Canton NY - Hundreds or young people from around world are expected to join British teen actor Tom Felton in search of the biggest carp in the St. Lawrence River. The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce have announced the first ever St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament and I Love NY Carp Fishing School on the St. Lawrence River next summer August 19-23, 2003.

A mix of unique partnerships is bringing this five-day event to the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, the St. Lawrence County Anglers Association, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Region 6), The New York State Division of Tourism, the St. Lawrence Aquarium & Ecological Centre and the Carp Anglerís Group of North America are pooling their resources and knowledge to create a well-rounded forum for education about the carp. The event will culminate with a junior level fishing competition with a first prize of $10,000-00.

Tom Felton, known from Harry Potter movies, Anna & the King and British television is a carp aficionado. Experts such as Martin James, Thomas and Thomas advisor noted BBC broadcaster and angling expert are lending their celebrity and knowledge to the event as guest host anglers. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-Hers and area youth will hear and observe presentations by fish and environment experts. Teen idol, Felton, on Day One of the event is scheduled to talk about his love for the sport with his brother, Chris, and why British kids are fascinated by carp. The program will be accompanied by displays of regional native species of fish and carp for the children to see first hand and close-up.

World renowned angling expert Martin James, who has visited the region several times and recorded and filmed shows on fishing in St. Lawrence County, will present four classes on Days Two and Three showing youth and adults alike how to fish for carp. James, along with other anglers, will teach clinics near the waterfront in Waddington about carp, specific bait, tackle, gear and technique. Outdoor experts will teach ecology and the river environment as it pertains to supporting the carp species. In addition to the classroom, carp fishing experts will accompany the attendees to the banks of the river for some "hands-on" experience fishing for carp. The fishing school is sponsored by I Love New York and is open to all ages. A tuition fee will be charged which will include classes, specialised bait and tackle as well as fishing time with the skilled anglers.

The grand finale will be the St. Lawrence International Junior Carp Tournament on Days Four and Five. The venue will be pre-selected sites along the St. Lawrence River from Ogdensburg to Massena. The two bridges linking the U.S. and Canada will be the boundaries. The St. Lawrence County Anglers Association has mapped three hundred prime carp fishing spots for the tournament. Thirty groups of ten youngsters between the age of eleven and eighteen will be stationed along the riverbanks based on a pre-tournament draw. One individual entrant will win a $10,000.00 first prize -- other cash, medals and prizes will be awarded. The competition is endorsed by the Carp Anglers Group of North America which is the official carp fishing organisation in the United States and Canada. The organisation is lending technical support to the Chamber. Marshals and weigh masters from local outdoors and sportsmanís groups will monitor the contest. The first prize will be based on the heaviest catch of carp based on a bag of four fish. All the fish caught during the competition will be released. An entry fee and rental fee for equipment will be charged, and the rules and restrictions are posted on the County Chamberís website along with an on-line registration.

Special events for the kids and their parents will be scheduled in conjunction with the tournament. A pizza party and chicken barbecue are in the planning stages. The chamber is actively seeking sponsors to assist with the underwriting of these special events. Karen St. Hilaire, Executive Director of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, says, "This tournament is a great event for the region. We have been researching the possibilities of a world class competition for over a year. The idea of a junior tournament all began when Tom and his brother Chris Felton came to the St. Lawrence Experience in Waddington last summer after Tom had completed the filming of the second Harry potter movie. His parents gave him a trip to any place in the world. He and Chris chose to come here and for 8 days fished for carp at the edge of the St. Lawrence River. At the end of their trip they had caught 140 fish weighing a total of over a ton and a half.

"When we visited him at the river front, the idea was born to have a tournament for juniors since there was none in the world. Tom and Chris promised to co-host it, and lend their expertise, so we were off and running."
"Our good friend, Martin James, stepped to the plate and offered to teach the specifics of carp fishing. His International reputation for fishing and the ecology raises the bar on this exceptional event. This is a great opportunity to learn how to fish for carp the correct way, at one of the best locations in the world."

"With the marketing assistance of I Love New York in Europe, and the Carp Anglerís Group in the United States, I think weíre on our way to a tremendous international tournament. Additionally, we have just received a commitment from ESPN2 Outdoors to film here during the week while the tournament provides the backdrop for the segment. That promises to bring outstanding exposure to the area and the tournament itself."
"The fact that so many foreign visitors speak so highly of this stretch of the river, made it impossible to ignore. The local support has been overwhelming. We are getting calls already, and this is the first formal announcement of the event. The network of carp fishing enthusiasts is amazing. I think the residents and businesses along the river will be amazed at the impact of this kind of event."

The list of sponsors and partners is beginning to grow with Mesa Air and Specialist Tackle of Essex UK coming on board in the last week. Specialist Tackle is a British firm which concentrates on carp angling equipment. They are providing rental equipment and novelty items for each entrant. The Chambers of Commerce along the river corridor Ė Ogdensburg, Waddington and Massena - are helping to co-ordinate lodging requests and special needs of the tournament guests. Logistics, marketing, media relations, sponsor liaison and committee co-ordination will be furnished by Stellar Marketing Solutions of Massena.

For more information: For more information: check out the website www.northcountryguide.com Kathleen Kelly Stellar Marketing Solution 10 Lincoln Place Massena NY 13662 315-764-5654 (phone/fax) Or, Karen St. Hilaire St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce 5862 Route 11 Canton NY 136