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Waddington wants to be named Fishing Town USA

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WADDINGTON - The town is again embarking on a quest to be named Ultimate Fishing Town USA and win a $25,000 community donation, but it needs help to win.

Until May 31, voters can cast ballots up to four times a day on WorldFishingNetwork.com to vote Waddington as Fishing Town USA. The World Fishing Network’s online contest will award a $25,000 top prize to the town with the most votes, along with a promotional half-hour television spot.

Last year, Waddington placed second behind the Catskill Mountain town of Roscoe. This year Waddington was nominated in early March by resident Deanna Shampine.

“We got into this competition last year on a whim, and it took on a life of its own,” she said. “It was such an inspiring experience to be a part of because it became so much more than Waddington — the entire north country supported one of their own.”

The town, with its claim to fame as “Carp Capital of the World,” hosts tournaments and fishing derbies throughout the year.

In addition to carp, Waddington is the preferred destination for anglers of bass, walleye, pike, muskie and many more species, according to Ms. Shampine.

“We have it all up here. We have beautiful waters and fantastic fishing. The multitude of species available for freshwater fishing is almost unmatched in places in other countries. Our tournaments are held by various fishing organizations year round, and there’s not a day I look at the water, whether it’s 95 degrees or 20 below zero,” said Ms. Shampine.

Ms. Shampine, who has been fishing since she was a little girl, said she made her vote in honor of her father, David Shampine, who passed away in early February.

“He fished the river for over 60 years. He was an avid fisherman and I would spend summer in his boat from dusk ‘til dawn fishing. He is the one who taught me how great the river can be,” she said.

Ogdensburg and Massena have also joined the campaign. Pat McKowen, executive director of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, said whichever municipality wins the biggest prize will grab the coveted claim of best fishing town in the country.

“Other states are watching, and St. Lawrence is the best fishing capital in the world. If this helps one of our communities it benefits all of us here in the north country,” she said.

“Should Waddington win we would share that honor with all the other river communities, since we all fish the same water,” Ms. Shampine said. “We would love for the north country to join us again, once more, to bring home the title to the St. Lawrence River.”

If Waddington wins the prize, Ms. Shampine said, a committee will most likely be formed to work with the World Fishing Network to decide how the money will be used.

The second-place winner will receive a $5,000 donation to the organization of their choice, and third prize will receive a $2,500 donation. Waddington has chosen the Wounded Warrior Project at Fort Drum to be the recipient.

“Even if we don’t win the big prize, it is a great opportunity to help the Wounded Warriors,” said Ms. Shampine.

Nominations with photos and supporting entries, along with contest details, can be seen online at www.wfnfishingtown.com/home.php. Nominations conclude May 31. Voting for the top fishing community began Tuesday.

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