In Plattsburgh, flexibility rhymes with a record number of fishing tournaments on Lake Champlain


This year, seven professional bass fishing tournaments are held in the city of Plattsburgh. Kristy Kennedy, vice president of marketing for the Adirondack Coast Visitors Office of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, attributes this to leaving the door open to tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cara ChapmanIn Plattsburgh, flexibility rhymes with a record number of fishing tournaments on Lake Champlain

Matt Becker holds a catch during a professional bass fishing tournament held along the Adirondack coast of Lake Champlain. Photo by Cobi Pellerito

The pandemic has brought many things to a halt, such as concerts, fairs and other large-scale events. But many local fishing tournaments went ahead as planned. Kennedy said the visitors bureau has gone above and beyond to work with organizers who still want to bring their competitions to Plattsburgh.

“We’ve been through all the hoops, we’ve done all the reporting,” she said, “but we’ve shown it can still be done.”

The chamber took on a challenge, Kennedy said, and it paid off, with more fishing derbies this season than ever before. She said the visitors’ office had demonstrated to tournament organizers that they could adapt to COVID protocols if necessary, an attractive feature in the year-long planning process when no one knew what the restrictions might look like. of this summer.

“That’s why they kind of came forward and said, ‘You already know what you’re doing. Do you agree? And we said ‘yes’.”

Kennedy said she hopes the tournaments will give a boost to local marinas, which have been hit hard by the pandemic. Three larger tournaments are each expected to attract 400 or more anglers at a time, and more than 2,000 are expected throughout the season, in addition to their families, she added.

The most recent study on the economic impact of tournaments was carried out in 2017, when there were five competitions. That year, fishing expenses are estimated to have contributed more than $3 million to Plattsburgh’s economy.

Kennedy said the visitors’ bureau also prioritized maintaining its relationship with East Coast Watercross. This organization oversees personal watercraft racing competitions and will bring its national championships to Plattsburgh City Beach for the third time in July.

“It’s going to be a very busy time on the lake, but I think it’s because of the hard work taking all the precautions we needed, but showing that we had to adapt,” Kennedy said. “You can’t just shut down, you can’t just say no to tourism and keep going.”

All tournaments are open to the public and Kennedy encourages people to come out for the vendors and meet the anglers and racers. Participants in the first Fishing Tournament will check in this Sunday at the Dock Street boat launch in Plattsburgh.

Learn more about bass fishing tournaments held along Lake Champlain’s Adirondack Coast here.


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