Major Fishing Tournaments in Northwest Ontario

While many love to fish in the tournaments and try to win top prize, even more love to watch the weigh-ins and take part in the other activities happening during the tournament.

With 70,000 lakes and rivers in Ontario's Sunset Country, it's not surprising we have several catch & release fishing tournaments throughout the region. Most are walleye or bass tournaments although there are some derbies and a few carefully monitored muskie tournaments. 

Even if you aren't fishing in the tournaments, head on down to watch the weigh-ins, its a boatload of fun! Most tournaments also have parades, dinners and more. It's fun for everyone.

Here's a list of the some of the major fishing tournaments in Northwest Ontario:

May Fishing tournaments

Emo Walleye Classic – June 24 & 25, 2023

The fishing tournament circuit begins with the Emo Walleye Classic on the Rainy River. Watch the weigh-ins at the Emo/LaValle arena or take part in one of the many other events like the angler boat parade, fish fry, kids activities or the Norlund Oil's Show & Shine. 

Follow on Facebook: Follow on Twitter: @emowalleye

Heading out on the lakes during the Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend

June Fishing tournaments

Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend  June 10 & 11, 2023 

The Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend takes place the second weekend of June. Town Beach is where all the action takes place – the weigh-ins take place at the docks, refreshments are served from noon to 6 pm and on Sunday there's a free community fish fry from noon to 2 pm. 

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tbaytel Dryden Walleye Masters – June 17 & 18, 2023

This is the 34th annual Dryden Walleye Masters! Held annually on Wabigoon Lake, the tbaytel Dryden Walleye Masters part of the Central Walleye Trail (CWT). Anglers will be vying for cash and multiple prizes! 

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Waiting to weigh in at the Kenora Walleye Open. Photo: Courtesy of the Kenora Walleye Open.

Lake of the Woods Women's Walleye Tournament - JUNE (Date for 2023 TBA)

Lynda Richardson Memorial walleye tournament in Kenora, Ontario is an event you do not want to miss. This all-women's tournament focuses on inclusivity while also promoting catch-and-release practices. There are extra points for dressing up, selfies with Huskie the Muskie, the biggest fish, and more! 

July Fishing Tournaments

Kenora Walleye Open - July (2023 dates TBA)

The annual Kenora Walleye Open is held in Kenora on Lake of the Woods. The event is hosted at Tall Pines Marina. 

Follow their page for more updates:

Shoal Lake Bass Classic July 8 & 9, 2023

The Shoal Lake Bass Classic is run by the Shoal 39 First Nation. Shoal Lake is known for its quantity of smallmouth bass and lunker largemouth. 

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Lake of the Woods Musky Bowl July (2023 dates TBA)

The Lake of the Woods Musky Bowl held at Wiley Point Lodge is a two-day tournament with some of the best muskie anglers around. Lake of the Woods is known for its' great musky fishing. All muskies must be live-released immediately after being measured at the point of catch in a healthy manner.

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Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship - July 20-22, 2023

The Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship is a major bass tournament held on Rainy Lake, Canada. Boats take off from the Sorting Gap Marina and weigh-ins are under the tent. Assuming all 100 entries are filled, the top prize is $25,000. There are many other prizes for the top 20 as well as for biggest bag each day, fish larger than 5lbs, and more. 

Check out their website: Canadian Bass

Bronzeback Classic - July 22 & 23, 2023

The 17th annual Friends and Family Bronzeback Classic is held on Lake of the Woods in Kenora. The focus of the tournament is to get families, friends, local anglers, longtime summer residents, and especially youth involved in this fishing event.

Jeff Gustafson holds up two nice bass.

Lac Seul Walleye Cup - July 28 -30, 2023

The Lac Seul Walleye Cup will be held in Ear Falls at the end of July. This tournament is slightly different to the other tournaments in the area in that it is a catch-and-kill tournament due to the regulations on Lac Seul. The heaviest walleye at the end of the weekend wins. 100 boats max.

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Kenora Bass International - August 11-13, 2023

The Kenora Bass International, or KBI as it is known, is held on Lake of the Woods with the weigh-ins happening under the Whitecap on the Harbourfront in Kenora. This is one of the largest bass tournaments in Northwest Ontario. There is also a kids fishing tournament.

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Atikokan Bass Classic - August 18-19, 2023

The Atikokan Bass Classic which known as “the funnest bass tournament” and is held on Marmion Lake in Atikokan. There are cash prizes for the top 20 as well as for the top “Funnest Team prizes” such as the Grandparent & Child, All Women Team, Big Fish etc.

The Red Lake Fall Classic - (2023 dates TBA)

The Red Lake Fall Classic Catch & Release Walleye Tournament is held at the beginning of September on the Red Lake Chain of Lakes. There's a limit of 135 teams and there is also a junior tournament for the kids. 

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September Fishing Tournaments

Bassin' for Bucks - September 8-10, 2023

Bassin' for Bucks is a bass tournament in beautiful Sioux Narrows held on Lake of the Woods. Daily prizes are awarded as well as overall tournament prizes. 

Wonder what happens during a fishing tournament? Watch this episode of Fishing With Gussy filmed while fishing the Bassin’ for Bucks. 

Crow Lake Bass Classic - September 16 & 17, 2023

The Crow Lake Classic is held in Nestor Falls on Crow (Kakagi) Lake. This smaller bass tournament is a two-person team, two-day fishing, live-release competition with daily and total combined weight prizes. 

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Nestor Falls Musky Cup - TBD

The Nestor Falls Musky Cup format is a two-person team, two-day, daily and total combined length, live release tournament held on Lake of the Woods. Anglers must video the length and live release.

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Rainy River Walleye Tournament - (2023 dates TBA)

The Rainy River Walleye Tournament is held on the Rainy River. The tournament boundaries will be from markers at Wheelers Point at the mouth of the Rainy River to markers at Long Sault Rapids east of Stratton on the Canadian Side of the Border.

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Want to be the one holding the trophy? Make sure you register for one of these tournaments before they fill up. If you're not into competing, make sure you drop down to see some of the exciting weigh-ins, watch the boat parades or enroll your child in one of the kids' fishing derbies.

Don't see your Northwestern Ontario fishing tournament listed? Please email us.

About Erin Rody

I grew up on Black Sturgeon Lake in Northwestern Ontario. I am a staff writer for the Sunset Country Travel Association. Through my articles I hope to entice you to visit the wonderful region I call home. We are all about outdoor adventure; with 70,000 lakes and rivers and a whole lot of forests how can we not be? Whether you like to fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, boat or go camping, Sunset Country has something for you. Enjoy!

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