MASSENA — Coming soon to Massena — the “Season of Excitement” to celebrate the St. Lawrence River being named the best fishery in the country and the arrival of six fishing tournaments at the newly renovated Massena Intake in 2021.
The MLF tournament runs from June 25 to 30, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit runs from July 29 to Aug. 2, the Toyota Series runs from Aug. 26 to 28, the BFL Phoenix Tournament runs from Sept. 10 to 12, the Cashion Rods Tournament will be held on Sept. 18, and the town of Massena’s Big Bass Blowout (B3) will close out the season the weekend of Oct. 2 and 3.
What started small continues to grow, Town of Massena Tourism Director Donald Meissner said.
“This is a really big deal. Massena earned this. We’ve been working toward this for the last five years,” he said.
Anglers will be fishing on the St. Lawrence River, which fishing equipment maker Abu Garcia recently announced as number one in the country’s Top 100 Fisheries. Selected in collaboration with a panel of fishing-industry experts, the fisheries were chosen because they stand out in a host of areas, including offering the best overall multi-species angling opportunities. The list also reserves space for those fisheries offering unparalleled species-specific fishing opportunities and experiences.
In 2019, Bassmaster Magazine also gave the St. Lawrence River the top spot in the nation for fishing. Mr. Meissner said that affirms that this is the best place to fish.
“Shame on us if we can’t take advantage of this,’ he said.
But it will be more than just fishing this summer, Mr. Meissner said. It’s an opportunity to showcase Massena’s assets. The town will be partnering with Louisville and St. Lawrence Centre mall officials.
“We want to highlight what it’s like to be in Massena, what it’s like up here. To do that, we need something to get someone’s attention, and that’s what this is all about. We’ve got so many other things. What we have that stands out is our fishing. Our fishing stands apart from all the other parts of the country, so we use that to get peoples’ interest and get them to come up here. Then we wow them with all the other things we have,” he said.
That’s why other events are in the works that will, in part, give the anglers a chance to mingle with the community.
“We’re going to try to have different events at different places,” Mr. Meissner said.
Plans include a meet-and-greet, a non-denominational community prayer breakfast at the Massena Intake, a “Fireside Storytime” with the anglers and tour at the Nicandri Nature Center, kids’ fishing tournaments, and a monster party at the beach with fireworks, band and bonfire.
“One of the unique things about this Major League Fishing event is that only half of the contestants fish at any given time. So, while half the team is out there, the other half can mingle. That’s what makes this different,” Mr. Meissner said.
He said the community prayer breakfast, which would be held in the gazebo at the Massena Intake, is being organized at the request of Major League Fishing.
“They said to us, ‘We’ve had several of our anglers over the past say to us, we would love to come to a place where we could have sort of a religious send-off.’ Some of the anglers would actually like to speak at this,” Mr. Meissner said.
He said they would also like to have activities at Springs Park, The River Course at Louisville Landing Recreation (formerly the Massena Country Club) and at the St. Lawrence Centre mall’s All American Pub.
“The bottom line is we’re trying to make this first event, Major League Fishing, a more personal, down-to-earth event,” he said.
Town Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy said anglers will find new amenities when they get to the Massena Intake.
“We are excited to host the six major tournaments this year, and we are grateful to the New York Power Authority for their commitment to the host community with these much-needed renovations. The intake will feature wonderful new amenities that will help to showcase the St. Lawrence River and our potential to be the gateway for tourism and economic development for the north country. Massena has great activities in store for our residents and visitors, and we are excited for the grand opening that will take place sometime in May, with the completion of the work for the project,” he said.
For more information about the events and activities that will take place, visit www.exploremassena.com or using a smart phone, visitors can download the free Explore Massena app to stay connected to all important announcements regarding the “Season of Excitement” on the St. Lawrence River.