ELYRIA — A bounty has been put out by Visit Lorain County on the heaviest walleye in county waters.
For the first time ever, the county will offer a $1,000 bounty for the heaviest fish caught in Lake Erie as part of the Walleye Fall Brawl, a fishing derby held in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie that attracts nearly 10,000 anglers.
Visit Lorain County Interim Director Jennifer Kennedy said the organization hopes to continue “branding the county as a fishing destination” and wants to encourage anglers to stay in Lorain County, launch their boats in Lorain County and fish in Lorain County.
“We have not seen anywhere that offers a bounty for the heaviest fish caught in some sort of area,” Kennedy said. “It’s kind of a fun and unique concept.”
The bounty competition is sponsored by the Lorain County commissioners, Visit Lorain County and Mike Bass Ford.
“We were fortunate that Mike Bass Ford stepped up to help us offer this cash prize,” Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo said. “Fall Brawl is going to be a lot of fun in Lorain County.”
Kennedy said to compete, participants must be registered with the Fall Brawl.
“The Fall Brawl has very strict guidelines in place; they even make you take a lie detector test,” Kennedy said. “We’re going to abide by their rules, and they’re going to help us declare the winner of the $1,000 bounty prize.”
Weigh-ins for the competition will take place at Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake.
“I think it’s going to be excellent,” Erie Outfitters owner Craig Lewis said. “Honestly, I don’t think it will be long before other cities are doing it. It’s incredible when you have the opportunity to draw a few thousand people into your community at that time of the year.”
The event runs Oct. 19 to Dec. 2. The winning fish will be determined by weight, with length used as a tiebreaker. To qualify for the Lorain County prize, anglers will have to submit the coordinates of where their fish was caught, as well as a photo that identifies where they were fishing.
Complete contest rule can be found at www.LakeErieFishingDerby.com.