The Cabela's National Team Championship, or NTC, begins in La Crosse on Thursday, bringing over 400 anglers to fish for Walleye in the Mississippi.
Originally scheduled in the Quad Cities area, poor water conditions bring the prestigious tournament to La Crosse for the first time.
Participants learned of the switch earlier this month and spent the week getting to know our area. With 200 two-person teams fishing in the region all week, local businesses feel the impact.
"One employee here is almost OK. Sometimes the one employee will get overwhelmed, but now it's easy for two employees to get overwhelmed, so I have two full-time employees on at all times during this walleye tournament and a third one is not a bad idea," Manager of Island Outdoors in La Crosse Billy Isbell describes.
The tournament benefits more than just outdoor-related businesses too.
"Their boats obviously need to be refueled every day, their trucks that are pulling them around need to refueled on the regular, the tackle and stuff that they're buying every day, just everyday things like sunscreen and everything else too that goes into it, there's just a ton of stuff that they are spending a lot of money while they're here," Jeremiah Burish, Explore La Crosse Director of Sports and Events, explains.
Using averages and additional information from previous tournaments, Burish estimates La Crosse will receive an additional $400,000 in direct spending from the event.
"The Wisconsin Department of Tourism estimates every overnight as $180 in direct spending. I think fishing tournaments in general actually are a little bit more than that, personally, just because of the gas alone. They are spending a lot of money on gas," Burish concludes.
While the river is no longer in flood stage the water level is still high, use caution if you plan to do any fishing of your own this weekend.
MORE: Cabela's NTC