A Day on the Lake with Brookdog Fishing Co.

I used to love fishing with my dad and sister from the dock on Keuka Lake or sitting on the bank of the Erie Canal waiting patiently to catch little sunfish. We never caught more than a couple of little guys; it didn’t matter, I liked being outside, hanging out with Paige and Dad waiting for a nibble. There was one time that I caught a (slightly) bigger fish, but in our battle over the bait, the fish won and my pole went sailing into the Canal.

In the last few years, we haven’t fished nearly as often as we used to, so Paige and I thought a fishing charter might be an awesome way to spend an afternoon together with Dad. Brookdog Fishing Co. graciously hosted our novice group (well, Dad knows what he’s doing but Paige and I were a little rusty) for an afternoon on Lake Erie with guide Ryan.

We had low expectations, primed by our years on the Canal, but even if we had way higher expectations, Ryan would have beat them. I was excited about being in the water in the middle of a rare string of 90° days in Buffalo; catching a fish or two would have been icing on the cake.

That, simply, is not Ryan’s style. He’s all about putting his clients where the fish are and making sure we have everything necessary to catch them. We launched into the Niagara River, but crowded waters made the River un-fishable. Instead, we took a quick ride into Lake Erie and fished a few different spots, starting further out in the water and then moving towards the harbor as boaters headed in for the evening.

Brookdog Fishing Co. | Lake Erie Fishing Charter

Brookdog Fishing Co. | Lake Erie Fishing Charter

Brookdog takes care of everything: poles, bait, baiting, unhooking, photos and bottles of water on ice. While we opted for a half-day trip on Lake Erie, Brookdog offers a ton of options, from year-round walk and wade fly fishing to multi-day charters in the region’s bigger bodies of water. Ryan’s boat is gorgeous and a really comfortable place to spend the day.

As we headed out towards the Lake, Ryan let us know what the game plan was. First, we’d find a good spot, and then we’d start fishing and shooting the shit (his words, not mine). This made me a little nervous, because he was talking to three people who are very good at sitting in silence with each other. Mom takes care of all our family’s small talk.

It turns out I was worried for nothing, because Ryan can talk about anything with anyone and he knows so much about fishing, running a small business, doing what you love and the Buffalo Niagara region that he’s willing to share. He’s fished in Buffalo forever, traveled around the world catching fish and is currently on a mission to fly fish every state in the US before turning 50.

Brookdog’s guides (Ryan, as well as his friend and business partner Nate) focus on native species, and the fish we caught in Lake Erie (smallmouth bass and freshwater drum or sheepshead) have been here for thousands of years. We caught a pretty even mix of the two using live bait, and Paige got a gorgeous white bass as well.

We didn’t look as cool as Ryan and Nate do summer fly fishing in the Niagara River and Lake Erie, but we can pretend. Also, what’s a girl gotta do to get one of those Brookdog shirts?

In our five or so hours on the water, Dad won the prize for the most fish, as well as the smallest fish. I took home the prize of the biggest fish. Paige may have only gotten two, but her patience paid off, because they were the two prettiest fish of the day.

Brookdog Fishing Co. | Lake Erie Fishing Charter

Brookdog Fishing Co. | Lake Erie Fishing Charter

I went to bed feeling like I was still bobbing up and down with the lake, and woke up the next morning a little sunburned and sore (those fish are serious fighters), but that’s just the sign of a really good day on the water.

If you’re feeling like booking a trip of your own with Brookdog Fishing Co., and you should, you can do that here: https://www.brookdogfishing.com/book-fishing-trip/.

Ryan guides Buffalonians and tourists of all fishing abilities year-round, so don’t worry if your summer is already packed. He assured us that catching salmon in the fall is also pretty cool.

I received a complimentary trip with Brookdog Fishing Co. in exchange for writing a review on this blog. All opinions are my own.

Get Outside with these 5 Buffalo Destinations

I was recently asked to share my 5 favorite places to get outside in Western New York. It took a long time to narrow my list down to 5 beautiful spots that were all a little different from one another. If you’re looking for a new hike, picnic or ice cream spot, these destinations are worth the drive.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

This may seem like a long drive from downtown, but the almost 11,000 acres of ponds, forest and grasslands at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge are worth the trip. The “Alabama Swamps” are accessible year-round for hiking, biking, kayaking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The visitor center is a beautiful building with well-maintained trails right behind it and additional trails are just a short drive away. Everything is pet-friendly and in-season hunting and fishing are allowed.

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

While You’re There

One of the best things about the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is that there isn’t much around besides herons and ponds. If you’re not ready to head back to the Thruway, check out the nearby town of Medina for cute shops and good Mexican food.

Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream

79 Canal Street, Lockport, NY 14094
1900 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14214

Lake Effect first opened in Lockport and they recently expanded with a location in North Buffalo on Hertel Ave. The Lockport location is bigger; the Hertel Ave. location is more central. Both are home to the delicious homemade ice cream Lake Effect is now famous for.

Cody and I highly recommend salty caramel, extra cookies extra cream, peanut butter epiphany and revolution coffee. You’ll also find Buffalo-only flavors like Paula’s glazed donut and sponge candy.

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Lake Effect Ice Cream

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Lake Effect Ice Cream

While You’re There

Lockport: Lake Effect Ice Cream’s Canal Street scoop shop overlooks the historic Flight of Five on the Erie Canal. From here, you can walk to many of Lockport’s gems, including Steamworks, Flight of Five Winery, Stooges Stuffed Burger Bar (it’s as good as it sounds), Lockport Cave, Niagara Zipper (that would be a zipline over the canal) and the First Presbyterian Church’s Tiffany windows.

Hertel Ave.: Within walking distance, there are two more shops serving homemade ice cream, Buffalo favorite Lloyd Taco Factory, friendly bars and cute stores selling everything from home goods to motorcycle parts. Hertel Ave. is one of the city’s nicest neighborhoods for an after-dinner stroll.

Devil’s Hole State Park

Robert Moses Parkway, Niagara Falls, NY 14305

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Devil's Hole State Park

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Devil's Hole State Park

Devil’s Hole isn’t a huge state park, but it’s a great place to start a hike because its trails connect to Whirlpool State Park and Artpark State Park. You can also park here to catch the Robert Moses Recreation Trail. The gorge trail in Devil’s Hole follows the river and the rim trail offers great views, both of which are pretty cool.

While You’re There

Obviously Niagara Falls is just miles down the road, so if you haven’t been in a while you should probably stop by. Also nearby is the super cute town of Lewiston, which is home to Orange Cat Coffee Co., Brewed and Bottled, Artpark, and lots of antique shops and boutiques.

Glen Park

Glen Avenue, Williamsville, NY 14221

A pretty impressive waterfall, well-maintained gardens, beautiful willow trees and lots of green space make Glen Park a lovely picnic spot. Across Glen Street, Ellicott Creek continues into Amherst State Park, perfect for an easy afternoon hike.

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Glen Park

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Glen Park

While You’re There

One of my favorite things about Glen Park is that it’s nestled right into the village. Williamsville’s Main Street is packed with shops and restaurants, including Sweet Jenny’s Ice Cream, located on the edge of the park in the Williamsville Water Mill.

Bird Island Pier

1170 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY 14213

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Bird Island Pier

Walk along the Niagara River for amazing Peace Bridge and city skyline views. The pier starts at Broderick Park, which, for many, was the last stop on the Underground Railroad before entering Canada. The pier and park are always filled with locals and visitors alike.

Get Outside in Buffalo, NY | Peace Bridge from Bird Island Pier

While You’re There

Unity Island, which is home to Broderick Park, also boasts Unity Island Park. If you’re coming from the north, you’ll pass Community Beer Works, Bootleg Bucha and Resurgence Brewing Company on your way to Bird Island Pier. The Five Points neighborhood isn’t far either!