The EBCI Fish and Wildlife Management Team, in partnership with the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, hosted the Second Annual “Opening Day” Trout Tournament on Saturday, March 31 in Cherokee. With $10,000 worth of tagged fish in the public waters on the Qualla Boundary, a record number of participants fished for specially tagged fish. A total of 1,664 people registered for this year’s tournament, which was up from 883 participants in the 2011 Opening Day.
Robert Blankenship, of EBCI Fish and Wildlife Management commented, “With the EBCI waters now open year round for fishing, this tournament serves more of a ceremonial opening day and gives people the same feel as other opening days around the area. It is fun for enrolled members and visitors alike”.
While it is too soon to determine any exact numbers, from the looks of many hotel parking lots it appeared that the fishing tournament and the opening weekend of the fishing season proved to be beneficial to local hoteliers.
Matthew Pegg, Cherokee Chamber of Commerce executive director, knows the importance of getting people to spend the night in Cherokee. “For years people have loved to come to Cherokee for vacation and enjoying the streams and rivers is a major part of their fun. The fishing here in Cherokee is some of the best east of the Mississippi and as more people come here to fish the better our hotels, restaurants and other retail shops will do.”
The next tagged fishing tournament is scheduled for April 27-29. More information on fishing in Cherokee and all of the tournaments is available at www.FishCherokee.com
– Cherokee Chamber of Commerce