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Michigan City to host annual Coho Club Classic

Updated: June 4, 2013 6:40AM



Skills will be tested this weekend in the 39th annual Hoosier Coho Club Classic — longest running tournament of its kind on the Great Lakes — out of Michigan City. At stake is $50,000 in prizes, including a a $10,000 top prize in the professional division, and pride for the expected 70-plus boats.

Mother Nature will test with wind, waves and weather, while the salmon and trout are scattered.

“I’ve been on three or four trolls the last 10 days where we went three or four hours without a strike,’’ Hoosier Coho Club vice president Mike McKee emailed. “Still, we’ve eventually ended up with good, if not limit catches of mostly coho and lake trout. Big Chinook have been hard to come by, but that could change any day now. The kings will be the wild card to win the tournament — if someone can latch onto a few.’’

A blast take-off is from the lighthouse at 7 a.m. both days. Boats must be by back 1 p.m. daily. That six-hour window limits guessing and running.

Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert handicapped the tournament.

“The three biggest lake trout and then the next group of nine fish will win the tournament,’’ he emailed. “We are seeing cohos in the daily catch as of Monday. That should mean we will begin seeing Chinooks as well very soon. Last two seasons were Chinook tournaments while the year prior was primarily lake trout. Back then there was not a limit on the number of lake trout that could be weighed in. Last two years it was set at six and this year further reduced to three daily. I think this is a wise use of resources available and truly makes this a tournament.’’

For info, go to hoosiercohoclub.org.

Bass fundraiser: If my memory is right, the inaugural Big Bass Bash could be the biggest bass tournament ever on southern Lake Michigan. The two-person team bass tournament is a fundraiser for Warriors First Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project. Entry is $300 per boat. Launch will be June 29 out of Portage Marina with the weigh-in at the Portage Bass Pro Shop. In a field of 150 boats, the top prize will be $10,000. Registration and information are at lakemichiganbigbassbash.com.

Turkey hunting: Hunting season runs through May 12. As of Thursday, staff at Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area reported “15 or 16 birds’’ taken at the site and the same number checked in from LaPorte County. LaSalle FWA had six killed as of Monday, about normal. Willow Slough FWA is running behind.

Morels: Mid-week heat brought out hopeful hunters of morel mushrooms. Willow Slough had reports of at least a few found. Other sites checked had morel hunters, but no reports yet.

Clubbing: Breidert will speak at the Wednesday meeting (begins at 6:30 p.m.) of the Hoosier Coho Club at the Skwiat American Legion in Michigan City.

Fishing notes: The hottest bite going — before the winds and waves — was the deep-water bite for perch off Gary Light in either 47 or 53 feet on perch flies and minnows. Over the weekend, as many as 200 boats were out in a record-setting stretch for local bait shops. ... The other hot bite is bluegill and some crappie at Willow Slough.

... Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said Tuesday was a wild day for panfish at Pine and Long lakes. ... At LaSalle, the Kankakee River is dropping and a few largemouth are being caught from Black Oak Bayou. ... In a first report for the season, Sleziak said Sonny’s stinkbait is taking some catfish at Lakefront Park at Portage.



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