The lakes, river and woods of the Champlain Canal region have always fostered an abundance of fish, fowl and mammals—sustenance for some and sport for others. Local rod and gun clubs got their start during the late nineteenth century. A flyway for migratory waterfowl, the area remains popular for duck hunting. Since the 1850s, the Batten Kill has been renown as a world-class fly-fishing river. Even on the Hudson, which since the start of the industrial age has been an all-too-convenient dumping ground for industrial waste, catch-and-release fishing yields trophy-sized large- and small-mouth bass.
The first metal trolling lure for fishing was invented and patented by J.T. Buel in 1848. Buel fashioned a homemade lure from a kitchen spoon and hook, which he used to catch lake trout. From his furrier shop in Whitehall, Buel sold spoon-type lures of shiny metal, vermillion paint, feathers and hooks. During the 1840s and 50s, Buel was awarded patents for his spinners and various types of fly spoons. The Buel Spoon, a burnished and painted tin lure, won a medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876.