For years I have said that I compete against some of the best anglers that fish the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail tournaments.
And now, the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail says it hopes to become one of the best of its kind in Canada thanks to a new multi-year corporate sponsorship and a championship tournament that is set to take place for the first time next year.
On hand this afternoon to make the announcement was five-time NOWT winner and NOWT board treasurer Craig Salmonson, NOWT board member Paul Ethier and Rob Racine, general manager of J&B Cycle and Marine.
Salmonson welcomed the media, anglers and supporters to the announcement held at J&B Cycle and Marine in Timmins.
Salmonson went on to say that over the course of the past several months, the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail board of directors had been working toward developing this corporate sponsorship agreement with Princecraft Boats, Mercury Marine Canada and J&B Cycle and Marine.
Rob Racine, General Manager of J&B Cycle and Marine had been instrumental in assisting the NOWT to develop this multi-year corporate sponsorship, said Salmonson.
"With the angling industry growing due to young anglers increasingly showing interest in fishing, it is our collective responsibility to continue to encourage this to occur," said Salmonson.
Salmonson said the NOWT, which sanctions walleye tournaments within Northern Ontario has seen growth over the last five years, with two tournaments already sold out for 2018.
"The announcement of the NOWT Championship will enhance our tournament trail to become one of the Best Walleye Trails in Canada. With this announcement today, demonstrates our commitment to Tournament Walleye Anglers," he said.
He said anglers participating in this year's six walleye tournaments will be eligible to qualify for a championship tournament to be held in 2019. The top prize for the tournament a 2019 Princecraft Hudson DLX190 powered by a Mercury 150 HP four-stroke outboard.
This prize package is valued over $55,000 and could not have been possible without Princecraft Boat, Mercury Marine Canada and J&B Cycle and Marine as corporate sponsors, said Salmonson.
"We are seeing an increasing number of recreational and fishing boat sales in our area as well an increasing number of anglers seeking competitive venues like the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail is currently offering," said Racine. "This Sponsorship will encourage current members of the NOWT to continue to support the trail along with others who are maybe contemplating fishing an NOWT tournament to do so. We also are hopeful this prize will increase the participation in these events as well as promote additional tourism to Northern Ontario."
In summary, I have been waiting for an announcement such as this one for some time. To finally have a championship of such magnitude demonstrates the dedication of all the past and present NOWT Board Members and the anglers that have and continue to compete in the NOWT events over the years that Walleye Fishing isn't just something we do in Northern Ontario, It's a way of life here.
For more information on the Northern Ontario Walleye Trail and tournaments, please visit them at http://www.nowt.ca/