$25K Contest Targets Hatchery Steelhead


With the holiday spirit in mind, Pautzke Bait Company is offering $25,000 in cash prizes for record hatchery steelhead caught in the Northwest the winter and spring. In an effort to revive interest in one of the region’s signature fisheries, Pautzke is offering $5,000 in Washington and $10,000 each in Oregon and Idaho. All promotions begin at legal fishing time on December 10, 2010 and persist through April.

Contests are subject to all state regulations and are governed by each state’s specific management rules per the species. Each contest is limited to the first 10,000 anglers who pre-register in each state on Pautzke.com. Registration begins December 10 and is offered on a first come, first served basis. Proper permits have been attained from Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

“This goes back to our roots,” notes Casey Kelley, owner of Pautzke. “With this promotion we’ve given the guy casting bait on the bank the same chances as something drifting down the river with a guide. Any one who can wet a line has chance to win the money. It’s a great thing for the entire fishing industry.”

Steelhead must be caught while using ANY Pautzke Bait Company product (including Liquid Krill, Firebait, Firecure, BorX O Fire, Fire Power, Nectar and all Balls O’ Fire salmon eggs), in the manner prescribed by the three state fish and wildlife state governing organizations. Only those who preregister are eligible.

In order to further protect the species, to ensure that all fish are caught legally any winner is subject to passing a polygraph examination.

“We at Pautzke are conscientious of the wild steelhead in the Pacific Northwest and wanted to craft a promotion that protected those fish, yet were eager to promote steelhead fishing in the region,” says Chris Shaffer, Pautzke’s director of operations. “With the prizes available to anglers in each state our goal is to lure anglers away from their computers and cell phones and out into the great outdoor fishing opportunities we have in the Northwest.”

The event is co-sponsored by Northwest Sportsman and Northwest Wild Country Radio, who will be aiding Pautzke in public awareness.

In Washington, where the masses know that hatchery fish are extremely unlikely to break the current state record winter or summer run steelhead, the $5,000 cash purse will be offered to any hatchery steelhead that exceeds 28 pounds. With that said, if more than one fish breaks that benchmark, the largest fish of the promotion will be awarded the prize.

“Every year in the state of Washington there’s a hatchery steelhead caught between 25-30 pounds,” says Joel Shangle, host of Northwest Wild Country Radio. “Hatchery steelhead this big definitely exist here and hopefully this promotion will generate a whole new level of participation among Washington steelheadanglers.

In Idaho, $10,000 will be awarded to any hatchery steelhead that breaks the current 30.03-pound record.

“There’s always a chance of seeing a new state record in Idaho,” says guide and Pautzke pro staffer Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing. “I don’t think I’ve seen many hatchery steelhead break 30 pounds since I was a kid growing up on the banks of the Clearwater, but I’m sure there’s record size fish in this river.”

In Oregon, $10,000 cash will be awarded to any angler whose catch exceeds the 35.50-pound mark.

“There is quite a bit of excitement among the plunkers about the contest. Each year they catch a few steelhead over 20 pounds and they feel they have a realistic shot at getting a huge steelhead. There are more and more hatchery steelhead over 20 pounds thanks to the broadstock programs on the Chetco and the Tillamook area rivers. Each year it seems more and more hatchery steelhead in the upper teens and 20-pound rage are caught,” says guide and Pautzke pro staffer Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “I’m betting one of the plunkers will end up catching a fish to contend for the prize.”


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