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Local Anglers Win Inaugural Bighorn Catfish Tournament

Local Anglers Win Inaugural Bighorn Catfish Tournament

July 12, 2008 by

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.

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5th Annual Savage Fire Department

5th Annual Savage Fire Department

June 09, 2008 by

6/9/2008- The 5th Annual Savage Volunteer Fire Department Catfish Tournament scheduled for the second weekend in June filled the 60 team limit a week early this year. Unlike many fishing tournaments that highlight targeting the biggest fish, this one has an additional challenge. Each 3-man-team may only weigh fish between 12-18 inches. This slot limit is an additional hurdle to cross, often times requiring anglers to change their traditional fishing techniques or locations. The tournament weekend kicked off with the Friday night Calcutta/social. This is a time when fishermen can bid on tournament teams while enjoying conversation, fresh grilled burgers, or cold refreshments.

Following the Calcutta, tournament action began at 7 AM Saturday and weigh-ins conclude at 3:30. One team stood out above the rest when it came time to weigh the days catch. Matt Reynolds, Lance Kuylen and Troy Cotter braved the high waters, mosquitoes, and swarms of gnats with an impressive 5.98 lb stringer. Keith Nelson, Duane Smith and Lee Moore came in a close second place finishing only .15 lbs behind the leaders. Tourney vet Kevin Bentz led his team of Augie Bentz and Dave McKinney to a third place finish. Field staff members Brady Flaten, Brenner Flaten, and Tyler George earned a respectable 4th place finish with 5.515 lbs.

Pat Reynolds and the Savage Volunteer Fire Department continue to put on an exceptional catfish tournament. Montana Catfish Association commends Miller and the S.V.F.D for expressing concern for conservation in addition to organizing such a great catfish event. Another thanks goes out to the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks for aiding in measuring and weighing our catches. Final results are listed below. Team interviews and picture links will be up soon so keep checking back for continued coverage of this great event.

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9th Annual Milk River Catfish Classic

9th Annual Milk River Catfish Classic

June 07, 2008 by

Who would take home the 9th Annual Catfish Classic championship…..rookies, tourney vets or past champions? Relatively stable weather and good river flows were sure to provide plenty of drama and huge Channel Cats for the traditional downtown midnight weigh-ins. One of the unique challenges this tournament poses, is the astounding amount of river miles within the tournament boundaries.

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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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Tournament Catfishing…..in the snow?

Tournament Catfishing…..in the snow?

May 05, 2008 by

Lewellen, NE 5/3/08 – Montana Cats field staff members, Brenner and Jason Flaten, recently competed in the 11th Annual Lake McConaughy Catfish Classic held in Western Nebraska. The tournament is quickly turning into a huge event and it is growing on a yearly basis. The event includes a Calcutta and social on Friday night, as well as the tournament on Saturday.

This years tournament, however, provided a challenge to the anglers unlike any other year, with temperatures dipping into the 30’s in the two days leading up to the tourney. A massive snow storm fell in the Lewellen area on Friday, leaving nearly 6-8 inches on the ground, and dropping water temperatures in the river to the mid 30’s. This didn’t seem to scare away the avid catfish anglers though, as a record 55 teams entered in the 10-hour one-day cattin’ tourney. As you would expect, the catfish were a bit tight-lipped throughout the entire tournament, as only 12 of the 55 teams were able to land fish. No team was able to catch their limit of ten catfish, and the 1st place squad was only able to boat seven cats. The Championship team, Tater and Buck Johnson, were able to find the right combination and topped the leader board with 20.46 lbs. Tater and Buck fished Lake McConaughy, as did the other eleven teams that were able to land fish. No team fishing the North Platte River even caught a catfish.

Brenner had this to say on the tournament, “We knew we were in trouble when we showed up to our main spot in the morning and we couldn’t fish effectively because there was too much ICE floating down the river, that’s not a situation we typically prepare for.” “We were spending a lot of time just trying to keep our baits positioned, because the ice was just catching our lines. The water temp was 34 degrees, which doesn’t exactly trigger feeding. We threw everything at them and we just couldn’t get them to bite.”

The guys at the Oregon Trail Trading Post in Lewellen, NE do a tremendous job with this event and you can expect even more growth into the future. Montana Cats has already penciled in the tournament for 2009. Congratulations to all of the top ten and good luck for the rest of your catfishing season!

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