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Douglas County Bow Fishing Challenge set for Saturday night

Andrew Paczkowski (left) of Valley City, North Dakota and Brett Brazel of Alexandria shot the biggest fish during the 2016 Douglas County Bow Fishing Challenge, a 29-pound carp that Brazel arrowed on Lake Victoria. (File photo)

The third annual Douglas County Bow Fishing Challenge is set for this Saturday night as bow fishermen get set to take to lakes all over the county.

The event is sponsored by the Brandon Fin and Feathers Club, Leaf Valley Sportsmen, Millerville Sportsmen, Evansville Sportsmen and the Viking Sportsmen Club as the outdoor groups come together in an attempt to have archers remove some rough fish from area lakes.

Bow fishing continues to be a popular sport in the spring and throughout the summer as archers take to the water during daylight and night hours and more people get used to seeing them.

"Most people like to go out at night," tournament organizer Durk Stark said. "You have the lights that shine into the lakes. A lot of homeowners aren't used to this and they see this coming and maybe call the DNR to see what's going on. I just want people to know that it's usually bow fishermen helping to take some rough fish out of the lakes."

Participants dealt with high winds during last year's tournament as only 18 boats came out. More than 550 rough fish, predominantly carp and buffalo, totalling about 3,150 pounds was taken. Connor Lausch of Fergus Falls and Dylan Satter and Joe Lorentz, both of Dent, won the 2016 challenge after shooting 92 fish.

Stark said organizers hope to have more boats in this year's challenge with the event being capped at 50. Each boat can have up to three team members and participants must have a Minnesota fishing license.

Participants will register the day of the event, this Saturday, with check-in running from 6-8 p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. There is a rules meeting before boats depart at 9. Cost is $90 per boat. Weigh-in is from 5-6 a.m. on June 11 back at the fairgrounds.

Stark said there is a 100 percent payback from the entry fees to participants. The boat with the most fish shot wins the top prize. There is also a $100 prize for the biggest and smallest fish shot.

Stark said after last year's tournament that if the challenge could draw 50 boats, that they should be able to remove almost 10,000 to 15,000 pounds worth of rough fish during the night.

All the fish shot in the tournament are sold to Bio Corporation and owner Ben Hedstrom of Alexandria to make sure the fish get put to use.

The sale from last year's fish raised $472.50. The money raised is donated to the Alexandria, Osakis and Brandon-Evansville Archery in the Schools programs.

"Nobody makes any money off of it and the money that comes in comes from the sale of the fish," Stark said. "The more fish we shoot, the more the kids make."

Call Stark at (320) 766-9392 or Dana Barfknecht at (320) 766-0814 for more information on this weekend's tournament.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

(320) 763-1229