Niagara County’s Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament was the event that started the tournament craze on the lake 33 years ago. June 1-3 are the dates that are set for this year’s contest, held annually out of the ports of Wilson and Olcott. It should be bigger and better than ever this year.

Penny Lyman (Hartman), daughter of the tournament’s namesake – it’s called the Walter “Skip” Hartman Memorial Pro-Am Tournament – is going to be changing things up a little bit, going back to the way things were for the Professional Division. The tournament returned to a straight 12 fish contest each day last year (based on 10 points per fish and a point per pound under special tournament guidelines) and an observer from another team is on board to verify the catch.

The tournament will be returning back to a June timeframe and if the weather cooperates, the fishing dates will be June 1 and 2. If there is a bad weather day, June 3 will be utilized. “We are also going back to closed communications in 2018,” said Hartman, the tournament director. It’s been Open Communications for over a decade.

Also new this year is the fact that the tournament will be aligning with the Lake Ontario Championship Series. You can find out more information about that at In addition, the tournament website for other information is Last year, more than $50,000 in cash and prizes were handed out, making it one of the few tournaments that offers anglers more than 100 percent back from your entry fee money.

If you’d rather not fish with the big boys but still enjoy a competitive atmosphere, there is an Amateur Open Division that does not have a starting time stipulation, does not require observers and is simply a “best three” for the day. Each day is treated as a separate event and a special cup and check will be given to the team with the best two days combined. It’s a great way of getting started in the tournament fishing scene.