First 2017 qualifier for Aaron’s Bass Tournament is on Saturday, April 1, helping get the lake season officially underway with substantially more water in Big Bear Lake.
In fact Southern California’s favorite recreation lake has come up about five feet since its 2016 low and the wet season isn’t over yet. In addition to five bass tournament qualifiers and the two-day Tournament of Champions on September 9-10, all the lake’s other events are back in 2017.
Bass fishing gets Big Bear Lake off to a roaring start the first weekend it’s officially open for the season. Both Holloway’s and Big Bear Marinas expect to open for the boating season April 1. Register from 8-9 a.m. at Boathouse Lakeside Tavern with fishing starting at 9 a.m., weigh-in at 5 p.m.
“With the lake higher it’s covering more of the main points that had been exposed without water,” said Aaron Armstrong of Big Bear Charter Fishing. “It gives Big Bear bass more underwater structures for habitat.”
To qualify teams have to fish a minimum of three of the tournaments and finish in the top 40% of the points race. The championship winner will be crowned Big Bear Angler of the Year. The team with the most points after the qualifiers gets a free rental cabin for the championship weekend from Big Bear Cool Cabins.
Entry fee is $180 and 80% goes to the tournament payout with 10% applied to the championship prize money. The remaining 10% goes to Municipal Water District for bass plant. Big fish entry is $20.
Additional tournament qualifier dates on Big Bear Lake are May 6, June 10, July 15 and August 12 prior to the Tournament of Champions. Big Bear Cool Cabins offers discount cabin rentals for bass fisherman and their families; call (800) 550-8779.
Then on May 20-21 a family tradition returns to the lake with the Hall Family May Trout Classic. A whopping $8,000 cash purse plus equipment prizes await anglers during “The Grand Daddy of Them All” fishing tournament, a favorite with generations of anglers. It’s back with MWD sponsorship and a field of 500 anglers on which the $2,500 first place prize is based.
Top nine trout are worth cash plus there’s tons of great prizes, including two brand new kayaks from Bass Pro Shops. Other sponsors include Pautzke, Rapala, Big Bear Sporting Goods, Coleman, Holloway’s Marina, Big Bear Marina, Flambeau and Okuma. Winners must be present at the 3 p.m. Sunday awards party at the Convention Center where checks are dispersed and there’s entertainment and drawings for thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear, bait and tackle.
Entrants receive a May Trout Classic hat, free jar of Pautzke Fire Bait, and admission into the awards party. Weigh-ins are at official weigh station Big Bear Marina. Entry fee is $75 and participants age 16 and under with a paid adult get free tournament entry.
Entries received before May 1 receive a coupon for 10% off an entire purchase at Bass Pro Shop in Rancho Cucamonga. Register by mail before May 1 or in person at MWD on May 19 from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
A great way to pay homage to the late Jim Hall, who founded the event in 1983 with Jerry Eden. The Classic has been a major reason Big Bear Lake has become a premium trout fishery with a focus on large fish, since approximately 30% of the proceeds go right back to stocking trophy fish into the water. Visit www.BBMWD.org or call (909) 866-5796.
“Fishin’ for $50K” also is back in 2017 on June 3-4, with a total of 80 tagged trout waiting to be caught, all worth cash prizes. Five grand prize tagged trout net the lucky angler an incredible $10,000 each while another 25 are worth two hundred bucks each. Plus 50 bonus tagged trout bring in $59 each.
If that’s not enough, someone will take home a Hobie fishing kayak. The $70 entry includes free Pautzke Fire Bait. Get half-price entry by booking a one or two night stay at participating Big Bear lodging on June 3-4, or by renting a boat from a participating marina for the event.
Call (800) 424-4232 or www.bigbearfishing.com.