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Familiar Faces Smash Records in Huntley

Familiar Faces Smash Records in Huntley

May 13, 2023 by

5/13/23, Huntley, MT- The Yellowstone River is the longest free flowing river in the lower 48.  In it’s most Western reaches it boasts trophy class trout.  The further east it meanders, the water temperature rises.  The combination of rising water temps, plentiful forage fish and attractive underwater structure transforms the Yellowstone from a Trout haven, into one of the finest Channel Catfish destinations in the region.  The primary Channel Catfish populations in the Yellowstone span from the confluence near Williston, ND to as far West as Huntley, MT.  The western boundary of this long free flowing beauty is where the Yellowstone Challenge Catfish tournament has taken place the past 17 years, the second Saturday in May. 

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Team Wise; Make it SIX

Team Wise; Make it SIX

May 14, 2022 by

The 16th Annual Yellowstone Challenge Catfish Tournament kicked off the 2022 Montana Cats tour this past weekend in Huntley.  The total 60 team field filled weeks in advance, a clear indication of the excitement surrounding this year’s event.  The teams gathered on Friday night at the NEW tournament headquarters at the beautiful Rhoadside Event Center in downtown Huntley for the rules meeting and Calcutta.  If the “chatter” at the initial meeting were any indication, this year’s event would present a whole NEW set of challenges.  

Area drought conditions created uncharacteristically LOW flows, which required not only NEW fish locating re but requirements also superb boat navigation skills.  The week leading up to competition days saw flows as low as 4K CFS.  For comparison’s sake, the 2019 tourney boasted 40,000 CFS flows on the high side, more than 10X for flows for the 2022 event.  It’s these constant changing river conditions year-to-year and day-to-day, especially early season, that force anglers to adapt their skills to maximize catch rates.  

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Tough Conditions No Match for White / Braunberger

Tough Conditions No Match for White / Braunberger

May 08, 2021 by

The Montana Catfish Association hosted the 15th Annual Yellowstone Challenge this past weekend in Huntley, MT.  Friday night kicked off with the rules meeting, social and Calcutta.  Anglers and fans took the time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones in the process.  The Challenge filled it's 60 team field for the first time since 2015 once again lived up to its name.

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Tourney Vets Crowd Leader Board at Yellowstone Challenge

Tourney Vets Crowd Leader Board at Yellowstone Challenge

May 09, 2020 by

5/9/20 (Huntley, MT) – The 2020 Montana Cats tourney season kicked off this past weekend with the 14th Annual Yellowstone Challenge in Huntley.  This year provided a welcome break from the turbulent river conditions present the past couple years.  51 jet boats entered and 41 teams weighed fish.  After the dust settled, an impressive 14 teams finished with a basket over 20 lbs. (over a 5 lb. average).  

In the end, the leaderboard was littered with tourney veterans.  Last year’s Milk River Catfish Classic champion Steve Harris partnered with 2 time Yellowstone Challenge champion Nick Fortier.  Their 24.15lb basket was good enough for fifth place.  Former Challenge champion Rod Seder and his brother Rob claimed 4th place with 25.97 lbs.  That marks the ninth time Rod has placed in the top 15 in the Yellowstone Challenge.  

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Wise Guys Back On Top

Wise Guys Back On Top

May 14, 2019 by

5/11/19 Huntley, MT- Catfish enthusiasts packed into CowBoys Bar & Casino for the annual kick-off tourney to the Montana Cats tour this past Friday evening.  Through the duration of the Calcutta/social, the crowd experienced overcast and rainy conditions, threatening to play a familiar scene on most historical Yellowstone Challenge tourney weekends.  Competition day, however, was an entirely different story.  Seventy degree temps, light winds and moderate river flows were a welcome change over the course of this year’s affair.  The 2018 Yellowstone Challenge boasted RECORD flows of over 40,000 CFS.  The 2019 version punched the meter at just over 10,000 CFS.  That is in large part why this event is such a CHALLENGING competition.  Unpredictable spring weather and flows consistently throw a wrench in even the most seasoned catfish veteran’s plans.

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Records SMASHED at Yellowstone Challenge

Records SMASHED at Yellowstone Challenge

May 12, 2018 by

Over its 12 years in existence, the Yellowstone Challenge catfish tournament has proven time & time again to be incredibly unpredictable. This year was not an exception. The record snow pack, high temps and rain showers the night of the event, set the stage for a rip roaring Yellowstone River. The increased flows peaked around 40K CFS on tournament day, over doubling the flow from the previous week. The floating debris, 40 degree temps and increased flows forced the anglers to cover more water and increased the numerous challenges presented.

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Record Flows Produce Record Weights In Challenge

Record Flows Produce Record Weights In Challenge

May 13, 2017 by

The 11th Annual Yellowstone Challenge Catfish Tournament once again threw the top catfish anglers in Montana a curve ball. With erratic spring weather, this tourney consistently provides inconsistent and unpredictable conditions. This year wasn’t an exception. Due to unseasonably warm temperatures the week leading up to the event, the river swelled to over 30K CFS, with water levels rising near a foot on tournament day.

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Falling Water? No Match for Fortier/Franco

Falling Water? No Match for Fortier/Franco

May 17, 2016 by

Montana Catfish anglers were brimming with anticipation as the second weekend of May was rapidly approaching.  The 10th Annual Yellowstone Challenge, kicking off the Montana Cats tour annually, was just the event to quench that thirst.  The weekend started off with an action packed night at Pryor Creek Bar on Friday night, highlighted by the evenings Calcutta/social and ended on Saturday night with crowning a rapidly rising catfish duo that is sure to continue making waves in the future.

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Team Cantrell Dominates Yellowstone Challenge Field

Team Cantrell Dominates Yellowstone Challenge Field

May 09, 2015 by

The week leading up to the 2015 Yellowstone Challenge set up beautifully. Pre-fishing was “off the hook”, coupled with 80 degree temps and bright sunny skies. Everything seemed to be setting up well for the fisherman but then came the dreaded cold front. 80 degree temps were replaced with near freezing temperatures and a dash of rain, however, the frigid temps couldn’t hold back these hardcore Montana Catfishermen from competing in the first Montana Cats event of the season. The drastic shift in temps threw many teams for a loop but others adjusted on the fly and put together some nice baskets of Yellowstone kitties.

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Wise Guys Stay Hot

Wise Guys Stay Hot

May 10, 2014 by

The Montana Catfish Association kicked off their first of four tournaments this past weekend with the Yellowstone Challenge in Huntley. With the mighty Yellowstone fluctuating over 10,000 CFS the week leading up to the Challenge and dropping steadily throughout competition day, the difficulty level was ramped up significantly. Couple that with 40 degree ambient temp, 30 MPH wind gusts and 53 degree water and that’s just downright cruel.

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Record Numbers of Catfish Caught at Challenge

Record Numbers of Catfish Caught at Challenge

May 11, 2013 by

The Montana Catfish Association hosted the 7th Annual Yellowstone Challenge Catfish tournament this past weekend in Huntley. After a long and grueling winter, the anglers were anxious to get out on the water and compete against some familiar faces. Several talented out of town teams, coupled with an abundance of veteran local anglers battled for the right to call themselves Yellowstone Challenge champs. This was perhaps the most star-studded cast in Montana Cats history, with over 19 individual catfish championships scattered throughout the field.

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Seder and Weber Topple Stiff Competition at Challenge

Seder and Weber Topple Stiff Competition at Challenge

May 12, 2012 by

One of the most loaded fields of Catfish anglers in tournament history competed in the 6th Annual Yellowstone Challenge this past weekend. The bite, however, had slowed considerably throughout the week and it stifled many of the veteran competitors. Nearly half of the thirty-seven team field experienced just how un-cooperative Yellowstone River cats can be some days. It didn’t take long for tournament champions Rod Seder and Kurt Weber to get into the swing of things at the Challenge.

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Tallents Take “The Challenge” Head On

Tallents Take “The Challenge” Head On

May 07, 2011 by

The Yellowstone Challenge, brought to you by the Montana Catfish Association in conjunction with Cabelas, returned to Huntley over the weekend and welcomed a record 42 boats to the competition. An unseasonably cold spring gave way to three straight days of beautiful weather leading up to the event, and that’s just what the doctor ordered. The weigh-ins provided all the proof one needed to see that the big fish were active and the anglers were in prime form.

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Adame and Green go Back to Back

Adame and Green go Back to Back

May 08, 2010 by

What a weekend! When the Montana Catfish Association was searching for a catchy nickname for their newly found tournament back in the fall of 2006, they settled on “The Challenge”. Little did we know, it would turn out to be the perfect fit for this annual Yellowstone River event. The tournament is held on the 2nd weekend of May every year, which usually ensures unstable weather. Additional challenges include the fact that its held during mid-day and in typical very unstable river flows. This years version was no different for the field of 60 teams.

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Records Smashed at 3rd Annual Yellowstone Challenge

Records Smashed at 3rd Annual Yellowstone Challenge

May 09, 2009 by

The Yellowstone Challenge continues to grow at an all-time high, this was evidenced by the nice crowd gathered around the Minnow Bucket in Huntley this past Saturday. This years 3rd Annual event provided fun and thrills for all the ages involved. The 60-team limit was filled 3 weeks in advance of the event, as anglers rushed to assure their entry. The local anglers are becoming more excited about catfishing and if this year’s tourney is any indication, we should see continued growth and positive changes into the future.

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Local anglers win 2nd Annual Yellowstone Challenge

Local anglers win 2nd Annual Yellowstone Challenge

May 10, 2008 by

The annual Yellowstone Challenge is in the books and there were many impressive stringers recorded on this beautiful 65-degree day. A record 51 teams set out on the section of Yellowstone River stretching from the mouth of the Bighorn River to the East bridge in Billings. Bank and shore anglers were allowed to compete; as most teams experienced mixed results throughout the day, encountering a somewhat sporadic bite. Billings anglers, Ryan Smith and Kevin Van Donsel, took home the championship with an impressive four fish limit of 30.4 lbs., earning themselves a check for $700. They would also take home the Big Fish Prize, a large backyard grill valued at $300, for their Channel Cat weighing in at 10.4 lbs.

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Inaugural Yellowstone Challenge a Success

Inaugural Yellowstone Challenge a Success

May 19, 2007 by

The Yellowstone Challenge marked the first ever Catfish tournament in the Billings region. Local anglers who participated in the inaugural tournament were eager to get out on the water to catch some huge cats and capture bragging rights. 42 teams in all (mostly local) braved the high water conditions for an afternoon of good fun and competition. The field was essentially split, with half the field fishing from shore and the other half from boat.

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