Anglers are hitting Lake Superior in ever in ever increasing numbers as the weather becomes more conducive to catching fish. Although the action has been spotty in many areas on the big lake, those in the know have been bringing in some nice catches of trout and salmon.
While boat fishermen can be found stretched from the far western end of the Upper Peninsula to Sault Ste. Marie in the east, next weekend will probably find some of the more competitive anglers fishing out of Grand Marais.
Why Grand Marais on June 29-30? Because that is where and when the eighth annual Grand Marais Offshore Challenge will be taking place.
Marquette Bay Classic anglers crowd around the weigh-in station during a recent fishing tournament. This year’s classic is set for Sept. 7, and the South Shore Fishing Association is looking for volunteers to help make the tourney run smoothly. (Journal file photo by Dave Schneider)
This fishing tournament guarantees a first place prize of $4,000, with the rest of the prize money determined by the number of boats that register.
Things actually get going next Friday, which makes for a nice long weekend of enjoying the Grand Marais area and all it has to offer.
Kicking off the activities will be a special boat inspection conducted by the Grand Marais Coast Guard Auxiliary. The inspections will begin at about 2 p.m. at the village's community center.
The inspections are strictly voluntary, but are good to get so you know everything is in order with your boat and what is required to fish in the tournament.
Next on the agenda will be final registration beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday and then the mandatory captain's meeting at 7 p.m., with both being at the community center. While only one person from each fishing crew is required to attend the captain's meeting, tourney officials recommend the whole crew come along to hear the rules and other specifics - as well as share in the the pre-tournament excitement.
The real fun begins at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 29, as boats hit the water for a full day of fishing, with all boats required to be back at the dock by 4 p.m. The same 7 a.m. start time is set for Sunday, June 30, with all boats required to be at the dock by 2 p.m.
In fact, not only must all competitors' boats be at the dock by 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, but their fish coolers must be presented for weigh-in by those times.
The format calls for each boat being able to place a total of five fish - any combination of trout and salmon - in their weigh-in coolers with the top three fish tallied each day.
There is no set number for crew size, nor do the same fishermen have to be in the boat both days, but officials will be reminding captains that they need the proper number of anglers for the number of lines they run. In addition, a maximum of four limits of fish can be in the boat at the end of each day's fishing.
While the challenge teams are out on the water the first of the tourney, there will be a special event for anglers 14 years old and younger - a kids fishing pond from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The pond will be stocked with rainbow trout and kids can buy a ticket for $3 and fish until they catch one, which they can keep.
There will also be a couple special meals, including a kick-off dinner at 5:30 p.m. next Friday at the community center and a fish fry beginning at 2 p.m. June 30 at the marina. These meals are open to everyone, not just tournament participants, and the cost is by donations only.
Cost of the challenge is $150 per boat and pre-registration can be made by visiting the Grand Marais website at www.grandmaraismichigan.com and clicking on the challenge's page. More information, including the full set of rules, can also be found on the website or by calling Aleta Hubbard at 906-494-2324 or Logger Hubbard at 906-494-2797.
There's another fishing derby coming up later this summer that deserves a mention here.
The ever-popular Marquette Bay Classic is set for Sept. 7 out of Marquette's Lower Harbor. Put on by the South Shore Fishing Association, the classic takes lots of volunteers and the association is looking for some of its members to get involved with the 2013 Fall Tournament Committee.
If you are interested, send an email to SSFA Vice President Mylan Koski at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply show up at the committee's first meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Marquette Marquette Ski Area.
Editor's note: City Editor Dave Schneider can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 270.