Here fishy, fishy

Tara Gustafson, of Littlefork, holds up a sturgeon she caught during the 2018 North American Sturgeon Championships

They hit like lightning and fight like thunder.

It’s time again for the North American Sturgeon Championships in Birchdale, launching from Nelson Park on the Rainy River Aug. 17.

The Sturgtacular Day begins with the Fifth Annual Youth Championships that will take place from noon until 2 p.m. The event is free to all youth age 17 and under, and the kids love it. As a catch and release tournament, the longest measured sturgeon will reward the angler with a unique championship plaque and a terrific grand prize.

Didn’t go so well or your fish was an inch or two from winning? That’s OK because the second- and third-place winners will also see recognition, and all participants will be eligible for some fantastic door prizes awarded by a drawing. Every single youth that fishes will walk away with a quality gift. It will be a blast for the kids and a great chance to introduce them to a one-of-a-kind angling experience.

Following the youth championships, the 28th Annual North American Sturgeon Championships will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. The catch and release tournament is a chance for a wonderful family adventure, and is affordable as the entry fee is only $20 for adults and $10 for kids, with the winner receiving 50 percent of collected entry fees.

The 2018 champion is determined to defend the crown. Last year, the winner strolled away with $2,310 with a deep bottomed 57-inch river monster landed in the last few minutes of competition. A great day at work. Participants last year came from over 60 Minnesota communities, six states and the province of Ontario. Judging boats will be on the water and will respond to “fish on” as fast as possible. Please follow all Minnesota boating and angling regulations.

A tasty, picnic-style lunch with refreshments and baked goods will be available, served by the Birchdale Congregational Church. All entrants will be eligible for door prizes awarded by drawing. As an added bonus, Arnesen’s Rocky Point Resort has generously offered two winter ice fishing big-time adventures awarded via raffle.

Registration is easy: you can stop at Nelson’s Fine Store in Birchdale or at the championship site.

Wanna know more? Call Nelson’s Store at 218-634-2583 or me, Mike Hanson, at 218-244-6886 or e-mail birchdale2@wiktel.com.

Two last things. We all definitely know a slew of Minnesota state record sturgeon were caught daily in the Rainy River; and lastly, even a small one is the biggest fish you ever caught. Be safe and have fun. See you there.

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