A total of 3,290 tickets were sold in the 38th annual Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Tournament, smashing the previous best of 3,049 set in 2016.
Sturgeon Bay’s two outlets sold the most tickets, with Howie’s Tackle & Archery and Greystone Castle combining to sell 985. Algoma BP and JP Express in Algoma combined to sell 948. Those were all-time records for both port communities. All together, a total of 1,689 tickets were sold in Kewaunee County and 1,601 in Door County, but anglers could fish off any port on the K/D Peninsula.
Breaking a streak of Northern Door wins, Algoma and Kewaunee fish combined to take seven of the top 11 spots, including the winner for 77-year-old Angelo Bortolini of Kewaunee. He used a Moonshine spoon to lure a fish of a lifetime — 41-1/2 inches and 32.78 pounds — early July 21 off his home port while fishing with friend Harold Shaw of Kewaunee. They’ll split the $10,000 first place cash, while Bortolini wins a free mount of the fish from Twin Rivers Taxidermy and a custom sterling silver salmon ring with a black diamond eye by Paul Spanbauer of Wisconsin Charm.
In second was another two-person team, Todd Smith of Brussels and Rob Joniaux of Luxemburg. Smith’s 40-1/2-inch, 31.58-pounder hit a Howie Fly off Algoma hours before sunset July 23. The great catch earns $6,000 cash and a Howie’s Tackle & Archery prize package.
A third two-in-a-boat combo to score big were Jesse Picard of Little Suamico and his girlfriend, Maddie Jorgenson. The 39-1/2-inch, 31.35-pounder they caught hit a Moonshine spoon off Kewaunee about an hour after sunrise July 22. Their dawn date results in a $4,000 payday and a $200 shopping spree at Accurate Marine & Tackle in Kewaunee.
In a tournament wrap-up meeting Monday night, the K/D Committee used the record ticket sales to boost the dollar amounts for the top 20 percent of the places this year, but still paid down 146 spots. Any fish 23 pounds and up made the final payout.
Combined with the daily port prizes, K/D awards and sponsor prizes, more than $55,000 in cash and prizes will be shared among the winners. After expenses, the remainder of the proceeds from this year’s contest is banked to make sure the 39th annual event — set for July 23-31, 2021 — has a solid foundation.