By RON KOLODZIEJ
For the Recorder
The big, annual Walleye Challenge Ice Fishing Contest is being held right now, as is the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation's annual contest.
The Walleye Challenge Ice Fishing Derby is being held on Great Sacandaga and fishing hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. A total of $45,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded and the prize structure will consist of $1,000 per hour in cash payouts, plus $9,000 in miscellaneous prizes but there will also be drawings at 4 p.m. for two 4-wheelers and one snowmobile. The event is being headquartered at Lanzi's On the Lake, which also serves as the primary weigh stations, with another weigh station being at the NYS Boat Launch in Broadalbin.
The Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation's annual ice fishing contest is also being held right now. Having both contests run concurrently is actually a wise idea because you can enter and participate in both events , since they give prizes for different species so whatever you catch, there'll be a contest in which you can enter your fish. The Walleye Challenge event gives prizes only for walleyes but the GSLFF contest will offer prizes for northern pike, perch and trout. If you catch a nice walleye you can enter it in the Walleye Challenge event but if you catch a big perch, northern or trout, you can enter it in the GSLFF's contest, assuming of course that you're entered in both events. Great idea and it worked well last year. Incidentally, the GSLFF event will be essentially the same as last year, with $1,500 in prize money being awarded to the three top entries in each of the above three categories. This event will be headquartered at the Sacandaga Boating Club and the contest hours will be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You're invited to visit the weigh/measuring stations for either or both events if you'd like to get a heads-up on the winners lists in these events.
Next on our docket is the Fish House Fish and Game Club contest which is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9, just two weeks from today. The entry fee for this event is $20 for pre-entries or $25 the day of the event, and the fishing hours will be 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Three prizes will be awarded in each of three categories -- walleye, northern pike and perch -- for a total prize package of $1,850. Free coffee and chili will be served at the weigh station from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day of the event. The weigh station and contest headquarters will be located 1/4 mile north of Fish House Croners, at the town of Providence parking area on County Road 110.
Then, on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16 and 17, you can attend the eighth annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show at the Johnstown Moose Club on Route 30A. This show is a popular one with local and area sportsmen and is geared toward hunters, anglers and all other outdoors fans with exhibits on those activities plus camping, snowshoeing, archery, snowmobiling, guides and charter services, trapping and much more. Authors and industry experts will also be on hands including Brian Gosselin of the Northern Sasquatch Research Society, who will tell attendees about his 1976 encounter with a Sasquatch-like creature. Also on hand will be Alice Peck who has authored a fascinating book entitled "Peck's Lake in the Adirondacks." In her new book, Alice takes you through an interesting, all-inclusive history of the lake and chronicles her family's longtime stewardship of the surrounding area. She will also be signing copies of this new book.
Door prizes of hunting and fishing gear will be drawn throughout both days of the event.
Admission fees are $5 for adults and $1 for youngsters 15 and under. Show hours on Saturday, Feb. 16, are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sunday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information you can go to: www.adkshows.com on the web or you can call Mike Hauser, show director, at 725-5565.
REID HILL F & G CLUB CONTEST
On Saturday, Feb. 16, you can also attend and participate in the Reid Hill Fish & Game Club's Third Annual Ice Fishing Contest on GSL. This event will be headquartered at Wally's Driftwood Parl Marina and the entry fee is $15 for early registrants or $20 the day of the contest. Early registrations will be accepted until 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15. There will be an 80/20 percent payback in prize money, with 20 percent going to the club's expenses for conducting the annual Kid's Fishing Derby at the Perthshire. The contest fishing hours will be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and prizes will be awarded for the largest trout, northern pike, walleye and perch. The number of prizes and the dollar value of each one will depend upon the number of persons registered. For additional information or an entry form you can visit Ross' Bait Shop in Hagaman, Jim's Bait Shop in Mayfield, Driftwood Park Marina in Mayfield, Tuman's Tavern in Amsterdam, Fuel & Food Store in Mayfield, Dave's Bait & Tackle in Mayfield. Loopie's Pub in Tribes Hill or Post 701 in Amsterdam. You can also call Ray at 843-3452, Penny at 843-0186 or Ed at 842-5456.
While we're on the subject of the Reid Hill Fish & Game Club, you'll want to know that the group's annual meeting will be held on Sunday, March 17, at St. Michael's Club on Reid Street in Amsterdam, beginning at noon. The meeting agenda will include a review of past activities, plans for future ones, election of officers, distribution of fish and game prizes in the club's members-only contest, plus any other items of immediate importance.
Don't complain about having nothing to do. The above events generally take us only through mid-February, with the exception of the Reid Hill Fish & Game Club annual meeting, and there's plenty left over for mid-February through mid-March as well. I'll cover those events in future columns.
MORE ON ASSAULT WEAPONS
Going a tad further in our examination of the Governor's assault weapons ban, are you aware that virtually no shootings or murders in the city of Albany, or Albany County for that matter, involved long guns of any sort -- so-called assault rifles included? Albany and Schenectady seem to be charter members of the "Shooting of the Week Club," but cheap, stolen handguns are still the preferred weapon because they're easier to conceal. Not easier to shoot accurately, but easier to conceal. I said it last week and I'll say it again -- no plea bargains! You use a firearm in the commission of a felony and you go to jail for a long time. That's the answer. Start enforcing the laws already on the books and don't try to create new ones. They won't help, especially if they're done in such haste. Incidentally, if you're confused about what to do next, join the club. Considering the amount of litigation that's threatened or at least being considered in this matter, it may be a while before any particulars are ironed out. In the meantime, hang tight. When the time comes to act, you'll be apprised somehow.
Incidentally, after a well-attended show a few weekends ago, the New East Coast Arms Collectors Association will be holding another Gun & Militaria Show at the Saratoga Springs City Center on March 16 and 17.
HARRISBURG SHOW PROBLEMS
The Outdoor Show in Harrisburg has been postponed and as of now has not been rescheduled. The reason is the number of protests and drop-puts that have been registered because of their decision regarding "assault rifles."
The 2013 Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show was held at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas last week and I understand it will again be held there in 2014. I didn't attend this year's show, simply because of a conflict with other things I had planned but it's likely I will attend next year's show.
This year's show set new attendance records, marking the 35th anniversary of the event. It's the largest trade show of its kind in the world and the fifth largest trade show held in Las Vegas. The 2013 edition attracted a record overall attendance of 62,371, and featured more than 1,600 exhibitors, over 2,000 media representatives and covered 630,000 square feet of booth space. Industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries were featured.
I regret missing this year's show but I've never perfected the art of being in two places, thousands of miles apart, at the same time. I do enjoy the show and it's a great opportunity to see new products well before they're released to the public.