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Salmon-A-Rama 2014 - front view

Salmon-A-Rama, one of Lake Michigan’s biggest annual fishing tournaments, opens at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and runs until 11 a.m. Sunday, July 17. This derby-style contest covers the entire lake and offers competition (and cash prizes) in nine divisions.

The tournament headquarters in the ReefPoint Marina parking lot, 2 Christopher Columbus Causeway, is an exciting place to be as a steady stream of contestants brings in fish to be weighed and measured. Meanwhile, results are tallied from remote Salmon-A-Rama weigh-in stations at Milwaukee, Port Washington, Kewaukee and Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; Winthop Harbor, Ill.; Michigan City, Ind.; and Benton Harbor, Muskegon and Ludington, Mich.

With competitions in nine divisions and daily prizes for the largest fish in five species categories, Salmon-A-Rama offers more than 100 ways for anglers to win cash and prizes.

Of course, all eyes will be on the leaderboard for the $20,000 grand prize that is awarded for the largest overall fish. Last year, the grand prize was claimed by 6-year-old Jace Hack of Bristol, Wis., who reeled in a 25.58-pound lake trout. In 2010, the Salmon-A-Rama grand prize was awarded for a world-record 41-pound, 8-ounce brown trout caught by Roger Hellen. Will history repeat itself? Time will tell!

The Salmon-A-Rama tent is also an entertainment hub. There are food and beverages plus free, live music on stage from Pat McCurdy at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Koltrane at 7 p.m. Saturday. Salmon-A-Rama Family Day is 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. It includes face painting, a poster making contest, make-your-own t-shirt, casting lessons, performances by the Children’s Teh Choir and a meet-and-greet with Salmon-A-Rama Claus, Sparkles the Water Spaniel and the Texas Roadhouse Armadillo.

Next week’s Salmon-A-Rama entertainment lineup includes open mic on Tuesday, July 12; karaoke on Wednesday, July 13; Identity Crisis on Thursday, July 14; KatSass on Friday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Bobby Friss on Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Salmon-A-Rama 2016 organizers are making it easy for everyone to get around. Parking is available at $5 per vehicle at the former We Energies site near Lake Avenue and State Street. All parking proceeds will go to local veterans groups and guests will receive a voucher for $5 off any purchase at Salmon-A-Rama or the ReefPoint Brewhouse. A golf cart limo will operate between the parking area and the festival site. A free shuttle on the weekends will operate on a loop that includes the Salmon-A-Rama tent, Harbourwalk Hotel Racine, Main Street, Pershing Park and Festival Hall.

Salmon-A-Rama is presented by Salmon Unlimited of Wisconsin. For tournament registration and more information, visit

Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...