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Big fish highlight third Douglas County Bowfishing Challenge

The team of (left to right) Connor Lausch, Joe Lorentz and Dylan Satter from near Fergus Falls won the Douglas County Bowfishing Tournament for the second straight year after boating 119 rough fish from area lakes the night of June 10. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Three of the biggest fish from the Douglas County Bowfishing Challenge. The top fish taken at the tournament weighed 35.73 pounds and was shot by Zach Saxton of Parkers Prairie. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

The third annual Douglas County Bow Fishing Challenge drew about the same number of boats as last year as teams took to waters all over the county in ideal conditions on the night of June 10.

Thunderstorms came into the area on Sunday morning, but tournament organizer Durk Stark said boats were off the water by the time they hit.

"Conditions were perfect," Stark said. "It was calm. Mostly the fish were in deeper water, and it was a lot of big fish."

The three-person team of Connor Lausch, Joe Lorentz and Dylan Satter from near Fergus Falls repeated as champions as the team with the most fish shot.

That trio boated 92 fish during the 2016 tournament. They did even better this year as they arrowed 119 rough fish to take home the top prize. They also won the prize for arrowing the smallest fish of 0.3 pounds.

Top three places were awarded for the teams that had the three biggest fish by weight. Keith Imholte, Ben Leither and Sam Thompson took that top prize with a three-fish weight of 87.02 pounds.

Stark said 20 teams started the tournament. Those who did take part filled up a lot of barrels of rough fish out of area lakes as 731 fish totalling more than 5,000 pounds were harvested.

"Two of the teams had boat troubles, so we only had 18 teams that finished," Stark said, "but we shot two and a half tons of fish."

The biggest fish of the night weighed in at 35.73 pounds, which was shot by Zach Saxton of Parkers Prairie.

"There were a lot of 30-plus pound fish," Stark said. "It was just crazy."

The tournament drew 18 boats a year ago with teams of up to three people. The event is capped at 50 boats, so organizers would love to see even more teams take part in an attempt to remove more rough fish and raise money for area Archery in the School programs.

"For sure we'd like more boats," Stark said. "The teams from Scheels and Cabelas didn't show up, but the other teams had a ball and some of the teams that were there the first year came back and were so glad they came back after missing it last year. We got a lot of good feedback."

Money from the entry fees goes back to the top teams in the field.

Organizers got a check for $720 from the sale of the fish to Bio Corporation in Alexandria. That money, along with money from other donations, will go to the Archery in the Schools programs in Alexandria, Brandon-Evansville and Osakis.

2017 DOUGLAS COUNTY BOWFISHING CHALLENGE

TOP FOUR TEAMS - First - Connor Lausch, Joe Lorentz, Dylan Satter, 119 fish; Second - Dominic Goodale, Tyler Starry, 71 fish; Third - Keith Imholte, Ben Leither, Sam Thompson, 69 fish; Fourth - Wayne Claasen, Monte Mounsdon, 66 fish

BRENTON BIG THREE (Top three fish by weight) - First - Imholte, Leither, Thompson - 87.02 pounds; Second - Sam Graham, Jason Piekarski, Shane Schultz - 82.17 pounds; Third - Goodale, Starry - 79.26 pounds

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
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