BIRCHDALE — Danny Olafson was the big winner at the 28th Annual North American Sturgeon Championships Saturday.

The Blackduck native hooked a 65-inch sturgeon to take first place and a cash prize of $2,700.

This was the biggest winner in the tournament since 2014, when Allen Baldwin of Williams netted a sturgeon measuring just over 66 inches.

After fighting with the fish for over 15 minutes, Olafson finally managed to bring the fish into his boat.

Olafson said he was still shaking from catching this monster of a fish hours after the fact, but it’s an achievement he’s very proud of.

“This is better than when I got a 10-point buck,” he said. “This will be something I remember for a long long time.”

Despite the immense size of the winner, it was a light day for the other anglers on Rainy River, with only six other sturgeon being officially measured.

In the Fifth Annual Youth Sturgeon Adventure, there were only two sturgeon caught, with Olivia Ranz coming out on top with a catch measuring 34 inches.

The 29th Annual North American Sturgeon Championships will take place Aug. 15 2020.

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