Updated: June 01, 2019 07:01 PM
Folks gathered in Island Lake early Saturday for the 24th Annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament.
“We have about 300 anglers out on the water today fishing for walleye and bass,” Blake Kolquist, a volunteer, said.
“It’s a great day to be fishing, like it is every day,” Steve Derass, an angler, said.
Island Lake was flooded with excited anglers who were competing to get the biggest catch of the day for the tournament. 149 teams competed in this year’s tournament. The team with the biggest (by weight) walleye will receive $1,000 cash. The team with the biggest (by weight) single bass will receive $500 cash.
This year, former Twins Catcher Terry Steinbach and former NHL and UMD Hockey Player Jim Johnson served as the Tournament Hosts.
"It's a totally different feel than just going out and fishing like you would on your own. That's what made it a lot of fun,” Matt Birong, an angler, said.
It was Matt's first time competing in the tournament. He joined his friend Josh Schomberg who's been part of the tournament for five years.
"I try to bring new people on, it’s an experience to be part of an actual fishing tournament. The atmosphere, the philosophy and comradery is pretty awesome," Josh Schomberg, an angler, said.
"We got two walleyes that we could keep and then we got about three other ones that we couldn't keep, they were too small," Bill Ohnsted, an angler, said.
And of the things anglers kept on saying is that the weather couldn't have been more perfect for the fishing tournament. It was nice and sunny, a huge difference from last year’s weather which had heavy rains and wind.
"The best weather by far. Fishing wasn't the greatest for us, but we've never done super great. We always catch fish which is fun to be a part of,” Schomberg said.
Although fishing is a major part of this event, what hundreds of anglers and volunteers say drives them to be a part of this is giving back to those struggling through Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis(ALS).
Money raised for the event goes towards the ALS Association, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota Chapter. Services the organization helps with include durable medical equipment, communication devices and respite care for full-time family caregivers.
"The dollars that are raised are going back towards the fight in a couple ways whether it be towards research efforts, a big one is patient care and that's to families that have been affected and are going through the fight right now,” Kolquist, said.
The event unites everyone with the common goal to find a cure for ALS.
"ALS is a very good organization to try and donate some money to and we just enjoy fishing and being in the outdoors,” Ohnsted said.
"We didn't think 24 years ago that we would still have what we have today but we are stronger than ever,” Kolquist said.
Since the tournament started in 1995, it has raised $3 million.
The winners of the fishing tournament are listed below:
Jason Schrupp from Hawley, Minnesota, and Josh Fankhanel from Vergas, Minnesota, got the day's biggest walleye at 2.27 lbs.
In the bass portion of the tourney, Mike Lebsack and Chad Mehlum of Duluth won the Bass Challenge with their basket of bass weighing 16.45 lbs. They also caught the single biggest fish of the day, a 4.17-pound bass.
Updated: June 01, 2019 07:01 PM
Created: June 01, 2019 04:47 PM
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