The Largest Fishing Tournament on the Great Lakes

Fishing poles
Fishing poles rest in one of the official buckets given to registrants of Salmon-a-Rama at Reefpoint Marina, Racine, Wis. The lines of the poles were tied off to beer bottles to alert the fishermen if a fish tugged at the bait. | Canon 1D Mark III and 70-200mm f/4L IS lens @ 89mm | Exposed 1/800 sec. @ f/4, ISO 100 (+1 EV)

The largest freshwater fishing tournament in the Great Lakes kicked off on July 10 in Racine, Wis.  One of the great concerns about the possibility of Asian Silver and Bighead carp entering into Lake Michigan is the potential for the destruction of sport fishing due to the radical changes that could happen to the food chain.  The carp are voracious filter-feeders, and could out-compete the fish that serve as “food” for the trout and salmon, and could be the final nail in the coffin for the lake perch.

It wasn’t foremost on the minds of the anglers participating in Salmon-a-Rama, but when I explained the idea of my project, there seemed to be universal concern about the invasive carp, most recently found only six miles from the shoreline of Lake Michigan.  It’s encouraging that this project is relevent even if the environmental outlook for the Great Lakes seems to be discouraging.

Pat McManaway, who has participated in Salmon-a-Rama since 1975, installs a new line on a fishing pole for his grandson in his tent at Reefpoint Marina on the third day of the contest on Monday, July 12, 2010. McManaway said that he'll stay out for the duration of the contest, but "if we get tired we'll go home." | Canon 5D Mark II and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens @ 30mm | Exposed 1/500 sec. @ f/4, ISO 100 (0 EV)

Over the next few days I hope to spend time with the anglers participating in this year’s contest.  I’m also going to try to get in a few interviews with some local authorities on the issue before returning to Columbia.

f RacinJames Peterson poses with his 12-pound Chinook Salmon
James Peterson, Jr. poses with his 12-pound Chinook Salmon on the third day of Salmon-a-Rama on Monday, July 12, 2010 in Racine, Wis. | Canon 5D Mark II and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens @ 30mm | Exposed 1/320 sec. @ f/4, ISO 100 (+1.33 EV)

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