Sport Fishing Association to host ice fishing tournament

The Manistee County Sport Fishing Association’s Portage Lake Fun Fish will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 23 on Portage Lake in Onekama. (News Advocate File Photo)

MANISTEE — Men, women and children all have an opportunity to get out on the ice and do some fishing next weekend during the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association’s Portage Lake Fun Fish.

Those taking part must be registered by 8 a.m. on Feb. 23; fishing may not begin before 7:30 a.m. and all lines must be out of the water by 2 p.m.

The event was originally scheduled for last month, but was cancelled due to weather.

Pre-registration can be done at Lakeside Treats and Bait in Onekama; anyone who previously pre-registered can either remain registered or request a refund and re-register.

Those who participate in the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association’s Portage Lake Fun Fish can enter fish in the four selected categories: Northern Pike, Perch, Bluegill/Sunfish and Whitefish/Cisco. (News Advocate File Photo)

“We’ll probably just keep the registration sheet going until the next tournament and people can preregister. Preregistering is better for us, then we have an idea,” said event organizer Phil Sedelmaier.

The Manistee County Sport Fishing Association (MCSFA) has never hosted an ice fishing event before.

“A lot of our emphasis has always been on big lake fishing — Lake Michigan. As we’re seeing our membership shift, we think there’s an opportunity to do more inland events, ice fishing events,” said MCSFA president Kevin Hughes. “We’re trying to help diversify, and we’re trying to help keep our association vibrant because a lot of our guys with these big boats, when they get old and they get out of it, there’s not a person to replace them.”

Sedelmaier said Michigan DNR rules apply, and those taking part can only fish Portage Lake during the designated hours.

“You do not have to be a member of the Sports Fishing Association to fish this,” he said. “We’re promoting, this is open for kids to fish too. Berkley (Fishing Products) has given us several prizes to give away for a kids fish, a kids category. The kids, if they catch the biggest fish overall can still win the money, but then we also have prizes that we’re going to give away to the biggest fish in the category for kids. We’ll probably do some random giveaways for the kids also.”

Hot dogs, brats, chips, coffee, hot chocolate will be provided to fishermen taking part in the tournament free of charge, courtesy of Rob and Shelley Johnson with Papa J’s Ice Cream & Eatery in Onekama. However, Sedelmaier said food will only be available on a first come, first serve basis.

Fish measuring will take place beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Village Park in Onekama. Fish must be measured by 2:30 p.m. or they will not be allowed. Participants do not need to bring all their fish to measure, just the biggest of each category. Payout will follow immediately after with the intention of being done shortly after 3 p.m.

The selected categories are Northern Pike, Perch, Bluegill/Sunfish and Whitefish/Cisco.

All of the entry money will be paid out for big fish determined by length in each of the four categories.

Sedelmaier said the event was started to try to get more people involved in fishing.

“Our membership has been declining over the years, and we’ve always been looked as a big lake fishing organization. That really couldn’t be further from the truth; we’re involved in every aspect of fishing in Manistee County,” he said.

Feb. 24 is the back up weather date for the event.

For more information, search for Manistee County Sport Fishing Association (MCSFA) on Facebook or call Sedelmaier at (231) 510-1424.

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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