BY BLAKE WARREN
BIG BEAR LAKE – Firmly entrenched in early fall tradition with loads of family fishing fun, the Western Outdoor News Big Bear Lake Troutfest is making its anticipated return to the “Blue Jewel” that is Big Bear after a one-year hiatus, slated for its usual spot on the calendar the first weekend of October (Oct. 2-3). After a challenging 2020 across the board, there is undoubtedly sure to be plenty of excitement for the 2021 installment of the popular event “up the hill.”
Thus far it’s already been an above-average summer in terms of lots of biting rainbows, and with cooler, more optimum trouting conditions come early fall with the usual heavy stocking prior to the event, the stage should be set for another terrific Troutfest on the fishing end of things. Of course, there will also be the usual hefty prize haul up for grabs longtime participants have come to expect, highlighted by the Grand Raffle Prize of a 15-foot Klamath Advantage aluminum boat with a 20hp Suzuki motor and an E-Z Loader trailer, valued at $14,000. The best part about this Grand Raffle Prize? You don’t even have to catch a single fish during the tournament to win it! Your entry alone makes you eligible for all raffle prizes, including the coveted Klamath aluminum…
The Troutfest tournament format is simple: anglers compete in one of four divisions — Adult Male, Adult Female, Junior Male and Junior Female — for trophies and prizes for the top 5 heaviest weights of total trout caught and weighed over two days in each division. Each angler can weigh up to 5 trout per day along.
Amongst the prize pool will be combo set-ups — Fenwick Eagle medium light 7-foot trout rods paired with Pflueger President XT reels — along with Panther Martin lure packages, Igloo Coolers, Huk Performance Gear gift cards, Berkley Trilene bulk spools, Coleman lanterns and much more. There will also be 20 Blind Bogey cash awards dished out to anglers who come closest to 20 randomly pre-selected total weights, along with even more great raffle prizes at Sunday’s awards ceremony.
Along with that, the biggest overall fish caught at this October’s Troutfest will be good for a brand new Sea Eagle 437PS Paddleski inflatable catamaran and a 6hp Suzuki, a two-person platform that can get anglers into those tight spots where big fish lurk. It’s highly portable — comes with an EZ-Cart that makes getting it to and water a breeze — blows up and packs easily in minutes and is highly durable to boot. Also going to this year’s big fish winner will be an extremely lifelike replica of the biggest overall rainbow to remember the catch for years, courtesy of Global Fishmounts. The anglers with the heaviest stringer each day of the event will also score $100 gift cards from Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga.
And of course, there will also be the annual goodie bags dished out at the event registration held at the Big Bear Municipal Water District parking lot from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1. Inside the waterproof Frogg Toggs goodie bags will be Berkley PowerBait, Rooster Tails, Thomas Buoyant spoons, Huk discount cards, official Troutfest hats and more.
As far as the tournament goes, it’s lines in the water and time for trout catching starting in the grey light of dawn on Saturday morning at 7 a.m. (same with Sunday morning), with weigh-in times at Big Bear Marina from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. The awards ceremony will be at approximately 3:30 on Sunday to conclude the festivities.
Locking up your spot in the 16th annual Big Bear Lake Troutfest couldn’t be any easier. Simply visit the new and revamped WONews.com and point your cursor at the ‘EVENTS’ tab and click on tournaments. Adult entries are just $75 and Junior entries (kids ages 15 and under) are only $50 — entry fees include both ante money for Blind Bogey cash prizes and part of the entries also help support Big Bear Lake’s trout stocking program.
You can’t win unless you’re in, so don’t miss out and be sure to get yourself into the 2021 Troutfest early. It never fails to be a great time had by all with lots of folks heading home with gear and prizes.
All of us at WON are excited for this year’s return to Troutfest, and we will see you all “up the hill” come the first weekend of October!