Fishing at Dexter
A glowing description by a New Yorker
The Forest and Stream of New York one of the foremost among newspapers which confines its attentions to matters of this kind and kindred subjects, furnishes the following from a New York city correspondent who no doubts know of what he writes. We copy entire the editors preface an the correspondents letter.
Where to go in Summer. Eureka a correspondent has found the place. He describes it below. It seems to be just the spot which five hundred of our subscribers are looking for and asking about every season. No doubt there will be a rush of angels there next July, on the strength of this letter, which will take the village of Dexter and the denizens of its adjacent waters by surprise. If they find everything to their satisfaction they will no doubt thank both our correspondent and our paper for the information given.
New York April 13th 1876
About one year ago I was asking myself the question which, I have no doubt, is now agitating the minds of some of your readers, "Where can I go for a few weeks or months during the hot weather of summer and find a quiet healthy place where the living will be fair and the fishing good; a place easily reached by rail, and last but not least where the expense will be so moderate as to come within the means of a limited purse?" One day, in conversation with a person who was familiar with the country about the eastern end of Lake Ontario, he advised me to go to Dexter, a small village near the mouth of Black River Jefferson Co. N.Y. He told me that I could there get good accommodations for a country place-boats, board and livery,- all cheap and better fishing than at any other place he knows of.
Acting on this information, myself and wife went to Dexter early in June last, and I must say that I found my friend had not overstated the advantages of the place. We found board in a pleasant private family, price six dollars per week. For a few dollars I got he exclusive use of a good boat for the season and for more than three months I enjoyed better fishing than I ever did before in lake, river or ocean. Dexter is eight miles west of Watertown, five miles northeast of Sacket's Harbor and seventeen miles from Cape Vincent. It is about one mile from the entrance of Black River into the bay, which forms the eastern portion of Sacket's Harbor. At Dexter is found the first dam across the river, and the first ascending from the lake, and not being able to pass the obstruction crowd in vast numbers, especially in the spring, and immense numbers are then taken by simply lifting them out with scoop nets. By the first of June, fishing with hook and line becomes good and from that time onward until cold weather a person of ordinary skill need never go out fishing (without coming home with a full catch)*
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I think that perhaps more kinds of varieties of fish are found at this place than at almost any other one place on our inland waters. The muskellunge seems to be considered as the game fish par excellence of the lakes and his capture in the waters about here is the most prized, and the people living here say that more of them are taken about the mouth of Black River than at any other place along the shore of Lake Ontario. Pickerel and black bass are quite plenty, the former are frequently taken of eight and ten pounds weight and sometime much larger. Black bass run from one to four pounds and affords me much sport by their gamey qualities. I think they will fight harder and escape oftener than any other fish that lives in fresh water Most of the above mentioned are taken by trolling with spinning bait or spoon hook. Walleyed pike are plenty, and at times take the hook freely. In June and July they are in fine condition, fat and firm-fleshed, and are excellent for the table. They bite best here in the early morning or near evening. I sometimes went out about sunrise and returned to breakfast, with eight or ten fish averaging two pounds each. Other kinds such as rock bass, yellow perch sunfish mullets eels, bullheads, and catfish all the way up to thirty pounds can be taken by those ()* of that kind of fishing. The surrounding country is pleasant the roads generally good and many fine drives may be had one road running close to the shore of the harbor and lake()* a dozen miles or more around Pillar Point affords one of the most pleasant drives I ever enjoyed.
Parties frequently leave here for a day's excursion among the Thousand Islands visiting Cape Vincent, Clayton and Alexandria Bay and returning before dark. Fare for the excursion $1.
In short, Mr. Editor, I feel satisfied that I got more real enjoyment and quiet comfort at Dexter, than I ever did at places of greater note and more pretension. There are two hotels in the place and it is said that they set good tables and the charges are reasonable. A limited number of agreeable persons may find board as I did in private families if they wish to stay some weeks or for the summer; and I think that those who like home comforts and good fishing, boating and bathing will, on trial do as your humble servant intends doing so again. It can be reached by Hudson River and Central railroad to Rome thence by the Rome Watertown & Ogdensburg railroad to Limerick on the Cape Vincent branch, thence by stage one mile and a half to Dexter. Any of your readers desiring more particulars are at liberty to call on me No. 204 East Seventeenth Street and I shall cheerfully give them any further information I am possessed of.