott.).
The registration price of $85 includes free admission to the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo for all 3 days, your 2019 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 for the first time this year is a Friday night one hour "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 2019 season. Doors open at 7 a.m. for check in and the class runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m..
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 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 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.
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.
Mark Menendez is a professional angler from Paducah, Kentucky angler has spent the past 24 years competing on the Bassmaster Tour and Elite Series. He is a veteran of 231 Bassmaster tournaments, winning three of them along the way. He has finished in the top 10 in tournaments 25 times, and has made five trips to the Bassmaster Classic, and won nearly $1.2-million in career earnings along the way. While he is a skilled and talented angler, Menendez is known for his loyalty to his sponsors, and for his tireless effort in promoting them off the water. He is the host of Mark Menendez TV show in his hometown, and is a sought after educator and speaker throughout the country. His presence here is brought to you by Rapid Fishing Solutions.
Brad Knight is an FLW Tour professional from Lancing, Tenn. Knight is a veteran of more than 100 FLW Tour events, and has competed on the Bassmaster Opens as well. Throughout his relatively short professional career, Knight has finished in the top 10 seven times, and has amassed more than $750,000 in career earnings. In 2015, Knight won the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, cementing his place in the history of that event as one of the few anglers to accomplish the feat. He appears courtesy of Rapid Fishing Solutions.
Bill McDonald is a professional angler on FLW Tour from Greenwood, Ind. with over twenty years of tournament fishing experience from the Indiana State Federation to the FLW Tour. Throughout his career, he has won multiple tournaments and has numerous Top 10 finishes to his name. In FLW competition, McDonald has earned four victories, tallied 18 top 10 finishes and eclipsed $300,000 in earnings. He is a tireless promoter who spends multiple days each year working on behalf of his sponsors, and has become one of the most respected and requested presenters in the business. McDonald loves to fish the waters of WNY and the picture of him is with a 7lb smallmouth he caught in 2018 in the Lower Niagara River during an outdoor media event he often attends in May. His appearance this week is courtesy of Rapid Fishing Solutions.
John Murray is a professional angler from Spring City, Tenn. Since he graduated from high school, he has been a full time professional angler since 1985. He is the only professional angler to win a fully rigged bass boat on every major western waterway from New Mexico to Washington State; his total number of boats won in competition is 31. He has qualified for the Bassmaster Classic seven times and is a two-time US Open Champion and has earned $2.5 Million during his career. In 2019, Murray will be competing in the newly formed Bass Pro Tour. He appears at the courtesy of Rapid Fishing Solutions.
The founder of Walleye 101 and the Fishing Education Center, Lance Valentine has turned a life-long passion for fishing and teaching into one of the foremost fishing education programs in the country. Started in 1998, Walleye 101 combines Lance's years of experience fishing national tournaments (PWT, RCL) and thousands of hours of guiding into seminars and DVDs covering all aspects of walleye fishing and marine electronics. Recognized as an expert in marine electronics, Valentine's Sonar and GPS seminars and training DVDs are considered "must sees" by both beginner and professional anglers. Entering his second decade as a full time walleye guide and seminar speaker, Lance's friendly demeanor and high energy speaking style have made him a favorite of show goers throughout the Midwest.
Steve Hurst is Chief of the Bureau of Fisheries in the Division of Fish and Wildlife for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Steve has been with the DEC for over 30 years and has a wide variety of experience with the Bureau and Division's programs. He began his career as a Fish and Wildlife Technician, working on field studies out of the Cortand office. He then worked at a Fish Culturist at the South Otselic Hatchery, and as a Biologist and Unit Leader in Albany overseeing the comprehensive Fisheries data base. Before his re-appointment as Chief of Fisheries in 2017, Steve also served as the Chief of Administrative Services for the Division, where he helped lead division-wide strategic planning. In his current capacity, Steve is predominantly responsible for leading and administering the State’s freshwater fisheries program. He oversees 137 employees, 12 Fish Hatcheries, one Fish Disease Control Lab and two Great Lakes Research Stations.
Steve has an Associate of Applied Science degree from SUNY Cobleskill, a Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Resource Management from Cornell University, and a Masters of Public Administration from the Rockefeller School of Government (2004) where he focused on Policy & Decision Science and Systems Dynamics. Steve is a fellow of the National Conservation Leadership Institute and also serves on multiple interstate advisory panels and boards including the Council of Great Lakes Fisheries Agencies and the North East Fisheries Administrators Associations
Since returning to the job of Fisheries Chief, Steve has been focusing on responsible program planning and greater accountability in program delivery. He strongly believes in the delivery of good and transparent government, particularly one that includes the angling community in an open decision-making process. Steve views management of our fisheries resources as an intersection between fish communities, habitat, and anglers. As such he is always interested in hearing from anglers and engaging in dialog to help inform better management decisions for our fisheries.
He’ll be on hand at the Expo to provide anglers the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion in an open forum about fisheries management in New York. As an avid angler himself, Steve also welcomes genial conversations about the fishing experiences of our state's fishing public.
Capt. Vince Pierleoni, native of Rochester NY. Currently resides in Newfane NY. Has fished since he was 4 years old, has fished Lake Ontario since 1976 and has fished professionally since 1984. Owner/operator of THRILLSEEKER Sportfishing Charters and Owner/Captain of Team THRILLSEEKER tournament team. Currently and since 1999 calls Olcott Harbor home port. Prior to that Oak Orchard was home port.
Capt. Vince Pierleoni/Team THRILLSEEKER has won 14 professional tournaments in both NY and Canada. He has also won 7 Lake Ontario Challenge Cup Championships, the Canadian King of the lake Championship (2016), and the Canadian "Kings Cup" (2016). Capt. Vince Pierleoni and Team THRILLSEEKER hold the record for 1-day catches in 5 fish format events, 6 fish format events, and 12 fish format events.
Capt. Vince Pierleoni is extremely active in fishery issues and serves on the Niagara County fishery advisory board, the Lake Ontario binational committee, and the NYS Lake Ontario panel.
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.
Scott Brauer of Gasport, NY is a professional angler and the owner of Maki Plastics, an innovative ice fishing bait company. He is an Ice Team Pro Staffer for Clam Outdoors. Scott spends much of his time travelling the ice belt promoting the great sport of ice fishing. It's not uncommon to see Scott at just about any ice fishing venue, especially here in Western New York where he conduction on-ice clinics and in-store promotions involving hard water angling.
Wil Wegman is an award winning Canadian outdoor writer whose ice fishing articles have appeared in most Canadian and many US Outdoor magazines. He has been a guest on several Canadian Fishing Shows at ice fishing locations from Lake of the Woods in the northwest to his home waters of Lake Simcoe. For more than three decades he has been recognized as a Lake Simcoe Specialist and he is the fishing columnist for Lake Simcoe Living magazine. Wil taught ice fishing courses at several colleges in southern Ontario for 20 years before hitting the seminar circuit, speaking at venues across the province about ways anglers can ice more fish. He was a member of Team Canada at the 1991 World Ice Fishing Championships, has several top ten finishes in the Canadian Ice Fishing Championships, has won the Perch Attack on Lake Simcoe and the 2011 Perchin for MS event there. He has been on the HT Pro Staff team since the mid 1980's and is also sponsored by Rapala and Tourism Simcoe County. He is the only two-time winner of the Bill Bond Memorial Award, for his dedication to “conserving and promoting the fishery of Lake Simcoe.” In 2017 Wil was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame and won the Rick Morgan Professional Conservation Award and the National Recreational Fisheries Award. Wil is excited to present south of his border and letting US hard water enthusiasts know all about the Ice fishing capital of Canada- Lake Simcoe. Wil’s presentation will include tactics to ice more of this lake’s legendary jumbo yellow perch, as well as lake trout and whitefish. As an added bonus he’ll talk about ice fishing northern wilderness lakes for Brookies and Splake.
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.
If you love to fish the Great Lakes for Kings, this is a great way to "Kick Off" your 2019 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 2018 School). So, signup early so that you are guaranteed a seat to avoid being left out in the cold.