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Fishing: Annual Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic benefits area organizations

BEMIDJI — The 14th annual Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic June 7 on Lake Bemidji and Lake Irving will feature a full field of 100 boats and event official Tracy Pogue isn’t surprised that the tournament reached the maximum well before the registration cutoff date.

“We got the word out early and it’s a fun tournament,” Pogue said. “When you fish Lake Bemidji it is a blind-squirrel tournament. We’ve never had a repeat winner and that shows that anybody can put together one good day of fishing and win this tournament.”

A catch-and-release event, the Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic follows all Minnesota fishing regulations. Each 2-angler team may weigh five walleyes and each fish must be at least 14 inches. Every angler is permitted to weigh one walleye over 20 inches so the key to winning the tournament is for a team to bring two walleyes over 20 inches and three fish between 19 and 19.75 inches to the scale.

A year ago the team of Carl Knutson and Brad Davis had the winning formula as their five fish combined for a weight of 16.74 pounds. A close second were Loren Ras and Paul Kuhn who brought 16.37 pounds of walleyes to shore.

The 2012 winners were Kaleb and Kelly Hanson, a father-son duo that outlasted the field.

Tournament officials were elated when the Hansons won the event and, in accordance with the tournament’s philosophy of being a family affair, Kraus-Anderson officials have created a special “Legacy Award” which will be given to this year’s highest placing father-son team.

“We want to encourage family teams and this year we have 15 father-son teams,” Pogue said. “This is a family event and having so many father-son teams is a great way to follow that tradition.”

The anglers will be competing for a first prize of $12,500. Payouts will extend to the $450 going to the 15th-place boat and the angler who weighs the heaviest fish will earn $500.

During the first 13 years of the tournament officials have raised and distributed more than $500,000 to local organizations. This year’s goal is to add at least $35,000 to that total.

The groups benefiting from the Kraus-Anderson include Bemidji Youth Baseball, Special Olympics, the DNR Fisheries, Take a Kid Fishing, Let’s Go Fishing, Fishing Has No Boundaries, the Boy Scouts and Wounded Warrior Guide Service.

The tournament officially begins at 6:55 a.m. with the playing of the National Anthem. At 7 a.m. the boats will take to the water and the anglers will return to the Waterfront at 3:30 p.m.

While the anglers are on the water spectators are invited to take part in the many family activities that will be offered at the Waterfront.

Refreshments and food will also be available for purchase during the day.

“There will be many different family activities at the Waterfront between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and we encourage everyone to participate,” Pogue said. “And we invite everyone to stay for the weigh-in.”

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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