The Bassmasters showcased Waddington and the St. Lawrence River last week with the Elite Series fishing tournament, proving to anyone who did not yet know that the river supports a major bass population.
The event set an attendance record for the tournament, which is wonderful news for the region. The top fisherman on the river was Jonathon VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., who landed 20 fish weighing a total of 81 pounds 4 ounces.
However, the overall winner of the Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown on the St. Lawrence River won the top prize by cranking up his bass boat and navigating the 100 miles up the river to Lake Ontarios eastern basin where he landed his 20 fish weighing 88 pounds and 12 ounces. Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, found the heavyweight fish in Chaumont Bay and Henderson Harbor.
Mr. Palaniuk spent half his allotted fishing time racing to and from Lake Ontario where he decided he had his best chance to win the $100,000 top prize. He was right. But finding 20 bass weighing 81 pounds without a gut-wrenching trip in the Great Lakes is nothing to mope about.
Last week was a terrific time to showcase the world-class fishing we enjoy from Henderson to Waddington. The message to fishermen across the country is clear: The north country is the destination for perfect scenery and big fish whether they come from Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River.