Ryan Matuzak: Fishing league open to all anglers – Traverse City Record Eagle

Spring is in the air and the fish are biting.

That is the scene across northern Michigan right now. Numerous species of your favorite fish are active in our lakes, rivers and streams. With the warming water and temperatures the fishing has been good, it is time to get out that boat and fishing gear if you haven’t already.

With the new fishing season comes a new year of fishing fun at the Wednesday Night Fishing League, sponsored by the Grand Traverse Area Sport Fishing Association. This activity is the perfect way to learn what is going on by fishing different lakes and bays around the Grand Traverse region, all while having fun with family and friends. The spring nights are three hours of fishing from 6 – 9 p.m. Summertime events are from 6 – 9:30 p.m. with the longer days.

This is a drop-in event with no requirements other than a valid fishing license. Kids are especially welcomed at these events and there is a tackle prize available to every kid that fishes the GTASFA league, all year long.

Each week the league moves to a different lake or bay launch site in our area. Rotating the differing varieties of fishing opportunities our region has to offer provides a unique opportunity. This fishing event is the perfect way to learn and see many beautiful local waters.

You can see what folks are catching and learn from others what works or maybe what did not. The event format is based on each participant trying to catch one big fish for the weigh-in at the end of the evening. Each night is an all-species event, so if it’s a legal fish, it counts! All legal fishing techniques utilizing a rod and reel are welcomed.

The entry for the nightly event is $10 per angler. Nightly winners with the top three big fish enjoy a 70/20/10 spilt of the prize money for the evening, with 15 percent of the total going toward GTASFA kids fishing efforts and fisheries support projects.

Even if you aren’t fishing, stop by on Wednesday for a weigh-in and see the local catch.

Look for GTASFA volunteer John Ratcliffe — he runs the fishing league and always has tips for new anglers from the local guides and captains. Upcoming events include:

5/17: Long Lake at Crescent Shores

5/24: South Lake Leelanau at Bingham Launch

5/27: Bass Opener

5/31: East and West Grand Traverse Bay

6/07: Lake Ann

6/14: Big Platte Lake

6/21: Upper and Lower Herring at Lower Herring

6/28: Cedar Hedge Lake

7/05: Arbutus and Spider Lake at Spider Lake

7/12: Crystal Lake at Mollineaux Road new launch

7/19: Long Lake at Crescent Shores

7/26: South Lake Leelanau at Bingham launch

8/02: Big Platte Lake

8/09: Green Lake at Green Lake off M-37

The full fishing schedule and more information are available at www.gtasfa.com.

Ryan Matuzak runs fishing trips in the Grand Traverse region — North Country Sportfishing, LLC — and is a board member of the Grand Traverse Area Sport Fishing Association. To learn more, drop him a line at: northcountry.mi@gmail.com.