WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published May 15, 2012, 10:13 PM

Despite A Smaller Tournament, Cats Incredible Isn't Full

New laws aimed at stopping the spread of invasive species are forcing some changes to the Cats Incredible fishing tournament. The tournament will be smaller this year, and anglers will only be launching their boats in Minnesota.

New laws aimed at stopping the spread of invasive species are forcing some changes to the Cats Incredible fishing tournament. The tournament will be smaller this year, and anglers will only be launching their boats in Minnesota.

In past years the tournament has had 150 teams and a waiting list. Organizers cut that number down to 125 this year, but so far there are only 115 teams and no waiting list.

They're hoping more people will sign up, and say the new laws won't hinder the tournament's success.

In past years anglers launched boats from just north of the Riverside Dam in Grand Forks, and at the ramp at LaFave Park in East Grand Forks.

"We combined it all to just off of one ramp so that we have 25 less teams, so we're working on trying to follow the new rules as best we can," tournament co-chair Tom McDonald said.

New laws prohibit transferring live fish across state lines so all fishermen will be putting their boats in the water at LaFave Park.

"The invasive species laws that are in affect we have to do some different things. We have to make sure that boats are drained when they come in and they can't have any water in their minnow buckets, and those kinds of things," McDonald said.

With all the changes, the number of teams registered for the tournament is down this year. Organizers say there are many factors that could be contributing to that.

"I think not having the tournament last year would be one of the factors, the invasive species would be another factor. The fact that we're not fishing the north end of the river and some fisherman really have a preference to fish in the north end," Chamber of Commerce President Barry Wilfahrt said.

Despite a smaller tournament, organizers are optimistic.

"We have fishermen from a variety of states from all over the region, and it's fun to host those fishermen and show them our great resource, the Red River," Wilfahrt said.

Last year's tournament was cancelled as the river neared flood stage at about 28 feet. The water level right now is about 17 feet. Organizers say it's looking about perfect for this summer's tournament.

The tournament is July 27-29. There's room for about ten more teams; just contact the Chamber of Commerce to sign up.

Tags: