The 2nd annual Walleye Challenge ice fishing tournament Saturday promises to give a sorely needed shot in the arm to Fulton County’s economy.
Wally Hart, the president of the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce, said 1,500 people, 500 more than last year, have paid a $30 pre-registration fee to participate in the ice fishing contest.
“You had to pre-register, so there are no more registrations. Whether they’re all going to fish or whether they just signed up for the thing, I don’t know. We’ll see. But they had 1,000 last year and they had 1,000 fishermen,” Hart said. “They’re coming from all over the place. There are quite a few who are local but there are just hundreds of them coming from the Capital Region and downstate and from other states.”
The chamber co-sponsors the tournament with businesses around the lake, primarily the Fuel-n-Food owned by Lou Stutzke.
The tournament will feature $45,000 worth of prizes, including approximately $1,000 in cash payouts per hour as well as prizes like power augers and portable shanties. If there is no ice on the lake the prizes will be given away by random drawing at Lanzi’s on the Lake starting at noon.
Hart said it’s difficult to calculate how much economic activity will be generated by the tournament, but he said it should provide the area with at least $50 per person.
“They’re going to come into town, they’re going to buy gas, they’re going to buy food, they’re going to stop at convenience stores, they’re going to stop at grocery stores, they’re going to stop at bait and tackle stores,” he said. “They start fishing at sunrise, so many of them will come in Friday night so they’re going to eat dinner Friday night and spend money in bars and restaurants and hotels and motels.”
James Landrio, a partner and general manager at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown, said the Walleye Challenge has helped his business.
“We have a few groups of people staying with us who are participating this weekend. Weekends in January are single digit room sales, so certainly this is showing to be a positive weekend for us,” he said.
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Categories: Schenectady County