Anglers Cast off for Charity in Virtual ALS Fishing Tournament

Updated: June 01, 2020 09:14 PM

For the first time in 25 years Island Lake was quiet for the annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament. Typically hundreds of anglers would cast their lines in the Minnesota lake for charity.

This year, due to the coronavirus, the 25th annual event took a new virtual platform allowing fundraisers to fish from anywhere.

"Today was completely different. Looking at our start time of 7 a.m., opening up the app for our virtual tournament was incredible. Right away people were on it, they're engaged and they're posting fish," said Blake Kolquist, the Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament director.

Using the app FishDonkey, anglers were able to record measurements of their catches and post a photo before releasing them.

Another new aspect for this year's tournament is the expansion of the species for the competition. They were expanded from walleye and bass to include northerns and crappies.

Despite having to fish apart, many supporters came together donating online to help those impacted by ALS.

"We've really had a great product going up at Island Lake with all the great people up in the Northland helping us out, but this is a way we figured we could do it without completely canceling the tournament. We're still fighting for ALS, we're not giving up on fighting that disease," said Kent Hrbek, a celebrity guest for the tournament and former Minnesota Twin.

The tournament winners are Timmon Lund's (Duluth) 13.5'' crappie, Hayden Anderson's (Poplar) 20.75'' bass, Jack Sannes's (Devils Lace, North Dakota) 40'' northern, and Marc Smith's (Proctor) 30'' walleye.

The final donations following the event totaled $157,000.

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