by Bret Amundson
It’s the ultimate combination of hunting and fishing. It provides a good service and a good time. It’s bowfishing and it’s becoming more and more popular.
Carp are a nuisance. Destroying vegetation, eating the eggs of popular game fish and clogging up the shallows in lakes where they’ve become common. Taking them out with a stick and string is not only a challenge, but an activity that will put a smile on a lake association member’s face.
With the recent announcement of bighead carp near Stillwater, and the closure of the St Anthony Falls Dam, keeping invasive carp out of as many of our lakes, rivers and streams as possible is becoming more and more critical. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy bowfishing as much as the next guy, but I’d just as soon not have carp swimming in all our waters.
Bowfishing tournaments are also becoming more popular. They’re a way to clean a lot of fish out while offering up cash and prizes to the successful bow-anglers with the heaviest barrels. A new tournament in Douglas County takes place this weekend and is unique considering how it will sell the fish and raise money for archery in the schools programs.
“The guys from the Brandon Fin and Feather Club contacted me,” explained Durk Stark on this week’s Minnesota Sporting Journal Radio Show. “They wanted to do a county-wide tournament that involved several different sportman’s groups…[and] have fun, get rid of carp as well as raise some money to help support the local archery in schools programs. Osakis has a big program, Alexandria does and now Brandon is working on one as well.”
Douglas County is dotted with lakes and crisscrossed with streams and creeks and many of them have carp.
“Where we live there’s so many lakes [that have carp] that it’s nice to clean them up,” Stark continued. “The lake associations are really excited about it, in fact several of them gave money to help.”
You can bowfish any lake in Douglas County with a public access, Saturday June 13th. Check in and registration is from 3 – 7pm Saturday at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. There is a 7pm rules/safety meeting and the boats will depart at 8pm. The first in line to check in is the first boat that gets to leave! The weigh-in is from 7a – 9a at the Fairgrounds. Registration is $90 the day of the tournament with 100% payback. A lot of lake associations are on board to get you to fish their lakes as well.
So how do you raise money for the archery in schools programs?
“We are very fortunate that there is a corporation that buys the rough fish from us for 15 cents a pound,” Stark explained. “What they do is cut them up and they have a snapping turtle farm that they feed them [with the fish].”
They’re hoping for 10,000 pounds of carp to come out of Douglas County Lakes. With the expected registration of 40 boats, that’s only 250 pounds of carp for the 3 shooters that each boat can take.
“As you know if you get a few guys on a specific area, you can clean up on fish pretty quick, “Stark says laughing. “I think a 10-pound carp has about 5 million eggs, so for every female we can get out of there, it’s saving quite a bit of eggs coming into our system.”
Are bowfishermen expected to see a lot of carp spawning this weekend?
“We saw it early right around Memorial Day when it warmed up, but then it kinda went flat as it’s been pretty cold around here so the fish haven’t been nearly as active. So we should see quite a bit of [activity] this weekend.”
Learn more about the tournament here. Or call Dana 320-766-0814, Durk 320-766-9392