MANITOULIN—After months of planning and preparation, the first-ever Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic is upon us, with the first day of derby action in the three-week tournament this Saturday, July 23 and just in time, too, as both the salmon and lake trout fisheries are starting to really heat up.
“I’m hearing a lot of excitement about the Salmon Classic and I’m getting a lot of clients out of it too,” Moe Gauthier, proprietor of Screamin’ Reels Charters in South Baymouth, told The Expositor. “Locally, it’s been the talk of the Island.”
“The timing is perfect for the tournament,” Mr. Gauthier added, noting that he and his clients are starting to find salmon in earnest from his home port of South Baymouth. “I’m averaging about 16 fish per charter. The Chinook salmon are just picking up now.”
Neil Debassige of Island Sunrise Cottages and Charters is also pleased with the fishing from his Providence Bay hot spots.
“For lake trout, I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised by both the number and the size of the trout,” Mr. Debassige told The Expositor. “We’re starting to see some good salmon. The water temperature has changed, which makes them easier to target.”
Mr. Debassige’s prediction for the prize winning, $12,000 salmon is one in the 23- to 24-pound range. “It’ll be harder to find, but there are some sleeper spots out there.”
The fisherman noted that he watched some Chinook come in to the Providence Bay Marina Sunday night—a great sign for fishing to come.
Mr. Debassige was in agreement with Mr. Gauthier that the derby is causing quite a stir, both at home and afar, especially after his Fuel the Fire TV salmon fishing episode aired on Wild TV last week.
Dave Patterson, creator of the Salmon Classic, enjoyed his 10 minutes of fame last Saturday morning when he became the guest of the hugely popular The Outdoor Journal and radio personality Angelo Viola, which airs on The Fan 590 in Toronto each week and boasts a 400,000 person radio reach. In the segment, Mr. Patterson boasts of Manitoulin’s excellent fishery and of its tourist industry in general. (To listen, visit http://odjradio.com and click on the Saturday, July 16 episode.)
Tickets for the Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic are just $60 for the three weeks of fishing, July 23 to August 14, and are available at the following locations: The Expositor Office in Little Current, Up Top Sports Shop in Mindemoya, The Recorder Office in Gore Bay, Trail Side Sports in Espanola, Moxy’s Bait and Tackle on Regional Road 55 near Whitefish, Ramakko’s Source for Adventure on Regent Street South in Sudbury and online at www.fishmanitoulin.com.