Steve Piatt

Steve Piatt, who was editor of New York Outdoor News since its inception until he retired in April of this year, was named recipient of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association M. Paul Keesler New York Outdoor Citizen Award for 2020.

Steve Piatt, editor of New York Outdoor News since its inception until he retired this year, has been named recipient of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association M. Paul Keesler New York Outdoor Citizen Award for 2020.

NYSOWA made the announcement at the group’s virtual meeting Oct. 22.

The Keesler award goes to an individual or organization that has raised the public’s awareness of outdoor recreational opportunities and conservation issues in New York state. It’s named after the late M. Paul Keesler, who spent nearly five decades promoting and conserving the outdoor wonders and recreational opportunities within New York state.

Piatt, a Waverly resident, fulfills the vision of the award’s founder through his journalistic endeavors and with his practical mentorship of youth.

In 2004 Piatt became the founding editor of New York Outdoor News, a post he continued to man until his retirement in April. Every other week for 16 years, Piatt produced information-packed publications that reported on the developments in the outdoor world, especially as it pertained to New York anglers, hunters, trappers and fish and game. Readers learned about a myriad of outdoor recreational opportunities.

When conservation issues faced our fish and wildlife, or when political issues threatened our right to hunt, fish, trap or own firearms, Piatt made sure it was addressed. He did so through reports that he either wrote or assigned to his handpicked staff. When the information was not being disseminated in highly journalistic reports, Steve would deliver his message through editorials and his award-winning “Out There” column.

NYSOWA awarded Piatt its Pass It On Award in 2016 for his ability to do just that: pass on the information and the skills to others to continue our outdoor heritage. Judges of the highest credentials from across the nation often judged his articles “best” in NYSOWA’s Excellence in Craft awards program.

Steve not only has fulfilled the criterion of the award through his writing and editing, but also through his mentoring of youngsters. He almost always is accompanying a young hunter on the youth hunting days New York holds for deer, turkey, and pheasant. He teaches them the right way and, at the same time, exposes them to the outdoor and conservation treasures of our state.

Meanwhile, for the first time ever, the NYSOWA has named two people to earn the organization’s coveted Pass It On Award for 2020. Kenyon Simpson of Bolton Landing and Bill Schwerd of Middle Grove received the recognition this year because it is difficult to mention one person without the other — they have been working together and volunteering for 50-plus years.

Both have worked together as hunting safety instructors and promoted the 4-H Shooting Sports Program for Youth. They have held clinics for other instructors and been designated Master Instructors. Each year one of them holds a major banquet as a fundraiser for the 4-H program to fund and promote youth shooting sports and hunter education projects. Both have received numerous awards for their efforts and long service as instructors.

This annual award honors an active member of NYSOWA who has done the most to “pass on” our outdoor heritage.

DEC to discuss Northern Montezuma WMA

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will host a virtual presentation to share details about a recently completed habitat management plan for Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area.

The event will feature a 60-minute presentation that discusses the WMA’s history, habitat goals, and planned management actions, followed by a question-and-answer period. This presentation will be recorded and made available to the public afterward.

Sign up for the online presentation by visiting the Northern Montezuma WMA webpage at Find a link to the online registration at the top of the page. Type your questions into the chat box during the presentation, or email questions to

Contact Michael Palermo at (585) 226-5383 with any specific requests for accommodations.

Panfishing fun

Fishing for perch is fun. Of course it is, because panfishing is meant to be fun. It’s always nice to catch salmon and trout, but it’s just as exciting hauling in a 12-inch fish with ultra-light gear. And, they taste delicious.

I dub the big ones “thumpers” because that is what they do when they hit. Thump, thump, thump goes the ultra-light rod.

The buzz on the internet says they are catching some nice ones in Cayuga Lake at Union Springs, on the east side. It has a great launch site.

Port and Sodus bays in Wayne County always have perch this time of year. They return to the bays from their summertime home of Lake Ontario. There are not many embayments in our region that connect with the Great Lakes. Fish the points where the drop-offs hold the fish. Live bait works; however, you can catch thumpers with artificial bait. Try Berkley Power Bait or Gulp 2-inch minnows. Stick a few spikes or perch eyes on the hook and get your net ready.

Think safety this time of year. Becoming immersed in cold water can be lethal. And, don’t forget that starting Nov. 1 you must be wearing a personal flotation device. It cannot be lying in the bow of your boat; it must be worn. This includes kayakers, canoeists, and those aboard boats 21 feet or smaller.

Chris Kenyon’s “Outdoors” appears every other Sunday. Contact Chris at (315) 879-1341 or

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