by Brian Sharp

Steering his pontoon down Irondequoit Bay, Ken Strimple leaves behind one future housing development and heads toward another.

The Bay Bridge shrinks in the distance as he cruises the open water talking about his all-purpose marine business, Rochester’s waterways and, ultimately, about fishing.

This is a Great Lake city bisected by a river, crossed by a canal and sporting an expansive and picturesque bay. The Genesee River cascades over waterfalls in the heart of the city and cuts a wide path through the gorge heading north. Lake Ontario and its tributaries represent a world-class fishery, drawing visitors from all over. Sailboat races hosted by The Rochester Yacht Club are similarly renowned.

Yet, Strimple is having to educate and build a customer base for his boat repair and rental, floating docks, bait and tackle shop.

“We have a fishery that rivals Alaska, but people, for some reason, they don’t know how to fish,” said Strimple, who also runs charters and has entertained fishermen from as far away as Australia.

“It’s mind-blowing,” he said of how underused and underpromoted the water is.

Here? “People golf.”

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