It's big, it's free and it starts here on Saturday.
The sixth annual Coho Capital Derby, perhaps the largest free fishing contest on the Great Lakes, continues until June 18.
Sponsored by the La Porte County Convention & Visitors Bureau (LCCVB), $2,000 in cash is on the line with $500 going for both the heaviest salmon and trout overall, plus $100 for the biggest salmon and trout each of the five, week-long periods.
"It s growing (in popularity) every year," LCCVB travel manager Rick Wright said. "When we started this back in 2012 we saw a huge, but somewhat overlooked industry — Lake Michigan fishing is a big part of Michigan City's lore and history."
Anglers were thrilled, too. Last year's salmon champ, Chris Reid of Scottville, Mich., spoke like a commercial for our home port.
"This is awesome," Reid said. "I can't believe Michigan City does this. We weighed the fish, filled up with gas here, ate lunch then hit the local tackle shop."
Reid's chinook weighed 21 pounds, 5 ounces and is the largest salmon registered in the history of the derby. Top trout is a 27-9 caught by Richard Skidmore of Indianapolis in 2015. All the past champions are listed below.
Very importantly, the rules are really simple. Just go fish and be lucky enough to catch a salmon or trout bigger than the next angler.
There is no preregistration. All DNR rules apply. And all of Lake Michigan and its tributaries may be fished.
Weigh station is at the gas dock next to the Michigan City Port Authority office in Washington Park Marina. The weigh station is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. A caught fish must be weighed within 24 hours.
For more information, see www.michigancitylaporte.com or call (219) 872-5055.
Coho Capital Champs
Top overall salmon and trout from past Coho Capital Derbies are:
2016 Salmon 21 pounds-five ounces, Scott Reid, Scottville, Mich. and Trout 18-4, Angela Potter, Bedford, Iowa.
2015 Salmon 17-12, Mike McKee, Michigan City and Trout 27-9, Richard Skidmore, Indianapolis.
2014 Salmon 19-10, James Roy, LaPorte and Trout 17-14, Rich Woodard, Brownsburg, Ind.
2013 Salmon 20-12, Robert Kiem, Goshen and Trout 17-1, Bill Vaughn, Bloomington, Ind.
2012 Salmon 17-13 Scott Ross, Michigan City and Trout 19-3, Adam McGugin Valparaiso
Note: All salmon winners were chinook and all trout winners were lakers except for Vaughn's 2012 brown trout.
Two thousand fish: Perhaps the only positive of five consecutive days of canceled Hoosier Coho Club' Lake Michigan fishing tournaments is 2,000 salmon and trout likely went unharvested and are still swimming out there.
Incredibly, HCC contest were canceled due to fierce north winds and/or rough seas on April 28-29 (Pro/Am), May 5 (Hartman Memorial) and May 6-7 (Classic). For the Classic it was the first time in 43 years it has not fished.
Lakerpalooza: A simple lake trout contest with weigh-in at Marina Shores in Portage fishes from 5:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Anglers may start out of any port, but must be at the weigh-n by 2 p.m. Entry fee is $100 (100 percent pay back) and a maximum six lake trout may be weighed. Late registration is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday or 4:30 a.m to 5 a.m. at the Marina Shores fish cleaning station.
Complete rules are at www.thesouthend.org (see Lakerpalooza thread) or call Jeff at (219) 682-5575 for more information.
Free fishing: May 20 is a free fishing day for Indiana residents, where no license or stamps are required, although all other regulations apply. A Indiana free fishing weekend is also set for June 3-4.
Michigan's free days are June 10-11 and include non-residents.
Youth sailing: The Michigan City Yacht Club's Junior Sail program is gearing up for another fun summer on the water. A trio of multi-week camps start on June 24 , July 8 and July 29. The sailing programs are for age 8 and older. For more information, see www.mcyc.com or contact Charlie Mueller at (219) 561-0141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.