Trout Classic, Fishing $50K Back

Winners of 2016 Bass Fishing eventAaron’s six-event Big Bass Tournament is underway and unlike last year the traditional  trout tournaments are on tap too. Early 2016 season bite on Big Bear Lake has been brisk, especially for trollers. Big Bear fishing is on the upswing!

In 2015 the bass events were about the only contests on the lake, saved for October Troutfest, with the cancellation of the long-running May Trout Classic and “Fishin’ for $50K” Now both are back bigger and better than ever in 2016 and bass fishing gets Big Bear Lake off to a roaring star with marinas including Holloway’s and Big Bear Marina open for the boating season.

Six qualifying events comprise Aaron’s bass tournament including one more outing on nearby Silverwood Lake on May 21. Additional tournament qualifier dates on Big Bear Lake are June 11, July 23 and August 20, Anglers vie for points to compete in the two-day Tournament of Champions held September 17-18. Meet at Boathouse Lakeside Tavern docks at 8 a.m.

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.

The Silverwood opener was in winter conditions but the bite improved with Isaac Ortiz and Diego Purand taking first with over 14 pounds caught. Aaron Armstrong and Rusty Brown were second with over ten-and-a-half pounds.

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. Registration and weigh-in is at Boathouse Lakeside Tavern on the lake. Big Bear Cool Cabins offers discount cabin rentals for bass fisherman and their families; call (800) 550-8779.

On May 14-15 a family tradition returns to the lake with the Hall Family May Trout Classic. A whopping $8,000 cash purse plus equipment prizes awaits anglers during “The Grand Daddy of Them All” fishing tournament, a favorite with generations of anglers till it was cancelled last year due to insurance issues. Now it’s back with Municipal Water District 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 from sponsors Bass Pro Shops, Pautzke, Big Bear Sporting Goods, Coleman, Holloway’s Marina, Big Bear Marina, Flambeau, Rapala 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 Big Bear Marina. Register by mail before May 1 or in person at MWD on May 13 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 or call (909) 866-5796. Entry fee is $75 and participants age 16 and under with a paid adult get free tournament entry. Big Bear Marina is the official weigh station.

“Fishin’ for $50K” also is back in 2016 on June 11-12, with a twist. This time instead of one elusive  tagged trout worth the big bucks, there’s five that are good for $10,000 each. Still another 75 are worth cash prizes with 25 tagged fish worth up to $200 each. 50 consolation trout are worth $50.

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 10-12, or by renting a boat from a participating marina for the event.

Call (800) 424-4232.

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