Who we are…
The Niagara River Anglers Association is dedicated to a clean environment, education, and the preservation of wildlife. The NRAA is a fishing club based in Niagara County and formed in 1982. We are a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization and all funds raised from our various projects go back into conservation and the education of others. The NRAA advocates catch-and-release only policies.The organization’s purpose is to educate the public, both youth and adult on a variety of issues related to resource conservation and enhancement, along with the preservation of fish and wildlife. Together they represent the most important goal the organization can aspire and achieve. They were part of the original founding principals and are integral still today. They are represented in all of the organization’s activities.The organization was formed by a small group of fishermen that believed that the water of the Niagara River was in need of some drastic attention. Cleaner waters, improved water access, targeted fish stocking programs, youth and adult education, and a better understanding of the surrounding environment, was all necessary to improve the declining conditions of the fishery. Conditions improved and the group also began to focus it’s concern on the waters of Lake Ontario and it’s many tributaries. Today the group is made up of hundreds of members. Members are concerned about the present and future of sport fishing and it’s economic benefits in the Great Lakes, adjoining waters and in protecting and enhancing the regional sport fishery and it’s wetlands, habitat and environment.
The Niagara River Anglers Today
It must be first noted that the NRAA is a non-profit organization. While we hold fund raisers and collect dues, we also give back to the communities in our area. We have some guiding principals that are contained in our Constitution and Bylaws. To briefly give you a flavor of our Purpose and Goals, it goes something like this;
- To educate the youth and adult public on issues which improve the sport fishery for all species through stocking, sound catch and release practices, and improved fishing techniques.
- To promote the continuous improvement of water quality and to protect and enhance the regional sport fisher and its wetlands, habitat and environment, for all individuals and organizations in the Niagara region.
- To emphasize the importance of a clean and litter free environment.
- To promote good sportsmanship through youth and adult programs.
- To encourage improved landowner / fisherman relations through better communications.
- To pursue adequate access, along with the proper management of the Niagara River and adjoining areas, including but not exclusive to;
1. Boat Launches
2. Walking Paths
3. Fishing Docks
4. Boat Docking
5. Fish Cleaning Stations
For many years now we have taken the lead in a number of activities. You can find a list of our current events on our home page. But we want to outline a few and provide you with some background information on them.
This event was started by a few members back in April of 1983. They would gather at the Lewiston, NY sand docks, dip some smelt, clean them and fry them on the spot. This event kept growing over the years and allowed visitors and non-smelters to take part in the “eating” aspect of the event.
As with most great things, it soon got so big that fish would have to be bought. This was due to the unpredictability of when the smelt would run up the Niagara River. So a date was established and since has been held the same day each year. It is the first Friday on May starting around 5:30pm.
This event is so popular that the Village of Lewiston has become a partner with the NRAA and turned it into a week long festival. But we are still there on that Friday doing our thing. The NRAA with all its volunteers, cooks up over 300 lbs of purchased smelt every year.
Here is an event that again has been going on for years. We would have kids wanting to fish register starting at 8:00am and fish till 11:00am. Then their catch would be weighed in and logged. Following this, each and every child gets a prize. They range from rods & reels to tackle boxes. Also available are nets, lures and an array of other fishing related items.
With it popularity, the NRAA reached out to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to join partners with us on this day. For several years now it has grown to become a day long event filled with a variety of activities and exhibitions. They range from hands on activities for the kids to live animal exhibits and shows.
This has become a great weekend event. There are lots of activities both educational and hands on for the kids. The NRAA makes a strong showing with it’s “kid’s mini pond”. This allows children of all ages to experience first hand what its like to fish and if lucky, hook a nice trout. The event draws thousands to the area each year.
Each year we take part in many other activities and events. They range from the “Western New York Boat Show” in January, to a number of localized events throughout the area. The NRAA is not an organization that just sits around. We GET INVOLVED.
We participate in a “PEN PROJECT” each year around the last of April. Here at a dock in Youngstown we set up a net and pump system to rear trout & salmon. The past few years we have been raising Steelhead. They are delivered from the DEC and placed in the pens. Here they reside for about 4 to 6 weeks depending on growth and water temperatures.
Come the first of May, we are receiving our ‘walleye sac fry” for rearing in our ponds at the NRAA Wilderness Preserve. There is a lot of work involved in getting the ponds ready. Also, the harvesting of the walleye fingerlings requires a lot of work by volunteers before being released into the lower Niagara River. Check it out and don’t be afraid to volunteer. It’s a great learning experience.
Then there are our in-house events. We hold a kids fishing contest at the Wilderness Preserve each year. In some years when the weather has cooperated we even have a winter outing there. Both ice fishing, skating, snowman making, food and of course a big bond fire to keep warm.
There is also our “ROGER TOBEY MEMORIAL STEELHEAD FISHING CONTEST”. This is held in February each year and was first started in 1986. It is still going strong today. You may fish in any body of water and weigh your catch in for a chance winning a piece of the prize money. We have people that come from as far away as Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania year after year to enjoy the fantastic fishery we have here. It is one of the longest running contests in the area.
We also host a “BASS CLASSIC” each year. This was started way back in the summer of 1983. It is the longest running fishing contest in this area. It is usually held around the June or July time period. Some great fish are weighed in every year showing what a magnificent fisherman’s paradise we live in.
It is often said…
“That to be successful in your future, you must understand where you have come from.”
Please take some time to learn about the rich history that has been generated over the past 25 years by the NIAGARA RIVER ANGLERS ASSOCIATION.