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Walleye anglers fishing to assist Massena Meals on Wheel on Saturday

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MASSENA - The St. Lawrence River Walleye Association will be holding one of its Smackdown tournaments on Saturday, but the bigger winner won’t be the angler that catches the largest fish of the day or the fishing duo that wins the tournament.

Massena Meals on Wheels is guaranteed to be the big winner of the day as they have been selected to receive the proceeds from this weekend’s fishing tournament.

“We have had tremendous support from the businesses in our community and community members over the years, and we wanted to show our appreciation by giving back to the community. Each year we will pick a different charity. We wanted to start with Massena Meals on Wheels for the important role they play in our community. The work they do is so important for many families in our community,” Michael J. Gagner, president of the St. Lawrence River Walleye Association, said.

Mr. Gagner said Saturday’s fishing action is one of the four tournaments the walleye association holds each spring and summer on the St. Lawrence River. He said the cost for two-person teams entering the tournament is $60, and the fishing action will take place from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. There is an additional $5 restocking fee for tournament entrants who are not members of the walleye association.

Boats will be entering the water at the Massena Intake and can fish the river from the St. Lawrence-FDR power dam to Iroquois Locks west of Waddington.

Sign-up for the tournament can be completed at Salon 181 in Massena or at Steve’s Stop and Shop in Louisville until 5 p.m. Friday.

Anglers will be vying to have the most weight for the three walleyes they have in their live wells at the end of the tournament, and they will also be competing for a separate payout for catching the big fish of the day.

“This is the second leg of our spring-summer tournament, where anglers are competing to be named the Subway Angler of the Year,” he said.

Mr. Gagner said, in addition to the tournament, the walleye association is also already holding a 50-50 raffle to benefit Massena Meals on Wheels. Tickets can be purchased at the Meals on Wheels building on East Hatfield Street behind the Harte Haven shopping plaza and at Salon 181 on Main Street. Raffle tickets will also be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Massena Intake.

Mr. Gagner said warmer temperatures have improved walleye fishing in recent days.

“The walleye fishing was good at the beginning of the season; we had great pre-sprawn and post-spawn biting and then we had a couple, three weeks of a lull, but as the temperatures have risen the fish have become more active and have been better the last week or so,” he noted.

“The average walleye in the St. Lawrence River is probably in the 2 1/4- to 3-pound range, but there are many 5- to 10-pound walleye out there too. Last year, the winner of the tournament had a combined weight of 22 pounds for his three fish. Those were nice fish,” Mr. Gagner said.

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