---- — Snow drifts still exist and the lakes are buried in ice, but that hasn’t kept Michiana fishermen from thinking about the upcoming tournament season.
Tournament directors have announced their schedules and we’re seeing a few new ones crop up among the old standbys.
The newest, if not most unique, is the “Michiana Casting Couples” for male/female teams. Entry fee is $40 and tournaments will be from 7 a.m. to noon. The group is open to the public and will conduct only three events this year to measure interest. Those events are May 31 at Klinger, July 12 at Diamond and Sept. 6 at Magician. For details, call Rick Kedik, 269-240-4917.
Here are some of the other tournaments scheduled this summer:
R&B Opens (Mark Fennell, 260-463-1259): $60 entry, St. Joseph River at 6 Span (previously Wawasee), March 29; St. Joseph River at Maggies (previously Lake Manitou), April 5; St. Joseph River (Maggies), July 6.
Summit City Bass Masters Ice Breaker (Brian McNeal, 260-402-6594): $80 entry, Lake Wawasee April 12.
River Wednesdays: Entry fee is $30 per event, held at various Indiana locations on the St. Joseph River each Wednesday night beginning April 16 through Aug. 27. For more information, visit www.riverwednesdays.com.
Clear H2O Tackle Opens: Entry fee is $60 per team or $35 solo. Events will be May 25, Paw Paw Lake; July 26, Pipestone; Aug. 9, Diamond. Call John Gipson Jr., 269-362-4670.
Clear H2O Tackle Smallie Opens: Entry fee, $50. Two events, both on the St. Joe River at Benton Harbor, Oct. 19 and Nov. 1. Call John Gipson Jr., 269-362-4670.
R&B Circuit: Entry fee is $70 with $25 membership fee. Events are April 26, Wawasee; May 17, Lake James; June 21, Randall Chain; July 19, Gull Lake; Aug. 16, Maxinkuckee; Sept. 13, Diamond. Contact, Mark Fennell, 260-463-1259.
SMAC: The Southwest Michigan Anglers host weekend and Wednesday night series. Entry fee is $50 per team, no membership. The schedule is May 3, Six Span; June 1, Paw Paw; June 11, Magician; June 22, Diamond; July 2, St. Joe River at Buchanan; July 13, Klinger; Aug. 3, Cory/Harwood; Aug. 13, Lake of the Woods (Bremen); Aug. 24, Magician. Call Scott Crocker, 269-362-3115.
Weekend Lunkers: Entry fee $20 per person and $30 for membership. Events are May 26, St. Joe River at Benton Harbor; June 1, Pipestone; June 15, St. Joe River (Jasper Dairy); July 13, Van Auken; July 27, Mystery event; Aug. 10 Rush Lake; Aug 24, St. Joe River at Buchanan; Sept. 7, Diamond; Sept. 21, Magician. Contact Chris Crumley, 269-369-5220.
Michiana Walleye Assn.: Entry fee $60 with $25 per person membership. Events are Aug. 19, Big Turkey; May 3, St. Joe River at Maggies; June 7, Maxinkuckee; June 28, Lake of Woods, Bremen; Aug. 16, Winona Lake. Call Ed Szymczak, 574-707-5407.
Four Flags: Entry fee is $70 in advance, $75 day of event. The schedule is May 24, Eagle/Juno; June 8, Magician; June 29, Diamond; July 13, Gun Lake; Aug. 17, Austin Lake; Sept. 7, Grand River. Contact Dave Landon, 269-635-3534.
Hoosier Pro: Entry fee $80, $10 membership. Events are April 13, Mill Pond; May 18, Maxinkuckee; June 22, Manitou; July 13, Barbee Chain; Aug. 3, Winona Lake; Sept. 14, Tippecanoe Lake. Contact Mitch Hayes, 219-716-4808.
Angler’s Choice: Entry fee $160, $35 membership. Events are April 19, Barbee Chain; May 10, Tippecanoe; June 7, Wawasee; July 26, Wawasee; Aug. 23, Winona; Sept. 27, Tippecanoe; and Oct. 11, Winona. Contact Mitch Hayes, 219-716-4808.
For more details and a calendar of tournament events, visit www.michianaoutdoorsnews.com.
The Tackle Box in North Webster will host its Spring Fishing Kickoff March 22 at the store.
In addition to fishing seminars, free hot dogs, popcorn and soft drinks will be available. Tackle specials will be available throughout the event which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Seminars will be conducted by Greg Mangus (bass), Gary Enos (muskie) and Don Magnum (panfish). For more information, call the store at 574-834-2011.
Bodine Fish Hatchery officials returned 139 adult steelhead into the St. Joseph River in Merrifield Park last week.
Those were excess males and females that the DNR captured last fall for taking eggs for future stocking.
“We exceeded our egg needs and released those fish back in the river,” said Hatchery Manager Dave Meuninck.
Meuninck also said underwater cameras recording fish movement at the South Bend ladder were put back into action this week.
Contact Goshen News outdoor writer Louie Stout at email@example.com.