Fifty-four years of dedicated volunteers working several hours a week all year long have made sure each Pennsylvania State Championship Fishing Tournament is a success.
At least three generations have worked on committees to put together a four day tournament that offers something for the entire family.
This year General Chairperson Dan Gazalie, Co-Chairperson Chick Conte and the other 20-plus volunteers promise nothing less than fun, food and excitement for everyone.
The 54th Annual Pennsylvania State Championship Fishing Tournament in Tidioute is set to get underway and the town is buzzing.
A "Catch and Release" tournament that is set for Sept. 26 through Sept. 29.
Events begin on Thursday at 6 p.m. when the carnival, concessions and grounds open at 6 p.m.
The carnival rides are being provided this year by Powell Amusements/Trowver of Gibsonton, Fla.
On Friday the carnival and concessions will once again open at 6 p.m.
This is a good time to meet friends and family members for the beginning of a fun filled family weekend in Tidioute.
Saturday, Sept. 28, the scales open at 8 a.m. and will remain open until 8 p.m. and are located on tournament grounds, stage next to Joseph Heenan Jr. Memorial Stage. Registrations will be taken at this time also if you have not already registered to fish. Pre-registration is encouraged.
The fishing is open to young and old alike, men and women, as long as you have a valid PA Fishing license.
A kids fishing derby for ages 3 to 10 will be begin at 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday at Benner Park, which is located on Tidioute Creek Road at the end of Grant Street. Ann Jones and Dan McLaughlin are the co-chairpersons for this event assisted by Dick Bartges of the Tidioute Lions Club, and this is free to the children. A parent or guardian must accompany the children at all times and the fishing is strictly for the children, adults should not be fishing for them. And no children under the age of three. Baiting the poles for them is okay.
The Kids Derby is sponsored by Tidioute Lions Club, and the Pennsylvania State Championship Fishing Tournament Committee.
The fish are brought in from the Trout Farm in Farnsworth and stocked in the creek to insure the children have a chance to catch some fish.
Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place as well as for the youngest fisher person. And there will be a drawing for a new bicycle donated by the Tidioute Presbyterian Women's Association.
An Arts and Crafts Show will be at the Tidioute Firehall beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 and will be open till 3 p.m. pre registration is needed to set up at the craft show and should be done through chairperson Marty Bennett at 484-7372.
Carnival grounds with rides and concessions will open Saturday at noon.
A parade with the theme of " Salute to Volunteers " will begin with the line-up at 10 a.m. with the registration in front of the firehall on Main street and the parade will begin at 1 p.m. sharp. Rain or Shine. All fire equipment, ambulances and rescue units should park in the fire department parking lot. Pre-registration can be done by calling John Brown at 814-730-5646 or Nathan Brown at 814-730-6283. Please sign in upon your arrival.
The parade floats will be judged approximately 11 a.m.. and all persons who will be on the float during the parade should be on the float at the time of judging. All units will proceed though the business district and disperse near the Tidioute Bridge before Route 62.
The Parade starts 1 p.m. rain or shine.
All the parade results will be announced at approximately 2:30 p.m. at the grandstands following the parade.
Several food booths will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as will the famous funnel cake booth, manned by members of the Tidioute First United Methodist Church, and they will also have hot sausages with peppers and onions and meatball subs, and the Fishing Tournament Kitchen will be open the entire weekend.
Other organizations will have food and beverages for sale also.
At 9 p.m. Saturday evening the junior champion angler will be announced; this is for ages 10 through 15, and the winner will receive a trophy and cash prizes.
The Junior Angler will receive a $50.00 US Savings Bond, Trophy and Prizes, the bond is sponsored by Jim and Betty Marshall this year. The trophy and prizes for the junior champion angler is sponsored by the George Jones Walleye Tournament Committee and the Jones family.
The fishing finalists will be announced at 8 p.m. Saturday and they will be assigned a referee to fish with on Sunday.
Door prize drawings on Saturday, Sept. 28 will begin at 8 p.m. at the main grandstand area. You must be present for the 8 p.m. door prize drawings.
General rules and regulations for Champion Angler fishing are as follows:
The general chairman and committee shall be the sole interpreters of the rules. Their decision shall be final. The rules shall remain unchanged during the tournament hours. P.S.C.F.T. reserves the right to revise these rules from year to year.
All fish must be taken from the Allegheny Reservoir (PA waters), Allegheny River (Kinzua Dam to Hunter Station) Tionesta Lake and Creek from the Tionesta Dam to Kelletville Bridge, Brokenstraw Creek, Conewango Creek (PA waters) beginning at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 28 until 8 p.m. Sept. 28. Weigh-in closes at 8 p.m. (no exceptions).
Catch and release rules will be followed. Please make every attempt to keep your fish alive. Fish must be brought to the outside weigh station in water filled containers. No dry bags or dead fish will be accepted.
Fish may be brought into the weigh station between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. Total weight per category will qualify the contestant for Sundays Contest. There will be a 4 ounce penalty for each dead fish. Qualifying will be in a single category only. Only one weigh-in is permitted per day.
A registration and waiver/liability form is required before any fish will be weighed in. Pre-registration would be appreciated. Registration can be done at the weigh station Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on tournament grounds. All mailed registration forms must be post marked by Sept. 17.
A Pennsylvania fishing license is required for all contestants 16 years of age and older.
Sunday's Contest: The total weight of the combined catch will determine the Champion Angler. This will begin at 5 a.m. and run till 2 p.m. All anglers must in to the weight station by 2 p.m. to qualify. There will be 6 oz. Penalty for each dead fish. Each qualifier will fish with a referee at all times. No Exceptions.
Persons can be disqualified if any fish are determined by the committee not to have been caught during the tournament hours, any fish not brought to weigh station in a water filled container, or the contestant has not otherwise made a reasonable effort to keep their fish alive. Any person determined by the Fishing Regulations Chairman to be intoxicated and/or disruptive to tournament procedures or any person violating tournament rules.
Cash Prizes and Bonus Prizes as well as trophies for those qualifying for Saturdays fishing include: first place will receive $25 and trophy for the most total weight per category, second place will be $15 and trophy, third place will be $10 and a trophy. The person catching the largest catfish will receive $10 cash.
A $50 US Savings Bond will be presented to the Junior Champion Angler at 9 p.m. Saturday.
Game fish for this tournament include Muskellunge that are 40 inches long, Northern Pike that are at least 24 inches long, Walleye that are at least 15 inches long, Small Mouth Bass that are at least 12 inches and Trout that area at least seven inches long to qualify.
Sunday, Sept. 29th the conclusion of the festivities will take place at 3:00 p.m. with prizes and awards for the First Place Champion Angler and the Champion will receive $1000.00 and a beautiful trophy, Second Place Angler will receive $250 and a trophy, and Third place angler will receive $150 and a trophy each will also receive other prizes as well from local retailers.
Lunker awards will be presented to anglers in each of the categories. Lunker Awards are sponsored by the Tidioute Hardware.
The oldest male angler to register fish will receive $100, which is donated by the residents of the Tidioute Towers. And the oldest women angler to register fish will also receive $100 donated by a friend of the tournament.
Fisherpersons may fish in the tournament by boat, canoe, or raft, by floating, trolling, drifting or still fishing. Shore fishing and wading are very popular, and the river is accessible at most points and can be fished from either shoreline. There are access areas to put in boats at many strategic locations along the river and the fishing is better than average at these points. In Tidioute there is a boat launch facility that is also convenient to those wishing to launch from there.
First Place Grand Prize in the Pennsylvania State Championship Fishing Tournament Grand Prize is a 42" Flat Screen TV; second place drawing winner will receive $250 cash. The drawing will be held on Sunday at approximately 3 p.m. and winner need not be present. Tickets are a donation of $1.00 each.
Major cash sponsors for this tournament include Tidioute Trading Post, King Building Supply of Tidioute, Whirley Drink Works, Tidioute Oil Company, Inc., Limestone Township, Tidioute Borough, Northwest Savings Bank, Budweiser of Crescent Beer Distributor, Inc., Seneca Home Health, Polly's ShurSave Market, and VFW Pequignot-Yeager Post 8803.
There will be plenty of food booths on the grounds, local restaurants will be open for your dining pleasures. Sidewalk sales, bazaars, bake sales, and yard sales will complete this weekend that the entire family can participate in.
In addition to the fishing and carnival festivities, the public is invited to attend the church of choice with Saturday evening services. Services at Tidioute First United Methodist, Sunday evening at 5 p.m., Tidioute First Presbyterian at 11 a.m. Sunday, Tidioute Baptist at 11 a.m. Sunday and a 7:30 p.m. Sunday service, Allegheny Bible Church at 110 a.m. and St. John Catholic with a 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday evening and 11 a.m. Sunday morning.
No dogs are allowed on tournament grounds except for service dogs.
Or more information pertaining to the tournament activities please contact General Chairman Dan Gazalie at 814-484-3585 or write PA State Championship Fishing Tournament, Inc., 90 Main Street, Tidioute, PA 16351