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21st annual Knights of Columbus Walleye Classic set for June 11

One hundred two-person teams will hit the water on Lake Bemidji for a one day battle of walleye angling for the 21st annual Knights of Columbus Walleye Classic fishing tournament on Saturday, June 11.

Knights of Columbus Walleye Classic 2021
Anglers await the 7 a.m. start of the Knights of Columbus Walleye Classic fishing tournament in June 2021 on Lake Bemidji.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI — One hundred two-person teams will hit the water on Lake Bemidji for a one-day battle of walleye angling for the 21st annual Knights of Columbus Walleye Classic fishing tournament on Saturday, June 11.

Teams will start fishing at 7 a.m. and go until 3 p.m. The award ceremony will start around 4:30 p.m. at Paul Bunyan Park where the winners of the raffle giveaways and the tournament winners will be announced.

The tournament is a catch, take a photo and release tournament. Anglers will use a smartphone app called FishDonkey to record the fish size and send photographic proof to the officials before the fish is released to reduce fish mortality in lakes, a release said.

The KC Walleye Classic will give out a total of 31 awards to participating anglers. The tournament champions will take home a check of $12,500 along with championship jackets and caps. Second place will receive $5,000 and third place will receive $3,750. Additional cash prizes will go to the top 15 finishers.

There are multiple other prizes the anglers can win including $500 for the highest finishing generational team and $1,000 including a rod designed by Joe Doty, owner of Diamond Custom Rods, for the biggest walleye of the day.

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With the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a number of free family events open to the public on the waterfront of Paul Bunyan Park throughout the afternoon including food, beverages and a cornhole tournament sponsored by the Boy Scouts held from noon to 3 p.m., with a first place prize of $100. Attendees can register their two-person teams for the event on the Boy Scouts website, mycouncil.vac-bsa.org.

The tournament is a tradition that originally began as the Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic, which to date has raised over $933,428 for various charitable organizations in Bemidji. They hope to hit the 1 million dollar mark this year.

According to the KCWC website, the tournament registration chairman Brent Rud announced they have filled the 100 team field. Registration continues to be open for the waiting list and those who enter will be called on a first-come, first-serve basis if any registered team drops out before June 11.

The grand raffle prize is a brand new Lund boat along with a Shorland’r bunk trailer package, which includes a Minn Kota trolling motor and helix graph provided by Ray’s Sport and Marine. Raffle participants can also win a Traeger pellet grill donated by Ace on the Lake.

The KCWC boat raffle tickets are on sale now at both Lueken’s Village Foods locations, Ace on the Lake, Acme Tools, Northwoods Bait and Tackle, Ray’s Sport and Marine and Dick’s Northside Service for $10 each.

For more information about the KCWC fishing tournament or to register, visit kcwalleyeclassic.com or the KCWC Facebook page .

Maggi is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on outdoor and human interest stories. Raised in Aitkin, Minnesota, Maggi is a graduate of Bemidji State University's class of 2022 with a degree in Mass Communication.
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