53rd Annual Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Tournament To Benefit Crusaders Club

Gills Creek Marina has announced its 53rd Annual Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Tournament to be held May 6-8, 2022. 

For 40+ years, the Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Tournament, hosted by Gills Creek Marina, benefited The Roanoke Optimist Club, an organization that serves to develop optimism as a philosophy of life utilizing the tenets of the Optimist Creed; to promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs; to inspire respect for the law; to promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people; to aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world.

For the last six years, Challenger Little League Baseball out of Roanoke was the beneficiary. This organization is a non-profit division of Little League Baseball that provides boys and girls 5-18 years of age, with mental and/or physical disabilities, the opportunity to experience the fun of playing baseball. Challengers allow every child to experience the rewards of being part of an athletic team while motivating and increasing emotional development, high self esteem, confidence, and pride regardless of ability.

In 2020, Gills Creek Marina was notified that the Challengers were unable to continue the tournament.  Rather than see this once very popular event end after 50+  years, Gills Creek Marina decided to host & run it themselves. For 2022, the beneficiary of the 53rd Annual SML Fishing Tournament is the Smith Mountain Lake Youth Athletics Organization (SMLYA), also known as the Smith Mountain Lake Crusaders.

SMLYA is a member of the highly competitive American Youth Football League, not county or state funded, and brand new to the area just this year. Youth involved within this program are not just athletes, but are involved in the Crusaders Club program during the off season that runs from December-June.

Crusaders Club includes community outreach involvement, youth development activities, team building and fundraising events, plus summer clinics. SMLYA is based in Franklin County but you don’t have to live within those boundaries to participate in the program. To learn more about SMLYA, follow Smith Mountain Lake Crusaders on Facebook and register for Crusaders Club. Sponsor highlights and events are shared weekly so that you may stay informed on all things Crusaders.

On Saturday, May 7, the second day of the fishing tournament, the Crusaders will host a Youth Fishing Tournament from 9-4pm. Registration fee is $25 and youth participants can fish from anywhere to place in the longest fish contest. Pictures will be submitted via text. For the biggest overall fish, weigh in will be held at Gills Creek Marina at 5pm.

For more details on the 53rd Annual Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Tournament, visit Registrants should be sure to join the new Facebook group that has been created to share live updates before, during, and in the coming years for fishermen.

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