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Would you be interested in fishing a Lake Michigan Salmon derby as described above?  

29 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you be interested in fishing a Lake Michigan Salmon derby as described above?

    • Sounds fun. Count me in.
      18
    • Probably
      6
    • I would, but probably won't be fishing Lake Michigan that week
      2
    • Sorry, can't afford it right now
      0
    • Nope, I don't fish in contests
      3


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Back in the 1970's through the early 80's salmon derbies were quite common and popular on Michigan's Lake Michigan coast. In 1980 my Dad and I managed to catch the 2nd place fish in the summer derby and won $1,000. We also won lots of lures for fish we entered that finished lower in the standings. In the fall 1981 I took my college buddies with me and I caught a 38#+ King that a week earlier would have won the fall derby. At least for me, derbies have always been a lot of fun and a relatively cheap way to be involved in competitive fishing.

I have been talking with a few people trying to get things lined up and we are very close to starting a Lake Michigan salmon derby for the Michigan side of the lake for late this coming summer (2013). Below is the baseline info as it currently stands.

Lake Ontario has had the ESLO/LOC derbies on the US side and the Great Ontario Derby in Ontario for years. Wisconsin has had Salmon-A-Rama for years too. Michigan has not had any major derby type contests since the American Salmon Derby events of the late ‘70s/early ’80. There are lots of weekend port oriented tournaments for Pro and Am boats, plus the 333 but no real derbies.

Maybe it would be good to first discuss the difference between a “tournament†and a “derby†as that seems to be a common question. A tournament involves weighing multiple fish caught during a specific period, while a derby is based on the weight of a single fish also caught over a specific time period. Michigan’s current tournaments are mostly single port oriented with entry fees of $300+ per boat for 2 days. A derby is more oriented to the “amateur†angler who is going fishing and for a relatively low entry fee can potentially win prizes based on the entry of one or more fish during the derby.

This is not a done deal but is quite likely to go forward. Give me some feedback! Is this something that you would be interested in entering? Any questions? Suggestions?

Post replies below or PM or email me!

Derby Info

Dates: Saturday, August 24 through Tuesday, September 3

Entry Fees:

  • Full derby -- $30 for adult (17+); $15 for age 10-16
  • Daily -- $15 per person (age 10 & up)
  • Everyone over 9 years old onboard must be registered (fishing or not)
  • Charter boats: Captains/mates do not have to be registered to have a derby team fishing onboard. Captain/mate must be registered to enter a fish themselves.
  • Will be available at tackle shops at event port towns and via Internet online.

Prizes:

  • Derby: 1st - $5,000 + replica mount; ; 2nd - $2,500, 3rd - $1,500; 4th - $1,250; 5th - $1,000… 10th - $500… stepped down to 100th at $50.
  • Daily: Port -- $100 big fish for each port each day by weight; All ports -- $250 for biggest fish entered across all ports each day by weight
  • Sponsor: Individual sponsors to award prizes for catching/entering fish caught using their products and/or at specific ports

Ports:

  1. New Buffalo, 2. St. Joe/Benton Harbor, 3. South Haven, 4. Holland/Port Sheldon, 5. Grand Haven, 6. Muskegon/Whitehall, 7. Pentwater/Ludington, 8. Manistee/Onekema, 9. Arcadia/Frankfort, 10. Leland/Traverse City/Petoskey & further north

Fishing Area: This will be a lake based contest. Fish must be caught in Michigan waters of Lake Michigan. Pier/shore based fishing is allowed, but fish caught in rivers/tributaries upstream from the natural mouth of the river/tributary at Lake Michigan will not be not eligible.

Species: Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, Steelhead/rainbow trout, Brown trout, Lake trout

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So say someone who owns a boat but had different crewsoften, does each different crew member need to be registered or could there be a boat registration for any crew member on that boat??

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So say someone who owns a boat but had different crewsoften, does each different crew member need to be registered or could there be a boat registration for any crew member on that boat??

A boat level registration is a possibility that has been discussed for the exact scenario you describe! When I kept my boat in Ludington and St. Joe it was common for me to have a different crew of friends every few days -- especially that week.

The cost for a private boat registration (not a charter) discussed was $150 which would make the break even point at 5+ adults who would be fishing 2+ days on a single boat. I 'd like some feedback on this idea :)

Also under consideration is a charter boat registration which would allow a registered boat to enter any fish they catch in the derby. The captain could sell entries to his customers or include it as a bonus or marketing tool.

I like the idea for the most part, I don't quite get why a ten year old that was on board not fishing should have to register?

Age 10 was the consensus as to when a child was really able to actively fish. It is also the rule that the LOC uses. Unfortunately since anyone under 16 does not need a fishing license there is no other control. Do you think 10 is too young? A parent of a child under 10 would be allowed to enter a fish the youngster caught.

During the discussion it was brought up that often when the fishing is good anyone/everyone on board (regardless of age or purpose of being on the boat) would be volunteered to fight a fish. If someone "not fishing" catches a big one, it would be awfully tempting to have someone else enter it (and break the rules). If anyone has any ideas/suggestions... post/email/ or PM!

Issues/concerns like this are welcome and why a post like this was done. Better to have as many things brought out now rather than later. The official rules are being drafted.

A boat registration would also eliminate the need for everyone onboard to be registered individually -- regardless of age or intended activity.

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That time of year... the northern ports may have an advantage. The fish seem to run bigger up there...

This too was discussed and that is the main reason why a daily big fish per port was put in -- competing against others at the same port, not those 150 miles away.

It really depends on the year though as far as where the big fish show up. A lot of it really depends on when the fall rains come and let the fish go up the river. Had my boat in Ludington from 1984 through 1996 and then when I moved to St. Joe in 1997 the boat was there until 2004. I would say that the week prior to Labor Day was good in St. Joe the vast majority of years and the big fish were comparable to Ludington -- big difference was you had to go out further to get to the deeper cold water holding the fish. I lived right on the river in St. Joe and by the first week of September we usually saw fish in the river. In Ludington, the Pere Marquette river often had fish by early August and even late July some years.

The last couple of years I have generally launched from Holland or Muskegon and have caught the same size fish as my buddies were reporting from Ludington and Frankfort.

There isn't enough time to get organized for this year, but a July 4th centric derby is under serious consideration for 2014. That time of year evens out a north is better than south concern. St. Joe may even have a big advantage due to the Skamania Steelhead hitting the pier heads in mid summer.

Again, ideas are welcome!

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One of my main questions is how to weigh in fish...there are a limited number of certified scales and the guys that fish at night (vs the morning) don't typically have access to them when them are done fishing.

Sounds like fun though...I'm in for either a boat or a individual...$100 for big fish per day per port....you are going to get a lot of people turning in fish weights.

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Pay outs are based on how many entries?

No fishing from the port of Saugatuck?

Ooops... missed putting Saugatuck in the list. It would be grouped with Holland and Port Sheldon.

Payouts are not based/dependent on numbers of entrants. The numbers work out based on how much participation is anticipated. It also assumes a certain amount of sponsorship.

Prior to this poll/thread (posted both here and on GLA) informal discussions with anglers indicated a big derby as outlined would be well received with lots of participation.

The two polls/threads on these web sites is an effort to further qualify whether this is worth doing or not. Everyone's feedback and votes are VERY important toward that end.

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One of my main questions is how to weigh in fish...there are a limited number of certified scales and the guys that fish at night (vs the morning) don't typically have access to them when them are done fishing...

Weigh in would be at specific locations at each port -- mostly tackle shops. Since many/most don't have certified scales the plan is to purchase scales to be issued to each weigh in station that would be used to weigh the fish. The scales would be identical and while not state certified would be quite accurate and being the same at each location' date=' create a level playing field.

Of course weigh in will only be available when the tackle shop/weigh in location is open. Fish will be required to be entered within one day of being caught so a fish caught at 7 pm would need to be promptly weighed the next morning. A couple of the weigh stations are also likely to be closed on Sundays -- a participant would probably want to drive a few miles to the nearest open location to weigh a big fish. The grouping of certain ports is somewhat due to this issue. The fish will be entered in the daily contests on the day it is weighed.

The incentive to a tackle shop to be a sales/fish entry location is to generate sales outside of selling the entry. Each time a fish is entered is an opportunity for the shop. How they use it as a selling tool will be up to them, but a "leaders" whiteboard and hot derby lures display would be ideas. Some have also talked about X% discounts on purchases for derby participants.

Back in the '70s I remember tackle shops like Springs in Muskegon and the Army/Navy Store being open VERY late due to the amount of activity in the ports during the derby periods. You could weigh in a fish at 11 pm if you wanted to. It would be great to see that kind of excitement again at our salmon ports.

...Sounds like fun though...I'm in for either a boat or a individual...$100 for big fish per day per port....you are going to get a lot of people turning in fish weights.

That's the idea!

To eliminate a lot of "extra" fish being entered, a minimum weight to enter is also being considered. No sense in someone going through the process for a 4# Coho.

As a side note... each fish weighed will be marked to make sure that it can't be weighed twice or at two locations.

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The old REEL PEOPLE DERBY also required that that the fish would still bleed from the gill cover so no one brings a fish from another another lake over and also proved the fish had been registered.

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The old REEL PEOPLE DERBY also required that that the fish would still bleed from the gill cover so no one brings a fish from another another lake over and also proved the fish had been registered.

Interesting idea. Any idea how long a fish can be on ice and still bleed from the gills? Maybe Thirsty Whaler can tell me!

Bringing over a big fish from Lake Ontario to enter is always a concern. Those fishing with the person entering the fish will also have to sign the entry as witnesses as a first level of prevention. The option to subject anyone to a lie detector is on the table (and rules) and personally I would not want to risk my reputation and potential fraud charges over a fish, but ...

Another solid way to prevent such shenanigans would be great. Anyone have any other suggestions?

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