If you care about preserving and protecting your rights to hunt, fish and enjoy New York’s great outdoors, then mark your calendar and save this date: Tuesday, Jan. 25. That’s the word from New York State Assembly Minority Leader, Brian Kolb. And that is when the Assembly’s second annual Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day event is being held at the State Legislative Office Building in Albany, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If you care about preserving and protecting your rights to hunt, fish and enjoy New York’s great outdoors, then mark your calendar and save this date: Tuesday, Jan. 25. That’s the word from New York State Assembly Minority Leader, Brian Kolb. And that is when the Assembly’s second annual Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day event is being held at the State Legislative Office Building in Albany, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Sportsmen’s Day is a bipartisan event focused on celebrating the positive economic contributions outdoor recreational activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling and ATV riding have on our state’s economy. All combined, outdoor recreational activities generate billions in economic activity for New York.


Chuck Cunningham, director of political affairs for the National Rifle Association, will give the keynote address, which is free and open to all New Yorkers. In January 2010, more than 2,000 sportsmen attended and made Sportsmen’s Day a must-attend event. The 2011 Sportsmen’s Day is planned to be even bigger—and better!


In addition, a blockbuster lineup of speakers and over two dozen grassroots organizations and companies, involved in outdoor recreation, will be present. Speakers at 2011 Sportsmen’s Day will include Tom King, president of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association; Stephen Alstadt, president of Shooters Committee On Political Education; William Schwerd, executive director of 4-H NYS Shooting Sports; and James Rabbia, plant manager for Remington Arms.


Members of the state Assembly have extended the invitation to attend the Sportsmen’s Day 2011 gathering to all state residents. To make a reservation to attend, e-mail Assemblyman Brian Kolb at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, or call his office at 518-455-5073.


Brian Kolb serves as Leader of the Assembly Republican Conference and is the only Legislative Leader in state government who lives in, works in, and represents upstate New York. He was named the 2010 Legislator of the Year by the NYS Rifle and Pistol Association and received the Sandra Lee Wirth Legislator of the Year and Politician of the Year awards from SCOPE in 2010.


Hard-water fishing


According to Jud Peck, fishing expert at huntfishnyoutdoors.com, the hard-water gang is a happy gang. All of the area’s small waters are good-to-go and the larger ones are getting there. Predictions are for the cold weather to last for awhile.


Closest to home, Conesus Lake was not completely frozen at last report but the north end, which is frozen, has been producing bluegills and for the tip-up anglers, some nice northerns.


Honeoye Lake is known for heavy fishing pressure and finicky fish. Reports say that some are doing fairly well while others are doing nothing. According to Jud, one thing about Honeoye is that you can usually catch largemouth bass on both tip-ups and with jigging rapalas. He hasn’t heard of any walleyes being caught through the ice yet this year.


If you’re willing to travel, Jud said Oneida Lake is producing quite well this year. Try for pan fish in the bays and perch and walleyes in deeper waters. The best walleye bite is reported to be around Constantia and off North Bay. Two other places to try for the perch bite are Sandy Pond and Sodus Bay. At either place you may have to cull your catch but a lot of action will keep you warm.


For river fishermen and women, the Oswego and Salmon rivers are both producing some great catches of steelhead. The bait of choice is egg sacs, pink or chartreuse, on the Oswego and white or pink mesh on the Salmon. And remember, the upper fly section on the Salmon River is closed until April 1.


Also remember to dress warmly and be safe. A soaker at this time of year is no fun and hypothermia can be deadly. Catch a big one!