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Bemidji's Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic June 9

BEMIDJI - The 12th annual Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic will be June 9 and tournament officials expect the field to include more than 90 two-person boats.

The maximum number of entries is 100.

"We are projecting more than the 87 boats that we had last year," said Bob Fitzgerald who is helping to organize the event.

Originating in 2001, the tournament has generated and donated more than $400,000 to a variety of Bemidji organizations. This year's beneficiaries are Fishing Has No Boundaries, Bemidji Youth Hockey, Special Olympics, Let's Go Fishing, the Boy Scouts, Take a Kid Fishing, the Boys and Girls Club of Red Lake, Bemidji Youth Baseball and the Minnesota DNR.

The tournament anglers will fish lakes Bemidji and Irving and spectators are welcome to watch the 7 a.m. departures and the weigh-in which will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Lake Bemidji Waterfront.

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

The majority of the tournament anglers hail from the Bemidji area but fishermen from North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota usually are in attendance.

Last summer, brothers Ryan and Shawn Klein, who live in the Blackduck and Turtle River areas, caught 17.66 pounds to win the event. Included in their catch was a walleye that tipped the scale at 6.02 pounds.

Brock Anderson and Randy Topper of Grand Rapids teamed to land the largest walleye of the day, a fish that weighed 6.92 pounds. That fish helped the anglers claim second place with 17.09 pounds.

The fishing tournament is the main attraction for the Kraus-Anderson weekend but officials are also offering a variety of activities geared toward family entertainment.

"We will have the boat parade through downtown Bemidji 6 p.m. Friday," Fitzgerald said. "And on Saturday everyone can test drive a new Ranger boat at the Chamber of Commerce dock by Paul and Babe."

Among the other family activities scheduled for Saturday are games, contests, face painting, a community picnic hosted by the Keg N Cork from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., a shooting gallery and an obstacle course.

"The community has embraced the tournament and the events that are wrapped around the tournament," Fitzgerald said. "And the community involvement is one of the things that distinguishes this tournament from the other walleye fishing events.

"When we started this event we wanted to showcase the waterfront and the wonderful community we have," Fitzgerald continued. "That is why we do more than just hold a fishing tournament."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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