Rain, Wind, High Dirty Water, and the “Take an Adult Fishing Tournament”

by Free Speech on July 30, 2010

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

River Currents
by Gary Engberg
©2010 Gary Engberg Outdoors

A group photo of the winners and the crew with DNR Secretary Matt Frank

A group photo of the winners and the crew with DNR Secretary Matt Frank

Last Saturday, July 24th, was the 10th annual “Take an Adult Fishing Tournament” at the Wilderness Fish and Game store in Sauk City, Wisconsin. This is the highlight for many children and adults in the small communities of Dane, Columbia, Sauk, and Iowa Counties and attracts around 75 teams and over 200 participants. There was a considerable amount of work done by the Wilderness Fish and Game personnel and volunteers to stage this annual children’s event; like getting corporate donations, packing “goodie” bags, procuring the stage and sound system, advertising, and getting the logistics together for hundreds of children and adults that fish this event. Running a successful event involves year-round work and then one has the intangibles that you have no control over like, the weather.

Being one of the organizers and the MC of the tournament, the weather had me worried. I knew that we had everything organized and “together” for the tournament with the exception of one major element, the weather. As most of you know, we had a week of copious amounts of rain scattered throughout the area, tornadoes, and high winds which all contributed to high and dirty water on most of the areas lakes, rivers, and streams. The tournament had enjoyed good weather all previous years in this rain or shine fishing outing. I was worried Friday night about the heavy rain that might continue and affect the turn-out for Saturday’s 6:00 am rules meeting and take-off. One of the tournaments rules was that teams could fish on any body of water they wanted as long as they were back to the Wilderness Fish and Game parking lot and stage for the 2:00 pm weigh-in. The rains had changed the nearby and normally slow moving Wisconsin River into a fast moving body of water that had over-flowed its banks and made the water a chocolate colored mess which wasn’t very conducive to fishing. I barely slept Friday night because I kept checking the rain and watching the Weather Channel on my computer to see what we were in store for early Saturday morning.

I was at the Wilderness store before 5:00 am with store managers, Larry Wipperfurth, Wayne Whitemarsh, and Wally Banfi moving the registration station and team weigh boards inside as it continued to rain. But, as if the “fishing gods” were there for the kid’s, the rain slowly subsided and the skies began to brighten as the family teams started to show up! All but a few teams were there for my rules meeting and a “fisher’s prayer” by Pastor Dwight Pulsfus. The greatest part of this event to me was the great turn out despite the overnight rain, high water, and early start.

The tournament’s participants left a little after 6:00 am and headed to many different lakes and streams in the area including; Lake Wisconsin, Devils Lake, White Mound Lake, Black Earth Creek, Lake Mendota, and even the Wisconsin River. This reinforced to me how important and meaningful this tournament and event was to so many children and adults. The purpose of the event was to get more and more children out on the water and involved in a healthy and drug-free activity. If children are not taught and taken fishing at an early age, then the chances of them participating in this life-long sport are minimal. Personally, I thank all who take the time to go fishing with loved ones in the outdoors and to those volunteers who took the time to help make this another successful children’s fishing outing.

The crowd gathering to watch the weigh-in at Wilderness Fish & Game, Sauk City.

The crowd gathering to watch the weigh-in at Wilderness Fish & Game, Sauk City.

As we got closer to the 2:00 pm weigh-in, the skies opened up and a bright sun greeted the returning teams. Despite the high and dirty water, there were some good catches of the six fish species that were allowed in the tournament. A special guest greeted the returning teams in Wisconsin DNR Secretary, Matt Frank, who found the time on a weekend to show up in Sauk City and give a little talk to the anglers both young and old on the importance of children’s events like these and help with the award ceremony. DNR Warden Greg Stacey was also on hand for much of the day showing and talking about the invasive species exhibit that he brought. Invasive species are a major problem on all state waters and this is another area of major concern to anglers and boaters. Retired Waunakee teacher, Duffy Kopf was the official weigh master and was helped by some National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) members; Robert Blosser, Joe Okada, Jim Kloth, Terry Frey, Wally Banfi, and myself. Blosser, Okada, and Frey are touring professional anglers who took the time to help the sport that they love so much!

By the time that we started weighing fish the sky had cleared and the winds switched making it a beautiful afternoon. The children didn’t disappoint any of the big crowd gathered for the weigh-in with their great catches especially when you consider the conditions on the local waters. Here are the winner’s in each fish category;

  • Trout, 1st place team # 63, Ryan and Kevin Kummerow with a 2.36 pound brown trout. 2nd place team # 39 Nicholas Lara with a 1.31 pound brown trout.
  • Bass, 1st place team # 45, Jeff Mundt with a 3.31 pound largemouth bass. 2nd place team # 12, Carson Brickl with a 2.94 largemouth bass.
  • Walleye and Sauger, 1st place team # 41, Jennifer Lord with a 1.68 walleye. This was the only walleye caught, so there was no second place.
  • Panfish (Bluegills, crappies, perch) 1st place team, # 46 Thomas Newcomer with a 1.01 pound bluegill. 2nd place team, # 16 Owen Diehl with a .79 pound bluegill.
  • Catfish, 1st place team # 70, Autumn McDonald with a 3.38 pound channel catfish. 2nd place team, # 18, Sydnee Duhr with a 1.75 pound channel catfish.
  • Roughfish, 1st place team, # 46 Michael Newcomer with a 1.61 pound fish. 2nd place team, Amanda Attoe with a 1.39 pound fish.

Most teams caught and weighed fish making this another event where the children and their parents, guardians, and relatives had a wonderful day on the water fishing and spending valuable time together in the outdoors.

Here are some of the companies and individuals who helped make this event possible and so successful; Arlington Agronomy, Community Business Bank, Gary N-Ski Photography, Robinson Films, Don Becker Law Office, Outdoor Horizons Radio, Fuchs Trucking, Culvers, Pepsi, Pure Fishing, Rapala, Wisconsin DNR, Eagle Claw, Power Pro, NPAA, Wilderness Fish and Game, Abu Garcia, Lindy Tackle, Carlisle Tackle, HT Tackle, Okuma Fishing, Gary Engberg Outdoors, DNR Secretary Matt Frank, Joanne Haas, Warden Greg Stacey, and Bob Lochner and his crew at Ace Hardware. If I missed anyone I apologize and thank you again for making this children’s event possible!

To see more photos from the tournament go to FlickR.com and then go to gengberg49, Gary Engberg Outdoors, Take An Adult Fishing Tournament, and www.garyengbergoutdoors.com . See you at next summer’s tournament.

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