Carp event set for May

ST. MARYS —  The finishing touches are being put on an event that will offer challenges for area anglers as well as a way to help improve the water quality in Grand Lake St. Marys.

The second-ever “Get the Carp Outta Here” tournament is scheduled to take place May 17-19 and will pit anglers against carp. Auglaize-Mercer County Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Director Donna Grube said the event is drawing interest from across the region.

“This year it’s a little different,” Grube said during Saturday’s Lake Improvement Association (LIA) meeting. “Not only are we giving away prizes for the most carp, the biggest carp, but we will also have 23 tagged carp in the lake. If you pull one out, it’s $100.”

Organizers also are looking for volunteers to help with the event. Those interested in volunteering can contact Grube at the CVB office.

“It’s pretty easy,” Grube said. “You have to count. The first year we weighed them and that was way too much work ... the people who participate come in and count them and you just have to watch them count. If you volunteer, we’ll only need you for an hour at the East Bank or West Bank.”

Grand Lake St. Marys Park Manager Brian Miller gave an update on a slew of activities going on around the lake. He noted the lake was currently 11 inches above normal pool this week.

The East Bank dog park is scheduled to open on May 15 with a dedication ceremony to follow in the near future.

Miller also talked about a tree program that was recently unveiled to help replace trees that were cut down because of emerald ash borer infestation. The trees cost approximately $150 each.

“If anyone knows of any civic groups and any organizations that would like to make a tax-free donation for the trees, let us know,” Miller said. “We want to do a large planting in the fall. Several hundred trees had to be removed because of the emerald ash borer.”

Miller also updated LIA members on the increase in tourists coming into the region.

“In 2009 and 2010, those two years combine, we saw a 23 percent decrease in the bed tax from 2008,” Miller said. “In 2011, we got excited because we saw a 1 percent increase, but in 2012, we saw an 8 percent increase.”

The dredge program is continuing to make progress as well.

“Brutus is over at Beaver Creek and is up and running now,” Miller said. “The Pump a Little is out over at Otterbein.”

Officials also will be wrapping up an agreement with the Lake Campus for another location to put dredged material. Miller said the agreement will allow dredge crews to continue to remove material from the lake without needing to locate a new place to put it.

“We’ll be getting started on that later this year getting that built,” Miller said. “We’ve just been busy with our dredge crews removing a lot of stuff from the lake.”

Finally, Miller also encouraged boaters to make sure their vessels are safe and in working order before hitting the water.

“Make sure you check your safety equipment,” Miller said. “And make sure your registration is current.”

The next meeting of the LIA is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 1 at the Celina Moose Lodge.