Kayak and photo editing are gaining popularity – Great Lakes now

Each year thousands of anglers participate in fishing tournaments across the Great Lakes region, with prizes ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Some, like the Lake Erie Fall Brawl, offer new fishing boats valued at more than $100,000 as top prizes. Some events are aimed at professional fishermen, while others are paired with a professional fisherman and an amateur fisherman. Many are friends and family oriented, often taking advantage of a conservation corner or a local charity.

No matter the risks, it is always fun to see and land the biggest fish people can catch.

Two new championship trends that have gained traction in the past few years are the use of much smaller boats to chase fish and after catching fish it is much nicer for them.

Goodbye frying pan, hello cell phone

This is the crux of catch-and-release courses, such as those run by apps and sites like FishDonkey and TourneyX. The traditional “weighing” does not occur on the beach in front of spectators and other fishermen. Instead, it happens constantly in cyberspace, allowing fishermen and spectators to stay up-to-date with real-time fishing events. All fish are released after being caught with nets and documented.

“They will only take a good quality picture of the fish with something very subtle. Chuck Earls, the first licensed Lake Erie kayak guide from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, explained that the fish is folded to the end, mouth closed and nothing covering your hand.” They asked for it. Well.”

Some catch-and-release courses use a combination of weight and length to determine winners. And if you’ve been thinking about how easy it is to cheat, think again.

“If you can imagine it, it happened. People would cheat, you know?” said Earls. “There were guys who took pictures with different tails there, there were people who cut off the fish’s tails and then covered the gap with their hand holding the fish down. A friend of mine owns the Ketch Board, which is often the only legal measuring board you can use to measure fish.”

Earls said fishermen have been known to bend cheaper plastic gauge plates to produce a “longer” fish.

Those things can happen when people fish big, he said, like the $100,000 jackpot kayak trail bass fishing championship. This is why digital tournaments are comprehensive, and often include requirements that administrators can inspect the metadata of all photos and videos.

In addition to the big wins, Earls said, the rise of photo shooting tournaments is opening up new outdoor opportunities for anglers. These tournaments are particularly amenable to kayak anglers, who do not have live fish farming wells and are usually required to balance traditional live fish.

“I think the main thing that has to be promoted with kayak fishing is that these guys are trying to make sure they don’t just hit the fish, which is why the version of the shots is so big: Take a picture and take that thing back to where it’s going,” he said.

This is ideal for attracting new fishermen who may not be interested in killing or eating fish.

“It definitely brings those people,” Earls said. “I catch walleye and eat it, but I also let a lot go. I try to be very open with everyone so I say, ‘Whatever you decide to do is fine with me, I’m good with it.'”

Providing ample waterboating opportunities for a fraction of the costs associated with traditional fishing boats, kayak and championships are also attracting new anglers who want to take to the water – and fish competitively. And according to Earls, the happier it is.

He said at least one of the major championships in Lake Erie will soon announce the addition of kayaks either in a special class or in conjunction with the open class, plus Lake Erie Vale Brawl will also host a kayak section of the 2022 event.

Lake Erie kayak guide Chuck Earls sits offshore with a beautiful fish in Cleveland. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Earls)

Here is a short list of the 2022 Great Lakes Fishing Championships. Drop in the comments if you know more:

Lake Erie

Clemons Boats Great Lakes Largemouth . Series

largemouth bass

When: 20 events starting April 24

Where: Multiple locations from Toledo to the Cleveland area

FishCrazy Walleye Spring Derby

light gray

When: April 17 – May 28

Where: Lake Ohio and tributary waters

Lake Erie Fall Brawl

light gray

When: October 15 – November 27

Where: Lake Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania Erie

Lake Erie Wally Trail

light gray

When: Eight events from March 26 to September 30

Where: Waters adjacent to Lake Erie

Lake Michigan

Garmin Trail Trail

Salmon and trout

When: 11 events starting April 29

Venue: Multiple locations

Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series

Salmon (catch and release it digitally via TourneyX)

When: September 17

Location: Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series

Bass (capture and digital release via TourneyX)

When: June 18

Where: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Lake Ontario

New York State Championship Lake Ontario Pro / AM

Trout and salmon

When: 3-4 June

Where: Lake Ontario (launched in Olcott)

Lake Ontario Derby Provinces

Salmon, trout and walnuts

When: Spring 6 – 15 May, Summer 2 – 31 July, Autumn 19 August – 5 September

Where: Waters of New York and Ontario

Lake Huron

The classic Chantry Chinook fishing derby

Salmon and trout

When: July 23 – August 7

Where: Lake Huron, Georgia Bay, Ontario

Michigan Woolley Tour

light gray

When: June 17-18

Venue: Oskoda, Michigan

Ontario Kayak Bass Trail

Bass (capture and digital release via TourneyX)

When: August 13

Where: Georgian Bay Port Severn, Ontario

Lake Superior

South Beach Fishing Association Spring Penalty Shootout

Salmon and trout

When: May 7

Where: Marquette

South Beach Fall Classic Fishing Association

Salmon and trout

When: August 27

Where: Marquette

Lake St. Clair

Team fishing rink

Bass (Hunt and shoot a digital course via FishDonkey)

When: July 13

Where: Lake St. Clair, Harrison Township

Ontario Kayak Bass Trail

Bass (capture and digital release via TourneyX)

When: June 25

Where: Lake St. Clair, Windsor, Ontario


Find out more news at Great Lakes now:

Top 10 Fish to Catch: Great Lakes Mean Great Fishing

2022 Perch Outlook: Ohio slot results aren’t great


Featured image: The Lake Erie Walleye Trail paid $4,787 to the winning team at the Cast & Jig Open event on April 16, 2022. (Image source: James Proffitt)

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