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Bemidji Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic officials expect full field

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BEMIDJI – The 13th annual Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic on Lake Bemidji and Lake Irving will be June 8 and any team that plans to participate should contact tournament officials very soon.

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A year ago the event attracted 97 two-angler teams and Bob Fitzgerald, who helps organize the event, believes that a full field of 100 boats will enter this year’s tournament.

“We are projecting a sell-out,” Fitzgerald said. “If any team wants to get into the tournament they better hurry.”

The Kraus-Anderson Classic annually attracts the top anglers from the Bemidji area and beyond. There are many reasons why they make the tournament part of their summer plans and topping the list for many is the available purse.

This year the anglers will be competing for more than $60,000 in cash and prizes and the winning team will be rewarded with $12,500.

The team that finishes second will receive $5,000 and the third-place duo will pocket $3,750.

Earning the $12,500 last summer was the father-son duo of Kelly Hanson and Kaleb Hanson. The Bemidji anglers weighed a five-fish walleye limit that tipped the scale at 18.08 pounds.

Placing second with five fish and 15.56 pounds were Luke Glime and Alan Binkley of Bemidji. Claiming third were Gary and Aaron Murphy with 15.17 pounds while Karl Dobmeier and Todd Imdieke finished fourth with 15.08 pounds.

The team of Dave Hanson and Bob Strand, which won the title in 2010, placed fifth last summer with 15.00 pounds.

Dave Hanson is Kelly Hanson’s father and the grandfather of Kaleb Hanson.

“The Kraus-Anderson has many father-son, husband-wife and other family combinations as teams,” Fitzgerald said. “Originally, the tournament was always held near Father’s Day and it remains a family affair.”

With the help of many sponsors and volunteers the Kraus-Anderson Classic has raised $460,000 during the past 12 years and that money has been donated to many area charities.

“Our goal this year is to reach the $500,000 mark,” Fitzgerald said. “That is a lofty goal but, because of the support we receive from the community, our sponsors and our volunteers, I believe it is doable.”

The public is invited to the weigh-in which will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Bemidji Waterfront. Each summer the anglers return to the stage with huge catches and this year’s spectacle should be equally impressive.

“No matter the weather conditions, every year the anglers catch their walleyes,” Fitzgerald said. “They all like fishing Lake Bemidji and Irving and they know the lakes very well. And they also like the core purpose of the tournament which is to give back to the community.

“We invite everyone to join us,” Fitzgerald added. “It’s a good show.”

Anyone wishing to participate in the fishing competition should call Kraus-Anderson at 218-759-0596 and ask for Chelsea. Registration information is also available by visiting the website at kawalleyeclassic.com.

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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