Ron Bierstine named county’s sportsfishing coordinator

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 December 2022 at 9:05 am

Provided photo: Ron Bierstine has been a big part of the local fishing community for at least 25 years.

ALBION – Orleans County named a new sportsfishing coordinator on Monday. Ron Bierstine is no stranger to anglers, charter boat captains and the fishing community.

He has owned Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge since 1998, and has served on many local and state-wide committees to promote the fishery. He also works part-time as the dock master at the Orleans Marine Park, a county-owned site on Route 98.

Bierstine succeeds Mike Waterhouse, a charter boat captain who served in the post for 13 years until retiring in March 2018.

Bierstine has been volunteering to attend some trade shows to help promote the fishery. His hiring will take some pressure off Dawn Borchet, the county’s tourism director and allow the county to have a person focused on its top tourism attraction.

Sportsfishing is the county’s top tourism draw, with a total economic impact of $28 million with $5.1 million in local and state tax revenue, according to the NY State DEC Anglers Survey for 2017.

Borchet was pleased to see the Legislature hire Bierstine for the job on Monday.

“He has the experience,” Borchet said. “He already has been attending many of the shows.”

Besides attending sportsfishing trade shows, Bierstine will write articles, field calls and attend other events to promote lake and stream fishing in the county.

Bierstine has fished the local streams since the 1980s. He has a bachelor’s degree from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He worked as an environmental consultant in the 1990s before committing to the Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge in 1998.

He is a licensed outdoor fishing guide, and a member of the Lake Ontario Bi-National Stakeholders committee, the Lake Ontario Fishing Management Focus Group, the Governor’s Task Force to “Re-imagine the Canals” and the Lake Ontario Fisheries Advisory Board.

Bierstine will be paid up to $20,000 in the part-time role for 2023.

The county Legislature approved other resolutions affecting tourism and fishing on Monday.

The county is increasing the cost for boat slip rental by 20 percent in 2023 at the County Marine Park, with the seasonal rate for a 24-foot-long dock going to $1,135 ($315 a month), a 28-foot-long dock at $1,260 ($346 a month) and the daily rate at $1.50 per foot per boat per slip.

The Legislature also renewed agreements with Lynne Menz of Lynne Menz Designs in Kent to serve as tourism coordinator at a cost not to exceed $14,500 for 2023. Menz also will be paid up to $22,000 for design services for her work with advertising design, social media, photography and video production.