2018-04-26 / Outdoors

Piglowski, anglers garner 19 Master Angler Awards in 2017

By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor

RICHARD PIGLOWSKI boated this smallie on Cedar Lake in October. RICHARD PIGLOWSKI boated this smallie on Cedar Lake in October. The free flow of information in Leelanau County tends to stop with a man’s favorite fishing spot. Much like the whereabouts of a trophy buck, that information is classified.

So it comes as no surprise that 18 of 19 Master Angler Awards earned on Leelanau County water bodies last year came courtesy of non-county residents.

“Part of it is guys don’t know where to find them and part of it is we don’t want people to know where we get them,” said Suttons Bay sportsman Richard Piglowski, the lone Leelanau County recipient. “I only put in one a year, even if I caught four or five. I don’t want it showing up repeatedly. I just want patches to put on the wall.”

Piglowski’s eighth patch is thanks to a 22.25-inch smallmouth bass caught and released back into Cedar Lake in October. It was the largest of Leelanau County’s five smallmouth award winners last year, but not the largest Piglowski has caught on Cedar Lake.

That fish — a 24.25-inch beauty caught and released in October 2010 — helped Piglowski’s name appear in In-Fisherman Magazine.

“We’ll keep having fish like that as long as we keep putting ‘em back,” Piglowski said.

Traverse City sportsmen were responsible for five of the remaining 18 Master Angler Awards (it’s unclear whether they reside in Leelanau County’s Elmwood Township).

Among those Traverse City sportsmen was David Oosse, who tallied a trio of cisco entries on West Bay measuring 22.08 inches (April 1), 20.25 inches (June 9) and 18 inches (June 9).

John Stocki of Traverse City also notched a cisco entry, a 17.88-incher on Lake Leelanau in February.

Other highlights last year included a 31-inch coho salmon caught in Lake Michigan by Illinois angler Rickey Sabatino and a 39-inch king salmon caught on the Crystal River by Nathan Wipp of downstate Leonard.

Many local anglers like Greg Alsip also boated their share of big fish in 2017 — but kept quiet about it.

“I’ve caught multiple Master Anglers of all sorts of species, just never sent in the info,” Alsip via text when asked if he knew local anglers interested in the contest. “Not really worth the time, and all you receive is a patch haha.”

Last year, the number of Master Angler Award-winners in Michigan jumped to 2,176.

For those doing the math at home, that means the fishing-rich waters of the Leelanau Peninsula produced 0.87 percent of those award-winning fish.

And, odds are, local fishermen wouldn’t have it any other way.

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