What Does It Take To Be An Ultimate Fishing Town?

It?s that time of year again for towns to show their pride and prove to the country why they deserve to be known as the best fishing town in the country. Yes, it?s time for World Fishing Network?s Ultimate Fishing Town Contest!Last year, both the U.S. and Canadian versions came down to a tight two-town race down the stretch. When the smoke cleared, Roscoe, New York was named the Ultimate Fishing Town for the U.S. and Chapleau, Ontario for Canada. Why did these towns win? What makes them so special? And what were they planning on doing with the grand prize of $25,000 community donation for fishing-related causes? Read on for a profile of each Ultimate Fishing Town.

Roscoe, New York

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Before last year, Roscoe was already called ?Trout Town USA.? With such a bold nickname it may not come as a surprise to hear they earned the most votes with 267,000 - except Roscoe got all those votes despite being a town of only 600 people. To put that in perspective, only 10 people were in the most recent graduating high school class. Perhaps even more miraculously, they had to deal with a three-day power outage towards the end of the voting period, meaning most residents had no access whatsoever to the Internet to vote. They stayed in the game by visiting other people in the communities who had generators, lugging along their laptops to keep up the voting. As you can see, this tiny Catskills country community worked very hard to earn their new nickname: Roscoe, Trout Town USA, ?Ultimate Fishing Town.?

How did they do it?

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Community spirit may have played the biggest part in getting the vote. This was not just the work of a few dedicated individuals - though there certainly were some who carried the torch the most. Instead, the entire town got caught up in the frenzy. Banners were set up across town about the contest and emails were sent out to remind residents to take pride in their community and vote as often as they could. Local media did its part not only to make residents aware of the contest, but also provided updates on the entire process. People in town rallied together for the cause. But it takes more than just 600 people to get 270,000 votes. Through word-of-mouth and social networks like Facebook and Twitter, many people outside of Roscoe voted for the town to win. All of that effort continued throughout the process, right through to the final day. Good thing too, because this small town beat out second-place and fellow New York town Waddington by just 1,445 votes! Both towns were deserving, but Roscoe shows that even power outages aren't enough to stop the drive of a united community.

What makes Roscoe an Ultimate Fishing Town?

#Roscoe is famed for its fly fishing and trout streams.
If you?re looking for a great place to go fly fishing, it's tough to beat Roscoe - and the town fully embraces the sport. Not only do they claim to be the birthplace of American Dry Fly Fishing, but they also have a Fly Fishing Museum and is home to the oldest family-owned fly fishing shop in the country at 83 years. Just west of the town, famed trout streams Beaverkill River and Willowemoc Creek meet together in the Junction Pool, an absolute hotspot of fish activity that?ll please the most critical of fly fishers. Three other top trout streams flow near Roscoe as well, filled with brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Outside of that, there are several lakes and reservoirs for those who prefer bass, perch, and sunfish. Combine all that with its beautiful setting - Roscoe?s the gateway to New York?s 300,000-acre Catskill Park and surrounded by forests and pristine waters - and you have the recipe for a truly worthy Ultimate Fishing Town.

Impact of winning

#Mariko Izumi poses with some Roscoe residents and the winning check and trophy.
Roscoe had been planning for two years to build a pedestrian bridge to connect Riverside Park with the Junction Pool. Now with the $25,000 donation, they finally could see it through. A fishing ramp has also been built to improve accessibility to the Willowemoc.On top of that, there?s a focus on putting some of the remaining money towards developing educational programs for children and youth. Not only to get kids outdoors, but also to inspire youngsters to keep the fishing industry thriving.With the all the national attention Roscoe received from this contest, anglers from across the state and even country are now more likely to consider traveling to Trout Town USA for their next fishing trip.

Chapleau, Ontario

#There's no doubting that Chapleau has some beautiful surroundings.
The two-town race in Canada wasn?t quite as close as the U.S. one, but considering the overall numbers, it?s still substantial. Chapleau?s 157,480 votes were only 10,000 more than fellow Ontario town Port Colborne. Located in the northeast portion of the province, this town of 2,300 is rather isolated, hours away from any nearby city. Like Roscoe, Chapleau rode the wave of community spirit to get their well earned $25,000 donation.

How did they do it?

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The ?friends telling friends? approach proved to be the deciding factor in Chapleau?s win, especially through social tools like Facebook and email. As word got out, support just kept growing, and pride in the town eventually took over and was seen in all facets of the community, whether business or personal. Like Roscoe, the local media got involved and even ads were placed in newspapers, radio, and television to help promote the contest.

What makes Chapleau an Ultimate Fishing Town?

#A young angler holds up a walleye.
Chapleau is the gateway to the largest Crown Game Preserve in the world: over 2,700 square miles, making it a prime eco-tourism destination for nature lovers and wildlife travelers. Within this wilderness paradise are hundreds of lakes and rivers filled with a huge variety of different species. While Roscoe?s charm lies in fly fishing for trout, Chapleau's more like a jack-of-all-trades: it has everything you could want. Anglers can target northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, splake, smallmouth bass, whitefish, lake trout, brook trout, and more. Fishing is great any time of year, from catching panfish with the kids and ice fishing for walleye to fly fishing for trout and taking out a kayak for bass in deep cover. Basically, what you want, you can get, because Chapleau's got it all.

Impact of Winning

#Chapleau's $25,000 check and winning trophy.
Just winning the Ultimate Fishing Town contest has already done a lot for Chapleau. With that exposure, the town was put on the map right away as a great fishing destination. When taking into account the prize winnings, tourism continues to be the focal point as new signage and promoting pamphlets were planned to help promote the town?s fishing opportunities even more. In addition, educational programs and fishing derbies for youth were in the works to help bring excitement to the sport for future generations.As of now, the Chapleau Fishing Advisory Committee, who were instrumental in getting the word out about the contest, are accepting proposals for funding.Aside from the exposure and the donation, this contest helped renew pride in the community. Even a year later, evidence of the accomplishment is still visible. At an annual pike fishing derby in early February, crowds in attendance cheered when free Ultimate Fishing Town Canada shirts were being handed out.

Who'll be the 2012 Ultimate Fishing Town?

Both Roscoe and Chapleau prove that it's not the size of the town that counts, it's the size of its heart. Take pride in your community and pre-register your town now! Who knows? With a little hard work, your town could be the next Ultimate Fishing Town. Below are the key dates to keep in mind for the UFT contest.
March 1Pre-Registration begins
April 2Nomination period begins
May 1Voting period begins
May 31Voting period ends
June 6Winners are announced

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