The Budweiser CanAm Walleye Challenge returns to Port Colborne for the first time in two years, offering substantial cash prizes to those who bring in the biggest.
The two-day challenge will take place on June 24th and 25th, with boats departing from Sugarloaf Marina in Port Colborne. Participants will then fish for walleye in the waters of Lake Erie, the upper Niagara River and the lower Grand River.
Dave Malloy, The event organizer and owner of Erie Tracker Outfitters says registration for this year’s event has been slow after two years without the event, but he hopes all 100 available spots will be filled before event day.
“It took a long time because the guys were waiting,” Malloy said. “It’s coming back a bit slow now because we’ve been mad at COVID. It was a different layout.”
On June 24, teams can attend “Penn” Big Fish Friday to warm up for the competition.
“It starts on Friday June 24th, Big Fish Friday. So everyone will pre-fish for the tournament. it’s a good day They bring their biggest fish and you can win up to $5,000 for first place.”
The main event will then take place on Saturday 25th June. The team will compete to have the highest combined weight of four walleye, along with a separate prize for the group bringing in the biggest fish of the day.
“Two to five anglers with a maximum of eight rods fish for zander. We weigh four walleye and it’s the heaviest weight of the day,” said Malloy, who will win the competition.
The winning prize for the first place team in Saturday’s tournament is $15,000, but only if all 100 registration spots are filled. All top 15 teams are also eligible to win prize money.
Malloy is optimistic he can fill all the spots, even though registration has been sluggish so far due to multiple challenges.
“The price of gas isn’t helping,” Malloy said as one explanation for why registration has been so slow this year. “Definitely it’s filling up and I hope we can have 100 teams at the end.”
Each team registered for the tournament will be entitled to several perks during the week of the event, including ramp fees waived on the day of the event.
The City of Port Colborne and Sugarloaf Marina will also be making docks available at 50 percent of their regular rates to teams interested in fishing ahead of the tournament.
“It’s half the price on Sugar Loaf, and you can park your boat for a week or a few days whenever you want,” Malloy said.
Those interested in participating in the Budweiser CanAm Challenge can visit the Erie Tracker Outfitters Facebook page or contact Dave Malloy directly at [email protected]
The last day to register to participate in the Budweiser CanAm Walleye Challenge is June 15, the entry fee is US$500 per team.