Brown Trout Festival revamps fishing contest

ALPENA – The Michigan Brown Trout Festival has been tagging a big brown trout for the last few years with the promise of a large prize to the person who catches that specific fish. But this year, tagging will be a little different.

Instead of having one lump sum or a single large prize for a single fish, the festival will be looking for sponsors to donate $250, $500, or $1,000 prizes for a multiple number of fish. The sponsor gets to choose their choice of fish species: walleye, lake trout or brown trout, and if an angler catches the fish with the corresponding sponsors tag number, that angler wins the prize donated by the sponsor. If the sponsor’s “tag” fish is not caught, the festival will save 20 percent of the donation to go toward next year’s “tag” fish program, which will be added to the prize money for the sponsor’s new fish.

“This was a brainstorm idea,” Eugene Skiba, president of Alpena Buick-GMC said. “This is a neat new way to encourage and promote the Brown Trout Festival. There will be more prizes for more people. This year is the 39th year for the festival, so we’re trying to raise awareness and make it more enjoyable by adding more prizes.”

The Department of National Resources net and tag the fish with a number that will match a number for a sponsor’s donated prize.

“We’re looking for additional sponsors,” Skiba said. “We’d like to see an additional 20-25 fish tagged, giving people a larger opportunity to win a prize.”

There are seven sponsors currently on board for the tag fish program, with hopes for additional sponsors to increase the prize money for this year.

“We’re really excited about this program,” festival President Peggy Donakowski said. “We hope the extra prizes will bring even more people to the festival this year.”

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.