The morning breeze that was adrift on the first Saturday of October had uncertainty in the midst of the many morning impressions. At 8:00 AM that morning, a fishing tournament started with an undetermined victor. That is only part of the uncertainty the day had in store for us. The attitude of the fish and the inclination of the weather would provide an annoyance to all of the fisherman involved in the competition. This is what all the fisherman have been waiting for during the weeks prior: the expected challenge that not every day the fish or weather can be controlled.
Let us back up a minute and talk about the event. The CCWA (Copper Country Walleye Club) puts on a tournament on Portage Lake every year on the first Saturday of October. We have been doing the tournament for 3 years now, so it is a fairly new tournament. The tournament promotes catch and release because in the past 4-5 years Portage Lake hit an incredibly low population status for walleye. A multitude of fisherman that frequently fished in Portage Lake for walleye decided to take action and create a group (which became the CCWA). The newly formed CCWA contacted the DNR to ask them about stocking in Portage Lake. The DNR decided to help us stock consistently for 3 years until the population started to bounce back and now we stock Portage Lake every other year. The population has increased exponentially since the stocking has occurred. A main contributor to population decline was that the lake does not have many areas walleye can reproduce to sustain the population naturally, so we had to help give the walleye a little boost. Now that the stocked fish have grown, we have a fishery that has gotten incredibly better, and still has more potential.
In fishing it is about the enjoyable opportunities and memories that you hold and not the unpredictable weather and fish that keeps people fishing on a daily basis. The challenge overall keeps people coming back for more adventure and fulfillment of the possible day of a lifetime on the lake. “That’s why fishing isn’t called catching.” Without the challenge, it wouldn’t be a continuous mystery of what could happen the days after the last fishing trip. That is why I continue to spend my time fishing for the opportunity to enjoy time with friends, as well as catch a few fish.
The outcome for the fishing tournament itself wasn’t as good as we hoped, but that was in part because the weather did not decide to cooperate with us. It constantly rained all day and did not stop. We got lucky that the temperature was only moderately cool and that the wind was maybe 5-10 mph all day. This made the day much more bearable. There were 13 walleye catch and 15 fisherman in the tournament. The way the tournament works is that we take 3 fish per person and weigh the fish, so total weight wins. The winner only had 1 fish but it was 7.5 pounds! When everything was done and over we gathered together and awarded the winner the trophy. We cooked fish and enjoyed the rest of the rainy day telling stories. With the weather not being perfect, and the fish not biting as well as we had hoped, the enjoyment of getting an excuse to leave the busy world and just go fishing was worth every
Jonathan Baker – YCC Member, Chassell, MI