Anglers gather at Noxon Reservoir for tourney


Miriah Kardelis

BIG FISH - Anglers Austin Johnson and Quincy Grupenhoff, both from Noxon, brought in a total of 25.64 pounds to win seventh in the Tri-State Tournament.

The Clark Fork Bass Anglers Tri-State Tournament was held over the weekend at the Noxon Rapids Reservoir, with weigh-ins taken behind the Lakeside Motel and Resort in Trout Creek. A total of 36 teams signed up to compete for this year's grand prize of $1,500, which was sponsored by Clark Fork Bass Anglers.

As the boats came in, the bass were transported in live bags to holding tanks as the anglers waited for their weigh-in. The holding tanks contained a catch and release conditioner to help calm the fish. "It basically helps replenish the fish, and it helps with a safe release," weigh master Ron Wood said. "We do everything in our power to release the fish the same way we brought them in."

In this two-day buddy tournament, two people are allowed in each boat. Each team had a five-fish max they were allowed to catch. Weights of each day were tallied and added together for a two-day total, with a deduction in weight for any dead fish that came up from the water.

The team of Austin Johnson and Quincy Grupenhoff, both from Noxon, were one of the many teams to take to the water in the early mornings over the weekend. "It's a lot tougher than normal this year. The fish are more spread out here than other competitions I've done," Johnson said about his experience. "I'm 23 years old, and I've been doing this for the last 10 years." The team took seventh place, bringing in a total weight of 25.64 pounds.

Due to COVID-19, extra precautions were taken this year to ensure social distancing guidelines could be followed. No more than four people at a time were allowed at the holding tanks, and the number of people transporting the fish from the river was limited as well. "This is probably one of our biggest tournaments every year. We usually have around 40 to 50 spectators show up," Wood said as he noticed only a handful of people were there during the weigh-in portion of the competition.

Pat Gollen, president of the Clark Fork Bass Anglers, also noticed the effects COVID-19 had on this year's competition. "Because of social distancing, spectator numbers are down this year," Gollen stated. "We also only had 36 boats competing this year. Last year we had 41. So the coronavirus has definitely slowed things down for us."

Jason Crone and Drew Forster won first-place in the competition with a grand total of 31.04 pounds. The duo won the $1,500 and also received a commemorative plaque and $144 cash prize for catching the biggest fish in the competition at 5.56 pounds.

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Team McCracken and McCracken won second place with a total of 27.92 pounds and took home $1,200. Fisher and Wood placed third with a total weigh-in of 27.67 pounds and took home $900. Fourth place went to Spindler and Blair, who won $550 with a total weigh-in of 27.24 pounds. Stamper and Gollen took home the fifth-place prize of $300 with a total weigh-in of 26.40 pounds. The following 10 competitors who placed all received various prizes that included gift certificates, batteries and fishing poles.

Miriah Kardelis

DAY'S END - Boats reach the dock at Lakeside Resort in Trout Creek for the final weigh-in of the tournament.


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