2018 Spring Classic Muskie Tournament
The first morning of the Spring Classic Muskie Tournament
Every year thousands of anglers hunt the waters of Eagle River looking for that thrilling catch. To start off the season, it is expected that 300 people will participate in the Northwoods oldest and biggest cash prize fishing tournament, the 2018 Spring Classic Muskie Tournament.
The 38th annual catch and release event, sponsored by Headwaters Chapter 12, of Muskie, Inc, will be held June 9-10 at Eagle Park on the North side of Eagle Lake. The Eagle River Inn serves as headquarters for the event.
Registration for those participating is held Friday night at the Eagle River Inn from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. A mandatory rules meeting will be held at 8:00 p.m.
Fishing begins at 7:00 a.m., on Saturday with coffee and doughnuts at 6:00 a.m., and concludes at 5:00 p.m. Sunday again starts with coffee and doughnuts at 6:00 a.m. and fishing is from 7:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
At the conclusion of fishing, there is a luncheon served at the Eagle River Inn and the awards ceremony. Even those participating in the tournament who did not catch fish are encouraged to attend the lunch. There they have a chance to win one of the more than 100 door prizes and cash. Door prizes are donated by area businesses.
Scott Samuels is the tournament director and with the growing popularity of the Classic, he is expecting this year’s event will see full registration with 150 two-man teams.
Samuels took the director position utilizing his professional marketing skills as an event organizer. As a member of Headwaters Chapter for 10 years, he assumed the position at a monthly meeting five years ago.
When asked why someone should participate in the tournament, Samuels said, “You can win a lot of money. Last year’s winning team only caught two fish and they took home $13,500.
“We keep part of the money. The only money we keep goes into repairing and replacing ramps and the docks at local launch ramps. We are putting restrooms at a lot of these ramps, too. It’s a really good cause,” explained Samuels.
“It is wide open. If you look at who has won over the last ten years, it is people with all levels of skill. Everyone has a good chance to win.”
Here are the numbers — top prize this year is expected to be $14,000 with prizes totaling $28,000. There are ten money prizes awarded to the top 10 teams that catch the most inches of fish. The cash prize amounts are based on full registration of 150 two-man teams. If the tournament does not have full registration, the prize amounts will be adjusted accordingly.
The cost to register is $340 for the two-man team. Single person teams are also welcome. Brochures are available and are distributed, along with posters, throughout the area at fishing-related businesses. The brochures are mailed out to everyone who has attended the tournament in previous years. It is also promoted in the Headwaters Chapter newsletter that all 300+ members receive monthly.
“We get on the news and do some press releases and get in the paper,” Samuels said. “This is a big fundraising thing. This is a non-profit event and people are pretty happy to help us. There are six or seven companies who help us out … they give us products for our raffle table.”
The 2018 Spring Classic Muskie Tournament brochure and application forms are available online on the Headwaters website. Also, for event details and updates, visit their Facebook page. You can learn about membership for the Headwaters Chapter of Muskie, Inc on their webpage.
“It’s the largest cash prize (Muskie fishing tournament) in the Northwoods, it’s a lot of fun and you are supporting fishing in the area by doing it. You don’t have to be a (Headwaters Chapter) member,” said Samuels, inviting everyone who loves to fish to join in the fun.