Gone fishing

Local contest draws large crowd

Bob Nielsen of Wells measures a bass that was caught by Harlee Gavin of Corinth. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

NORTHAMPTON — More than 200 anglers showed up to vie for cash prizes for the longest fish, win raffle prizes, and just have a good time in the 26th annual Summer Fishing Contest at the Great Sacandaga Lake.

The event was sponsored by the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation at Sport Island Pub to raise funds to stock the lake with rainbow and brown trout and walleyes.

In walleyes, Brett Turnbull of Wells took the first prize of $300 for a 27 3/4-incher, followed by Mike Carman of Edinburg, $200, for 26 1/2; Fozz Harrington of Northville, $150 for 20 7/8; and Kyle Trojan of Scotia, $50 for 20 1/8.

In bass, Mike Leto of Broadalbin took first for $300 for a 17 5/8-incher; Glen Taylor of Hudson Falls and Josh Romrill of Gloversville tied for second with 17 1/2 and each got $175; Leto and Cecil Hayes of Hadley tied for fourth with 17 3/8 and got $25 each.

In trout, Forrest Higgins of Glenville took away $300 for a fish of 15 3/8 inches while Donna Lynch of Rockland, Mass., won $200 for second. No one took third and fourth trout prizes.

Randy Gardinier, coordinator of the 26th annual Summer Fishing Contest sponsored by Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation, hands a plaque and prize money to Forrest Higgins of Glenville for the first-place trout Saturday at the lake. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Randy Gardinier, chairman of the event, awarded the cash and plaques and the raffle prizes.

More than $10,000 in fishing-related prizes were raffled, and all of the prize packages were donated by area businesses.

“It was really a good turnout,” said Richard Kekib of Edinburg, co-chairman of the tourney. He noted that some people were from as far away as Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Some were just vacationers and some diehard fishermen, he said.

“Every dollar we make goes into stocking the lake.”

Twenty-five trout were tagged with a blue tag by the federation, but nobody snagged one. If a person who is a member of the federation catches a tagged trout during the tournament, he or she will receive $750. Outside of the tournament, a tagged trout is worth $500 from May 7 through Labor Day. The total available for tagged trout is $18,750.

Rachel Vickers of Perth collects raffle tickets at the 26th annual Summer Fishing Contest sponsored by Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation Saturday at the lake. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Last year, the federation garnered $7,323 from the summer tournament, according to its treasurer, Gus Muller of Edinburg. The federation also sponsors an ice-fishing contest on the same day as the Walleye Challenge, but both were canceled for the past two years due to dangerous ice conditions.