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22nd Annual Lake Superior Salmon Classic Fishing Tournament

There aren’t many fishing tournaments on the big lake around the area, which makes the Lake Superior Salmon Classic Fishing Tour­nament in Silver Bay a big deal. Well that’s one reason, but there are several others why this contest is important to the community and the average of three hundred fisherman who participate each year.

I went fishing for a story and Alaina Melander, co-coordinator of the event, took the bait when I casted an email to the general contact information address listed on the silverbaypto.org/salmon-classic website.

Alaina and her partner in crime, Geri San­do, the two planners of the contest, are both members of the Parent Teacher Organization. The PTO is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Volunteer Organization that does fundraisers to support the William Kelley School in Silver Bay. “We really focus on the Salmon Classic when it comes round,” Alaina said. “It supplies all the money we need for the whole school year.”

Some fishermen have been participating in the contest for the last twenty-two years, which was first hosted by the Friends of the Library until around 2010. “We have very strong fans,” Alaina told me. “They’re locals, they’re from the region, they come from out of state, and down in the cities. We even get a couple people from Michigan.”

The prizes have always been exciting, and this year is no exception. “We added more prizes this year and the prizes are larger,” Alaina said. For example, the top prizes which used to be a $500 gift card to Ma­rine General are now a $700 gift card. This is an effort to accommodate fishermen who are paying today’s gas prices, traveling, and staying at hotels in town. There are five place winners in each division which includes King Salmon, Coho Salmon, and Lake Trout. Kids automatically get entered into a drawing for door prizes and can compete in the Kid’s Leader Board.

It’s not just the fishing to look forward to. There is also a Bean Bag Tournament on Sat­urday night after the fishing contest closes for the day. There will be food and live music from 7-10 PM. It is open to the public and anyone can come to join in the fun. On Sun­day, when the contest results are presented, a food booth will be serving hot dogs and brats and Southern Belle Sweets will be selling some delicious desserts.

The funds raised during the event have gone up exponentially during the last five years. “We used to hope for $6,000,” Alaina remembered. Now, with extra sponsorship and donations along with the support of Lo­vin’ Lake County, the costs of putting on such a large event require less dipping out of the PTO funds. As a result, the PTO has been raising around $18,000. This money goes di­rectly to the school for Band, French Club, After School Programs, field trips, and many other educational experiences they are able to support the students and teachers with.

There will be a booth set up at Silver Bay’s Bay Days this weekend where anyone can stop to buy fishing tickets to participate in the contest, raffle tickets, t-shirts, hats, and to get a sneak peek at the silent auction items. Reg­istration isn’t necessary for the tournament. Every person in the boat must have a fishing ticket, which is $25 to purchase.

The early bird gets the worm, but the early worm may get the fish. The tournament begins on Saturday July 15th at 4 AM and runs until 6 PM. On Sunday, it will be held from 4 AM to 2 PM. Rules and all sorts of good info can be found at silverbaypto.org/salmon-classic.

“It’s open to locals, too,” Alaina encourag­es those who are not taking part in the tourna­ment to come down to the marina to enjoy the scenery, buy a t-shirt, buy raffle tickets, and check out the silent auction.

Consider volunteering for the Lake Superi­or Salmon Classic Tournament to join Alaina and Geri in the planning of the event. It’s a lot for two ladies to handle, yet they do an incredible job and an incredible service to the community. (Thank you both!) Also, vol­unteers are always needed to help out at the event. Any kind of help is so appreciated. The PTO is also looking to recruit members. You can reach out to Alaina Melander at salmon.coordinator@gmail.com.  

Good luck to all the fishermen!

Feel free to contact me at sarahwritesnsj@yahoo.com with any news we should news about!

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