Emo Walleye Classic organizers prepare for tournament

By Daniel Adam
Staff Writer
dadam@fortfrances.com

After a virtual tournament last year and nothing the year before, Colleen Vennechenko, Emo Walleye Classic organizer, says she is ready for the competition to be back in person.

“It’s a great way to bring the community together,” she says. “And right now, I think we need this.”

Vennechenko is expecting 31 teams to compete, which she says is about average. Teams are allowed to register as late as May 26, prior to the rules meeting that night.

Fishing will be on Friday, May 27, and Saturday, May 28, with a rules meeting preceding the competition on Thursday, May 26. Weigh-ins will be at the Emo-LaVallee Community Centre after each day of fishing.

Anglers are allowed four fish per day. Competitors are allowed two fish over 18 inches, and the other two should be between 12 and 18 inches. The heaviest total weight wins.

“Every team is one to keep an eye on,” says Vennechenko. “All it takes is one big fish.”

Based on 30 teams, the top pair will receive a $6,000 cash prize.

The tournament is a 100 per cent payout — Vennechenko says every entry fee that comes in goes right back into the anglers’ pockets. Each team must pay $500 to register.

The Classic usually uses the launch on Front St. in front of Tompkins, but may be using a different launch near the Golden Age Manor since the water is so high.

Vennechenko says the recent weather is nothing to worry about for fishing conditions.

“Between now and then, the water could warm up. It could go down and fish could be anywhere,” she says. “Every year is different.”

This year, events surrounding the competition have been scaled back, as Vennechenko says the committee is stretched thin.

The Classic will still feature a food truck, penny table, and canteen. Emo Minor Hockey will be selling tickets for a beef draw, and the Devlin United Church will be selling pie and coffee. There will also be a parade Thursday night.

Vennechenko says the tournament always welcomes more volunteers and committee members. She says if any students need more volunteer hours, they are welcome to come at 10 a.m. on May 15, to help set up at the arena.

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