MANITOULIN—With salmon fishing being so good locally this summer, it is hoped by organizers of the Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic that it will mean more visitors-participants and increased revenues that will benefit the Island economy.
“Our goal is to, by our fifth year of the derby, have 1,000 boats-fishermen entered in the derby,” stated Dave Patterson, main organizer of the annual derby, which will take place for the third year beginning July 28 and continuing to August 26. “A lot of the off-Island visitors come and stay one or two weeks and they visit Island restaurants, grocery stores, get fuel here and find accommodations locally.”
“The derby is bringing in people from all over including southern Ontario, as well as groups from areas like Timmins,” said Mr. Patterson. “We estimate the derby brought another $1.5 milllion in to the economy of the Island last year and this year we are hoping this will increase to $2 million.”
As for this year’s fishing season so far, “it’s been great, in places like South Baymouth and Providence Bay boats are everywhere and the fishing is excellent. We expect will be a very good year.”
Mr. Patterson outlined several changes that have been made for this year’s third annual derby including, “this year the derby has been expanded to a month.”
“And we’ve changed the prize structure,” said Mr. Patterson. “A prize of $200 will be won per day for largest salmon/trout caught and weighed. We will be having a cash prize of $1,000 for whoever catches the heaviest salmon/trout the first week of the derby, but after the first week this prize will be going into the daily largest caught prize.”
The grand prize for catching the heaviest salmon will be $12,000 with the second heaviest prize being $4,000, third $2,000, fourth-$1,000 and fifth heaviest $500.
The prize for catching the heaviest trout will be $2,500. A prize of $500 will go to the youth, 14 years or under, who catches the heaviest fish (salmon or trout).
More tickets to enter the derby are available this year, Mr. Patterson said, noting that in prime fishing areas like Providence Bay everyone is reporting that they are catching fish like they used to years ago.
“The weigh stations are going to be the same as they were last year, with the addition of Meldrum Bay this year, which now has fuel available again at the docks, the weigh station and camping,” said Mr. Patterson. “The Spanish weigh station has been moved to Vance’s this year.
“Ticket sales have been good so far this year and we expect this will ramp up even further in the next few days,” said Mr. Patterson.