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Voyageur's Best Features of 2001

Contest winners with fish

Contestants are hooked!
McGregor Chamber's fishing contest is growing in popularity
by John Grones  |  June 12, 2001

As morning broke on Saturday, June 2, fishing contest participants wasted little time scrambling off to their favorite spots. Contestants were eager to pull in enough fish to win the top prize in the 18th Annual McGregor Area Lakes Fishing Tournament, sponsored by the McGregor Area Chamber of Commerce.

Prize money this year included a total of $4,200, with the winning northern and walleye stringers receiving $1,150. The cost to enter the tournament was $50, pre-registration, and $60 on the day of contest. Tournament coordinator, Kathy Larson, commented that many participants are 'hooked' (pardon the pun) on this small tournament and they return each year because of the reasonable entry fee.

Two returning local participants are sure glad they entered. Billy Dean, III, who has entered the contest every year, and his fishing partner, Todd Schoeben, took home the big prize for a stringer of northerns. The stringer weighed in at 26.71 pounds, which easily beat the second place stinger caught by Tim Urness, Ham Lake, and Chad Anderson, Coon Rapids. Their stringer was 22.75 pounds.

Dean and Schoeben fished Big Sandy this year. "I normally fish Minnewawa," said Dean, "but this year we switched lakes." Despite the fact that Minnewawa still produced the second and third place stingers, it turned out to be a good move for Bill and Todd. "We fished the same spot a day earlier," said Dean. "Successfully!" he added.

As one might expect, the two are both reluctant to reveal where they caught the fish and what they were biting on. "One lure," said Dean. "We tried several, but only one worked."

It was quite a day for the Dean family, because on the same lake (but in a totally different location) Paul and Angie (Dean) Donna from Coon Rapids, were fishing for walleyes. Angie is Bill's sister. She hadn't planned on fishing, but she's glad she did. "Paul's brother, Larry, backed out at the last minute, so I ended up fishing," said Angie.

The two turned out to be an excellent team, because Paul landed a 4 lb, 13 oz. walleye and Angie netted it. The 24 inch fish 'netted' them first place for the largest walleye and $150. "There was only one other boat in the spot we were fishing," Paul explained, "and I think they were one of the top walley stringers."

Both lakes, Big Sandy and Minnewawa, produced some nice stringers and big northerns. There were a few fish caught over eight pounds and the biggest fish was 9.83 pounds, caught by Tim Urness and Chad Anderson.

The tournament has become quite popular over the years, with this year's total of 152 teams up 12 teams from last year. The Chamber is excited to see the tournament growing. Congratulations to the winners and good luck next year. Remember to register early for a reduced entry fee and early-bird drawings!