The 27th Annual Southwest Michigan Steelheaders “Winter Challenge” River Tournament was held on the St. Joseph River on December 3rd, under almost perfect conditions. The winds light, the water clear as over 80 fisherman found their way to their favorite fishing holes.  With lines in the water at 6:00 AM, most participants struggled to find the fish early but pressed on to find one or two, while others were fortunate enough to find their three steelheads for the official weigh-in.  While tournament rules allow Brown Trout, Lake Trout and Walleye to be entered, none were registered.

The rules of this tournament are somewhat unique, as you enter as an individual but your registered weights could play a key role in the Chapter Challenge side of the tournament.  The three biggest Steelhead caught by a Battle Creek Chapter member(s) are put against the three largest weighed-in by a  S.W. Michigan Chapter member(s).  A traveling trophy is then presented to the Chapter with the most weight, which was secured for a second year in a row by the Battle Creek Chapter, with a winning weight of 36.21# versus 31.30#.  The largest steelhead of the tournament was recorded at 14.52# and caught by Battle Creek Chapter Member Nate Suhr.  The other two steelhead that made up the BC Chapter total weighed-in at 11.32# and 10.37#, which were caught by Paul Lajoyie and Mark Adams respectively.

As for the Southwest Michigan Chapter, Cap

tain Todd Brill of Gold Coast Fishing Company recorded their largest steelhead weighing in at 12.09#, which secured his second place finish overall .  He also received the coveted Walt Tober Memorial award, which is named after a longtime, contributing member of the SW Club and presented to the SW Member catching the largest steelhead of the day.  The other two steelhead added to the SW Chapter total weighed-in at 9.61# and 9.60#, caught by Jeff Crouse and Winn Wolf respectively.

We would like to thank all of the participants, sponsors and members that helped with this event; we look forward hosting this wonderful tournament again next year.