by Lorraine Payette, written August 24, 2013
(GANANOQUE, ONTARIO) Gananoque celebrated in the early morning of August 22. A select handful of fishing enthusiasts gathered at the berm in Joel Stone Heritage Park to receive awards, prizes, donations and recognition for some of the great things that have happened this past year.
The “Gananoque, Ontario’s Ultimate Fishing Town 2013” (UFT 2013) committee was out in force to make sure all of the right people were recognized for their contributions. On hand were committee members Sandra Wright of Executive Secretarial Services & Art Supplies, Fred Casnaw of The What Not Shoppe and Darrell Bradley of Regional Web Portals.
“We’re pleased to say that we won Ontario,” said Wright, chair of the committee. “We tried for Canada, but maybe next year.”
Shelley Hirstwood, Economic Development Officer for the Town of Gananoque, accepted a beautiful plaque from the World Fishing Network as recognition to the Town for its achievement. The plaque is to be publicly displayed in the Visitor’s Centre on King Street.
“I have to thank Sandra and her team for all of this,” said Hirstwood. “Gananoque would never have achieved this without them.”
Pam Staples and her Huck Finn Fishing Derby team, Noah and Zack Szczurek, accepted a donation of $300 from the UFT 2013 to use as seed money for the 2014 tournament.
John Taylor and Bruce Wilson of the Thousand Islands Association (TIA) accepted a $600 donation to purchase a shoal marker. The organization provides all of the shoal markers in the Thousand Islands Region, both the Canadian and US waters, keeping people safe from disaster. The shoal will be named “Gananoque, Ontario’s Ultimate Fishing Town 2013”.
“The shoal is not far from here off of a tiny island,” said Taylor. “Sandy put an awful lot of work into this, and we’re very happy to receive this support.”
Duck Boat Dave and Jim Hutchings of the Gananoque and 1,000 Islands Chapter of Muskie Canada received a $1,000 donation from UFT 2013 to be used for a research project through Radio Telemetry Research at Queen’s University in Kingston.
“We started the project about nine years ago now, looking for spawning grounds and muskellunge nursery habitat by seining the waters,” said Hutchings. “We found quite a few spawn sites down here by Forsythe and Bostwick Islands, so we’re trying to expand this programme into a radio telemetry study for muskellunge with Dr. Bruce Thompson of Queen’s University, and we’re hoping to start as early as this fall if everything goes well. We want to put Floy tags into the backs of muskies so that if other anglers catch them, we can see their movements around the bodies of water, and we’re going to put radio transmitters into some of the muskies as a pilot project and see if we can track them back to their spawning areas. We hope this will be a long term project with Queen’s University.”
But the best of all was probably the Guided Fishing Excursion won by Caleb Fleming, 9; Owen Hartwick, 11; Destiny Niezen, 11; and Cole Dickson, 12. These four avid fishers got a chance to go out with locally renowned fishing guide and member of Muskie Canada, Dan Spencer, for a day of the best fishing around. The entire trip was videoed for posting on the Town web site by Gail Bradley of Regional Web Portals.
“We may not have taken Canada, but we won Ontario and finished second in all of North America,” said Darrell Bradley of the UFT 2013 committee. “We worked hard for this and we earned it.”
“We won $3,500 and we wanted to spend it in the best way possible,” said Wright. “We did $1,500 in advertising, and we gave the rest away to those we felt deserved it most. We think that these organizations and individuals have earned some positive recognition for all they do.”