Sheryl Elia know all about the economic importance of bass tournaments at Lake of the Ozarks.
She is part of a family that has owned a popular waterfront resort for 35 years. With two launch ramps, a marina with 115 boat slips, a restaurant and a lounge, Alhonna Resort has become a hub for tournament fishermen … and a survivor at the time many mom and pop resorts are struggling to survive.
“Bass tournaments are absolutely vital to our business,” said Elia, who along with her husband Mike, manages the resort. “For the whole months of April, part of May, the latter part of September, and the whole month of October, we’re booked mostly with tournament fishermen.”
It helps that Lake of the Ozarks is the most popular reservoir in Missouri for bass tournaments. A study by The Star of regatta permits issued in 2015 by the Missouri Water Patrol showed that 408 bass tournaments will take place there this year. Table Rock ranks second with permits issued for 381 bass tournaments.
Those events range from large national tournaments to club and company competitions. But they all represent one thing: drawing power.
Though no exact figures are available on the ecomomic impact of the tournaments, surveys estimate that fishermen spend $150 per day during their visit to Lake of the Ozarks. That’s an almost guaranteed source of income for lake communities.
“The Lake of the Ozarks is truly blessed to have one of the top fisheries in the entire country,” said Jim Divincen, administrator of the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association. “The Lake of the Ozark’s central location and resort destination provides the perfect back drop to host hundreds of fishing tournaments annually, generating millions of dollars of economic impact for our lake-area businesses.”