It surprised me to read about certain members of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators postulating and wanting to stipulate restrictions on where professional anglers can cast a line during competition. As if somehow the act of casting in waters and tributaries “outside” of St. Lawrence County diminishes or distracts from the economic benefits derived by the host city and surrounding villages and towns. Let me assure these members it does not.
There is no economic impact in dictating where angler lines are cast but rather where those anglers must launch from and to where they must return. In the most recent tourneys, that has been Waddington and Massena, with Massena again hosting another tourney soon. These host cities serve not only as the collective gathering point of the anglers, their families, and staff — but also where the economic benefits begin and blossom outward.
Tournament organizations and their anglers wish to be located as close to the designated launch and weigh-in sites as possible and will seek out lodging, eateries and other amenities within or as close to the host city as possible. This is where they spend their dollars, not in the middle of competition on the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario or other waters. Trying to dictate to tournament organizations what waters their anglers can and cannot compete on is an unnecessary and destructive bureaucratic intrusion that can only drive these competitions to seek less intrusive hosts.
It would be better use of county resources to assist towns and villages to improve and expand on those things I listed above that can help anchor these anglers within the hosting community. Discussions and strategies on improving the availability of temporary lodging and other amenities available in our communities is economically far more important to our future than where a pro angler casts their line.
The writer is a member of the Massena Town Board.