Another in a long stream of Lake Michigan fishing contests in Michigan City is set for July 9 through 17.
This time it is the biggest big-fish contest of them all.
Boasting a guaranteed $20,000 grand prize and more than 100 different ways to win cash, Salmon-A-Rama has 10 weigh-in sites around the lake including the newest location, the fish-cleaning station in Washington Park Marina. The Michigan City site will be open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Basic entry fee is $35 for the nine-day extravaganza. Divisions are boat, shore, youth, perch and kayak. Categories include each of the five salmonid species and perch.
There are substantial cash payouts for the 10 biggest of each of the five salmonid species in the boat division and the top five on shore. The grand prize for the largest salmon or trout overall, which can be from any division, pays an additional $20,000.
Complete rules are at www.salmon-a-rama.com.
Salmon-A-Rama was organized by Salmon Unlimited in Racine, Wisconsin in the 1970s, and thrived on the "other side" of the lake for decades before expanding in recent years. An outstanding feature is all weigh sites are connected and live, up-to-the-moment updates will be available. Officials expect around 3,000 anglers to enter the contest this year.
If you doubt you may have a chance to win the lake-wide contest, take a gander at the 2016 Salmon-A-Rama magazine.
That's Michigan City's Craig and Sylvia Koepke on the cover with a 28.6-pound lake trout that would have been the $20,000 winner if Sylvia had purchased an entry. Mrs. Koepke muscled the T-Rex of a trout in aboard Boatre Dame during contest week last July.
The winning 2015 fish weighed 25.58 pounds.
"We (local boats) have a shot," Brad Kreighbaum, captain of Fin Fire charters, who led the movement to get a Salmon-A-Rama weigh-in located at Michigan City, said.
"Besides Koepke's fish, there were five or six other lakers in that mid-20s range caught by Michigan City boats during the contest last summer."
Every year is different, and a plethora of 20-pound plus chinook have been caught on the Wisconsin side of the lake in the past month. On the other hand, lakers rule at Michigan City. We're only two weeks removed from Tyler Kreighbaum's monster 37.55-laker catch.
The Hoosier Coho Club's annual Powder Puff Derby, where only the ladies may reel in fish, is set for July 23. A weigh-best-five, winner-take-all contest is set for July 17. The club's $3,030.30 bounty for the first 30-pound or larger lake trout caught by a club member or aboard a boat paying a $100 fee for the season is also still on. See www.hoosiercohoclub.org for details on any of the contests.
Skamania have scattered throughout Trail Creek, with fish stacked in a few locations in Salt Creek as well. The best fishing is early in the morning before angling pressure takes its toll. More fish should be on the way with cool nights in the forecast.
The DNR has collected nearly 400 of its annual brood stock goal of 600 Skamania from Trail Creek already this month, which is far ahead of past schedules and much better than last year.
Trolling out of Michigan City has been fair for lake trout in 90 to 120 feet of water with only the occasional salmon or steelhead.
Inland, weeds have maxed out on most waters which means summer patterns for all fish. Deep side of weedlines are best for bluegill, crappie, perch and bass, although decent-sized largemouth are around weedless pockets and lily edges early and late in the day, too.