- Associated Press - Monday, August 1, 2016

ALPENA, Mich. (AP) - Weighing the fish caught during Michigan Brown Trout Festival isn’t the most glamorous of jobs, but is one that requires someone with a passion for fishing and the ability to distinguish the different species. For the last 15 years Roger Barc has been in charge of removing the fish from the coolers and weighing them accurately.

Barc, who is affectionately know as “Fish Doctor,” said he has never fished the tournament, but has a desire to someday. He said even though he was unable to fish because he didn’t have a boat, he decided to volunteer and help out where needed. He was needed at the weigh-in station and the rest is history.

Barc said he learned quickly that he enjoyed working with the fish and he has seen many trophy fish come in over the years, including a state record brown trout that weighed 28 pounds and a 26-pound lake trout.

He said he also enjoys talking to the fishers and being involved in the atmosphere of the festival.

“I enjoy seeing the different kinds of fish and seeing how much they weigh,” Barc said. “I like helping out and I know what to look for if I suspect any foul play and I just really enjoy it.”

Barc said he arrives at the harbor early and remains there until late for the entire length of the tournament. He said there are times when most of the fishers are out on the water and there is little action on shore, time can drag by. He said once the boats dock and the coolers begin to line up, that is when things get exciting.

Barc said for the most part the fishers treat him with respect and it is rare that there is any type of objection to the weight of a fish. He said he considers many of them friends, as he does the other volunteers he works alongside.

“I have respect for them and they have respect for me,” Barc said. “Fishermen are one of the best type of people you can meet. Sure there are always a few bad apples, but they get weeded out or don’t come back and fish any longer.”

Barc said there have been many changes to the tournament over the years, including adding a walleye tournament and now a bass tournament, but he said he doesn’t believe there needs to be any large scale changes made. He said he believes it will be just a matter of time before a brown trout appears on the leaderboard.

“They are catching the ones that were just planted, but they are releasing them like we had asked,” Barc said. “I think we’ll still get a couple browns on the board and I think once these new fish mature, we will see more of the brown weighed in.”

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Information from: The Alpena News, https://www.thealpenanews.com

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