Local man awarded highest honor in sport fishing

ALPENA — An Alpena charter boat captain has been awarded one of the highest honors in the state.

Ed Retherford, captain of the Trout Scout, recently was presented the 2017 Michigan Charter Boat Association Award for distinguished service to the organization and the sport of fishing industry.

Retherford said he has been a member of the association since 1973 and has seen many others receive the award. He said he didn’t intend to attend this year’s banquet because he intended to duck hunt instead. His wife and children knew he was this year’s recipient and slyly convinced him to attend the event in Holland.

Retherford said he is humbled to have received the award, as well as represent Alpena and those who fish on Lake Huron.

“I was totally surprised,” he said. “It is from my fellow captains, so it means a lot. I’m basically the first captain on Lake Huron who has got the award so it is quite an honor.”

Retherford said he isn’t sure who nominated him. He said criteria such as years of service and contribution to the fishing and charter boat industry are weighed. He said the thing he is most proud of is how many people worked on his boat, learned the ropes and moved on to become a charter captain themselves.

“I’ve had 80 mates over the years and there are 15 of them from Alaska to Florida who charter now,” Retherford said. “Most of them are still fishermen as well.”

Retherford said his sons, Phil and Paul, also are captains and members of the charter boat association. His daughter Amelia may not be a captain, but is equally involved in hunting and fishing.

“She doesn’t get as much recognition, but she goes all over the world fishing,” he said.

Retherford has been a leader in helping reduce the cormorant population in Thunder Bay and one of the first to convince the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Department of Natural Resources to allow harassment to keep cormorants away from freshly stocked fish until they make their way into the open water. Eventually they gained authority to use lethal control of the birds and the survival rate of stocked trout increased significantly.

Retherford’s reputation as a charter captain and successful fisherman is acknowledged well beyond Alpena. Many outdoor television shows and numerous outdoor publications from the United States and Canada have been on Trout Scout and caught fish. He is a life member of Ducks Unlimited and is on the Michigan Waterfowl Committee. He serves on the Lake Huron Citizens Fishery Advisory Council and has been involved with Michigan Brown Trout Festival since its inception.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.