Lovell, WY 7/12/08 – The Inaugural Bighorn Catfish Tournament kicked off near Lovell, Wyoming last Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. as twelve teams set out to claim the top prize. Nine teams competed out of boats, and three decided to brave the elements from shore.
It was a beautiful day in northern Wyoming as temperatures would peek in the mid-nineties and there was very little wind making it very hard for the fisherman to stay aggressive and find the active fish. Fishing proved to be very difficult throughout the entire day as only three teams were able to bring in their limit of six catfish. This tournament provided difficulty to the competitive angler, because it is held during spawn period rather than pre-spawn like the rest of the regional catfish tourneys. Catfish are generally not as active during this time, and it showed on this afternoon. Local Veteran Bighorn River Anglers; Oren Jones and Craig Winterholler, both of Lovell, Wyoming were able to run away with the tournament crown, by catching their limit of six cats at just over twenty five pounds. Congratulations to Oren and Craig! Only two other teams were able to reach the teen mark, 2nd Place team of Jim Bowman and Jeff Minchow, and the 3rd place Montana Cats duo of Brenner Flaten and Tyler George. Jeff Minchow would also cash the check for the biggest catfish of the tournament, a piggie, tipping the scales at 9.26 pounds.
Every catfish at the event was weighed, measured, and tagged by the Wyoming Fish and Game. We are happy to report there was once again a zero percent mortality rate. The entire tournament field deserves some recognition for that. The Friends of Bighorn Lake did a tremendous job at getting this event off the ground. The opening rules meeting and the weigh-ins were run very well and this tournament will undoubtedly see massive growth into the future. A special thanks goes out to Joe Anderson at the Horseshoe Bend Motel from the Montana Cats field staff. Thank you for your generosity and we look forward to working with you and the rest of FOBHL for many years to come. There is a distinct possibility that this event will join three others alike in Montana next fishing season, to form the first ever Montana Catfish Association tournament circuit! Please enjoy the final results and the pictures from this weekends event below.
1. Oren Jones, Lovell, WY / Craig Winterholler, Lovell, WY 25.23 lbs.
2. Jim Bowman, Cowley, WY / Jeff Minchow, Lovell, WY 13.40 lbs.
3. Brenner Flaten, Wright, WY / Tyler George, Billings, MT 13.24 lbs.
4. Clint Pollock, Laurel, MT / Ryan Mangus, Lovell, WY 6.36 lbs.
5. Eric Menning, Powell, WY / Zach Brando, Powell, WY 5.03 lbs.
6. Dale Goff, Shoshoni, WY / Cecil Boyle Jr, Shoshoni, WY 3.02 lbs.
7. Nikoma Dowd, Lovell, WY / Rick Harm, Lovell, WY 2.89 lbs.
8. Robert Duval, Greybull, WY / Michael Renfro, Greybull, WY 1.25 lbs.
9. Casey Brazelton, Garland, WY / Brandon Gates, Powell, WY 0.82 lbs.
10. Jay Cotter, Powell, WY / Nelson Crawley, Cowley, WY 0.76 lbs.
11. James Cozzens, Cowley, WY / Brandon Cozzens, Lovell, WY 0 lbs.
12. Jeff Wardell, Lovell, WY / Karen Wardell, Lovel, WY 0 lbs.
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