The Ludington area is a paradise for those who love boating and fishing. Numerous marinas rent a variety of boats and offer modern facilities.
Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash.com
Ludington Offers Popular Fishing Tournaments & Events Throughout the Year
Whether it’s fishing for salmon on Lake Michigan, trout in the Pere Marquette River, or walleye in Hamlin Lake, Ludington has the best variety of fishing. And local tournaments give anglers a chance to add a little money to their pocket in addition to the fish in their bucket. No matter what time of year you want to cast a line, the Ludington area provides great fishing opportunities and plenty of fishing tournaments!
Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekends
February 18th-19th AND June 10th-11th, 2023
The State of Michigan offers its residents and outstate visitors two Free Fishing Weekends per year. According to the Michigan Fisheries Department (517) 373-1280, the February date is always the weekend before President’s Day, and the June date is the weekend following the first full week of June.
The Winter Free Fishing Weekend has occurred since 1994 as a way to raise awareness of Michigan’s vast aquatic resources and fishing opportunities. There are over 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,000 inland lakes and uncounted miles of rivers and streams.
There are three prominent ice fishing tournaments held in Ludington each winter, and all are sponsored by Pere Marquette Expeditions. Contact them for more information on the Monster Pike, Gettin’ Jiggy, and Finny Slam Ice Fishing Tournaments.
Monster Pike Ice Fishing Tournament on Pere Marquette Lake
All DNR rules apply and any Michigan lake may be fished. Entry fee is $10 and registration must be completed before the 7am start time. Registration opens at 5:30am. There will be a 100% payout for the longest pike. This tournament is only for pike- no other fish will be included. Participants must be in line for measuring at Suttons Landing by 5pm.
- Winners from 2022 were: Wesley Hodges-first place with a 36 3/4″ pike, Jeff Balkema took second with a 36 1/2″ pike, and Jim Rotta was 3rd with a 36″ pike.
Gettin’ Jiggy Ice Fishing Tournament
The Gettin’ Jiggy Tournament coincides with Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend. Entry fee is $10 and there is a 100% payout for the longest fish in each category: Bluegill, Crappie, and Perch. You must be in line for measuring by 6pm. At the end of the tournament, free hot dogs will be served at Sutton’s Landing down at the river and is included in the entry fee.
- First place winners in 2022 were: Justin Morgan with 14 3/16″ Crappie, Steven Rickert with a 10 1/2″ Blue Gill, and with a 12 15/16″ Perch, Clive Seydell.
Finny Slam Fishing Tournament
Named for local fisherman, Ray Finholm, who passed away in a boating accident. All DNR rules apply and any Michigan lake may be fished. Prize includes a 100% payout for the longest fish in each category: Pike, Steelhead, and Perch. You must be in line for measuring by 6pm. The $10 entry fee includes sloppy joes down by the river at Sutton’s Landing following the tournament.
Ludington Offshore Fishing Tournament
The Ludington Offshore Fishing Classic on Lake Michigan is the biggest tournament of the summer, with cash and prizes given away. The event is held annually in July and includes a Ladies Pro/Am, Youth Classic, a Big Fish Contest, and the Classic Big Boys Contest. In the afternoon as the boats make their way in, hundreds head to Ludington’s Waterfront Park to watch the weigh-in. The size of some of the fish are quite incredible.
Mason County Walleye Association Fundraising Banquet
The Mason County Walleye Association hosts its annual dinner in late June at the Ludington Boat Club. The event features a perch dinner, silent auction, door prizes, and a raffle. Tickets are generally $15 and are available at Ludington Truck Tops or by contacting Carter Koles at (231) 843-2183.
Area fishermen who love to catch walleye have one group to thank for their abundance in area lakes-the Mason County Walleye Association. Over the past 25 years, the group has raised more than 3.5 million walleye for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources with most going into Hamlin Lake. Just recently 150,000 walleye were released into Hamlin Lake after being housed and fed in a pond they maintain in southeast Ludington. The purpose of the Mason County Walleye Asssociation is important, as the fish do not always reproduce naturally, and government help is waning.
The Mason County Walleye Association is supported solely by donations and fundraising banquets. If you cannot attend the banquet but would like to make a donation, you can do so through the Community Foundation for Mason County or contact MCWA President Carter Koles at (231) 843-2183.
More Fishing in Ludington...
Ludington fishing tournaments give anglers a chance to add a little money to their pocket in addition to the fish in their bucket.
There are many places for anglers to try their luck, and Ludington has such a great variety of fish. The area also has great charter captains.
Here you will find past fishing reports for the Ludington area, including Lake Michigan, PM Lake, PM River, and Hamlin Lake.
The very popular Ludington Offshore Classic Fishing Tournament sponsored by Captain Chuck’s takes place each July in Ludington.
No matter your experience level, Ludington area charter captains will guide you in what to bring and what to expect on the big lake.
“Fish on For Freedom” is a non-profit event that provides a free day of fishing to military veterans on Lake Michigan.