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Paul Czarnecki

Joe Riefer - At the Oak

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Just recieved this sad news from Mike Waterhouse:

Last night we lost one of the pioneers of our fishing industry with the passing of Joe Riefer. For those of you who are not aware Joe was the inventor of Pirate Spoons and with his wife Shirley, kept us all up-to-date with their "At The Oak" web site. Please keep Shirley in your thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.

He will be sadly missed by the captains and rec anglers that fish the Oak.

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Oh, that's awful news Paul. He was a great guy and his contributions to our fishery were invaluable. He will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Shirley and her family.

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That is really sad news. Joe will be truely missed by many. Shirley and the family will be in my thoughts and prayers. They have provided a wealth of info thru the years to many of us who enjoy the passion of Lake Ontatio fishing. Paul, If you hear of a memorial fund, please post it here. I'll be out of the area for the next 6 days, but will monitor this thread. Thank you-Duane

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Joe will be sorely missed and my deepest condolences go out to Shirely and the rest of the Riefer family. I know better than most how hard it can be to run a successful website and Joe has for a LONG time done a fabulous job with "At the Oak". Just one of his many contributions to the fishing community of Lake Ontario.

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My condolensces to Shirley and the Riefer family over the passing of Joe.

Both Joe and Shirley have been very good to all the guys from Dunkirk for many years, and like many

I was a daily reader of "at the oak".

I'll second Duane....please post if there is any kind of fund, memorial, etc.

Thanks.

John

(and the rest of the Times Two Crew)

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My first knowledge of this great sport came from his site. He will be truly missed !!!

My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family.

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This is a very sad day for all who fish Lake Ontario. I know I have reaped the benefits from his website, and in some way his tactics he developed on Lake O. My respects go out to his family.

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My deepest sympathy to Shirley and the family of Joe...Strength and peace be with you all. My sincere gratitude to Joe and Shirley for their commitment to sharing with us all, a great deal of knowledge and expertise with the community of sportsmen and women on Lake Ontario. Joe will truly be missed by all, but certainly never forgotten.

Solemnly, I am....Mark :(

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Joe will be missed greatly. I echo the grattitude for his contribution to making our fishery great. It is a sad day!!

C. Bish

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Well that just ruined my day.

I believe every single person fishing on Lake Ontario benefitted greatly from Joe's knowledge and willingness to share.

Joe will be sorely missed in the Lake Ontario Community.

My sincere condolences go out to Shirley and the Riefer Family.

Tim Bromund

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To Joe,s family my heart and soul goes out you Joe will be missed by many lake ontario fishermen if there is any thing any one can please ask again sorry to hear on your lose

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My sympathy to Shirley and Joes family. Joe reached a lot furhther than just lake Ontario. I caught many a fish on joes spoons on Lake Michigan and I never miss a day of reading the reports. Thanks for all you did.

Matt Siggeman

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My condolences go out to Shirley and family. I am truly sorry for your loss. I have learned a great deal from your website and willingness to share, and for that, I thank you!

Shawn

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Thoughts and prayer go out to Shirley and family.

That websight was a great thing they did for the fishermen of LO.

Glen

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My condolences, truly the end of an era. I never met Joe but did have the opportunity to "speak" with him several times on the web. I always marveled at the commitment he had to the fishery and his web site.

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Very sad, my heart goes out to his family. What a great tribute to a fellow fisherman that so many fisherman will miss his contribution to our passion. Tank

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He was dedicated & we're going to miss him. Condolences to the family. (His & the Big-O fishermen)

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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The passing of a true salmon fishing pioneer, teacher, mentor and lure designer.

Sadly we lost one of the true pioneers of modern great lakes salmon fishing. Captain Joe Riefer of Condor Charters. If you did not know him, you should have if you did, count yourself fortunate. Joe and his wife/partner began salmon fishing on Lake Michigan and its tribs...Bear Creek, the Manistee and the Muskegon in the late '60s. In the mid '70s when fishing got good here they moved to Lake Ontario, specifically the Oak.

Joe was an innovator in salmon fishing techniques and lure design. He designed tested and perfected Pirate Spoons. He would spend the off-season cutting spoons and hammering them by hand. Many of the charter captains in the mid 80’s would wait in line to get one of his spoons.

There is no more productive spoon than his 44, on spring steelhead, bar none or the 06 (now the 66) as it was called on fall staging Salmon in the shallows in front of the wall at the Oak.

He taught or mentored some of the best charter captains on the lake today. His skill and knowledge of salmon fishing was unquestionable and he passed it along to many of his friends and colleagues.

Even after Joe stopped fishing, he and his wife Shirley continued to be involved by pioneering the first true successful web site for salmon fishing information on the Great Lakes, “At the Oak†which continues to be the model for a world class fishing informational web site. During the summer months as many as 1500 individuals would visit this site daily.

(Many of the new fishermen know him more for these endeavors than his fishing skills).

In Joes own words

“We admit that some of our primary enjoyment comes from doing what little we can to promote our fishery (it is world class) and especially to give anglers, from near or far, at least a starting point. Some areas we do pride ourselves on are the frequency of our reports, impartiality on Charters and lures, and above all, "tell it like it is" credibilityâ€.

We will all sadly miss Joe and his wit, and I hope you will all keep his wife Shirley in your prayers.

I know I will.

A devoted Friend and Student

Capt. Bob Songin

Reel Excitement Charters

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We lost another one of the great pioneers from the Oak, we will all miss him... this lake always kept him captived and we can all relate... it will be strange kicking off a new year without his reports, but I am certain that he wants to hear as many "FISH ON'S" yelled as possible! My best regards to Shirley and family as well.

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Joe and Shirley's "At the Oak" site is what steered me to that port. I am so grateful for the many great experiences and great people I have met because of being "steered" there. My sincere condolences to Shirley and the family.

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I felt like I knew the man from reading the reports, but I have never met him....sorry that i didn't.

I never fished at the Oak, but thanks to Joe, I feel like I have.

Condolences to his family, rest in peace.......

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Joe and his support, and knowledge will surely be missed by many. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family from mine. My first spoon in the water this year will definately be a pirate in his honor.

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I learned a lot from "At the Oak".His Pirate Spoons and his web site speak for themselves. My condolences. Maybe this year we can have a derby in honor of his memory and his many contributions to the sport we all love.

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