July 13, 2010

Salmon-A-Rama in full swing

Jeff Zinuticz, a DNR fishery technician, weighs in fish Tuesday at Salmon-A-Rama.

Salmon-A-Rama is in full swing this week at Racine's Festival Park. Follow the leader board here.

The contest is more than just a race for the biggest fish. It's also an opportunity for the Department of Natural Resources to assist researchers studying Lake Michigan's fish population.

Jeff Zinuticz, a DNR fishery technician, conducted the official weigh-ins Tuesday afternoon. Along with serving as an impartial judge, Zinuticz also monitored the incoming fish for certain types and sizes. Fish of above a certain length, or below a certain length, had their stomaches and tails set aside for researchers.

Tails in the chinooks are studied because researchers inject fish in Michigan hatcheries with a dye and can gather data from how the dye flows into the tail, Zinuticz said. The stomaches are used to study fish diets.

The research angle gives a helping purpose to the week-long Salmon-A-Rama, which has already registered over 1,300 fish caught. A total of 296 were tallied on Tuesday alone.

This year's Salmon-A-Rama is under new management. Salmon Unlimited Wisconsin, a Racine-based organization dedicated to the betterment of Lake Michigan, it's fishing, tributaries, and shoreline, took over the day-to-day operations of the tournament and activities this year.

Kraig Kelliher, of Menomonee Falls, is leading the Offshore Grand Prize division with a 22.4-pound brown trout. It's the largest fish caught, so far.

People check out the leading fish caught in this year's Salmon-A-Rama contest in Racine. 
The largest fish caught in each category are on display in a cooler at the weigh-in area.