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Salmon Classic returns to North Shore

Kyler Kinn shows off the nearly 21 pound lake trout he caught during the 2016 Salmon Classic in Silver Bay. (Photo courtesy of the Silver Bay PTSO)

Anglers set your hooks and get ready for the biggest fishing tournament on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

The Salmon Classic is returning July 15-16 to the Silver Bay Marina for its 17th year. The fishing tournament normally draws more than 300 fisherman out onto Lake Superior in search of the biggest coho salmon, king salmon and lake trout the can find. The Silver Bay PTSO uses the classic as a way to fundraise money for William Kelley Schools. The classic is PTSO's biggest fundraiser, typically raising nearly $8,000.

Proceeds from the event are used to help fund different things at the school. Money raised from this event has been used to help get instruments for the band, aid the French Club in raising money for their trip to France or Montreal, Canada, and fund a portion of the school forest for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The PTSO also tries to help provide school supplies and reading materials for classrooms and provide money to reduce the cost of community education classes.

Over the past year, the PTSO has used funds raised at the Salmon Classic for everything from Scholastic Readers for students from kindergarten to 12th grade, computer and visual technology for the Mariner Robotics team as well as an advanced computer mathematics program for applied sciences called "Mathematica."

"Mathematica is used in almost every advanced science organization," William Kelley schools math teacher and tournament organizer Amy Johnson said. "NASA uses it and actually had a subscription expire while the astronauts were up in space. They had to renew a license from space."

The PTSO has also helped fund the school garden and forest at WKS, playground equipment, classroom supplies, band instruments and art supplies. Last year, the PTSO was able to purchase a piccolo for the band and helped fund a glass beading workshop and a raku kiln for the art department. Raku is a traditional style of Japanese pottery using a special kiln to heat the pieces very quickly and just as quickly cooling it to produce intense, but sometimes unpredictable colors.

"Prior to the piccolo, they had to loan one out from the University of Minnesota and so we never owned our own," Johnson said. "I don't know where else you could get money for something like that. It's nice that we can support something like that and keep the arts going especially now in today's world when there are threats to pull back that funding."

The PTSO also helps fund the Just Kids Dental program at WKS and provides money to afterschool programs for students to lower the cost to families.

Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased from local businesses in Silver Bay, Two Harbors, Beaver Bay, Finland and Duluth or at the Silver Bay Marina. Fishing on Saturday will run from 4 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 4 a.m. until 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the five largest fish in three divisions, king salmon, coho salmon and lake trout. There will also be a raffle to go along with the tournament.

Raffle tickets can also be purchased at the marina by anybody, even if they don't plan to fish. There are usually around 75 different prize packages including gift certificates from local restaurants or hotels and items from different stores.

In addition, the WKS After Prom organization will operate a food truck for fishermen and spectators, selling hamburgers and hot dogs to raise money for their programs throughout the weekend.

"It is a majorly fun event, people just have a great time getting out on the lake and fishing and there are prizes galore," Johnson said. "It's just a fun activity, it's something fun to do in the summer and it's one of the biggest attractions on the North Shore."

For more information about the Salmon Classic or to purchase tickets directly from the PTSO, email or go to

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle in August 2015. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and previously worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. He is the beat writer for the Lake County Board of Commissioners, Silver Bay City Council and high school sports in Lake County. 

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