MANITOULIN ISLAND—Support is growing for the launch of the Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic this summer.
“The Manitoulin sport fishery is an important component of the livelihood and economic base of Manitoulin,” stated Jim Sloss, chair of the United Fish and Game Clubs of Manitoulin (UFGCM) “This type of derby and promotion of the fishery is long overdue and will help improve the sport fishery.”
“I think this derby is a real good idea,” Ches Witty, a member of the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club (GBFGC), said at a club meeting last week. “We need something to promote salmon fishing and fishing in general on the Island. At one time we had a world-class fishery on the Island, but this went to the wayside for several years. Now it seems to be coming back.”
“I was sitting down one day when I was thinking of ways to extend the tourism season Manitoulin,” stated Dave Patterson, Expositor production manager and the driving force behind the derby.
“This derby was the first thing that came to mind,” said Mr. Patterson. “A lot of people love salmon fishing and I’ve been involved in derbies before, like walleye, and thought a salmon derby would be good idea for the Island.”
“The reason we chose a salmon derby instead of another species is that it can encompass the whole Island,” said Mr. Patterson.
The Salmon Classic is to be held over three weeks, from July 23 to August 14, with the goal of showcasing Manitoulin as a whole together with its spectacular fishing. The event will span a three-week period in order to give as many people as possible the opportunity of using some of their holiday time to search for salmon in local waters. The derby will feature $25,000 in cash prizes.
“It’s going to be a fishing event like no other in the North,” said Mr. Patterson.
Mr. Patterson noted that salmon fishing in Island waters is on the rebound and there are plenty of fishermen eager to catch them—the derby is just an added incentive.
“Salmon is the number one sport fish in Ontario,” he said, “and sport fishing is a multi-million dollar industry and we are looking to increase those numbers on Manitoulin.”
The Expositor is posting some great prizes for the biggest catches too, starting at $12,000 for the heaviest salmon with prizes for second through fourth too, with a total giveaway of $25,000.
“There will also be a weekly prize for the largest salmon or trout, plus a $2,500 largest trout rainbow, brown or lake trout prize,” Mr. Patterson said.
Weigh-in stations will be located at posts throughout the Island. Tickets are $60 each and are available at the Expositor and Recorder officers and online at www.fishmanitoulin.com, as well as selected Island outlets. Anyone wishing to enter must have purchased a ticket at least one day prior to fishing. All parties in a boat must have a ticket, otherwise the fish will be disqualified (the full rules and regulations will be available online).
The Salmon Classic is already attracting some major sponsors and The Expositor is welcoming anyone wishing to get on board (packages start at $100) to get in touch. Becoming a sponsor means great exposure, including all of this newspaper’s advertising as well as at the Salmon Classic booth this March at the Toronto Sportsman Show.
“If we can bring more people to the Island through this derby, there will be spinoffs for local tourism and businesses, in terms of fuel, food, accommodation purchases for instance,” said Mr. Patterson.
For more information or to buy a ticket, firstname.lastname@example.org.