More than 2,000 anglers are expected to participate Saturday in Lake Minnetonka’s annual crappie contest, with $50,000 in prizes.
Hosted by outdoors television show Minnesota Bound and centered at Lord Fletcher’s in Spring Park, the one-day event has been undergoing a revival over the past four or five years after dwindling and even going dormant for a season or two.
“It could be several thousand people this year and the crappies are biting,” said Ron Schara, producer of Minnesota Bound.
According to the DNR, crappies and bluegills are abundant in Lake Minnetonka, enjoying consistent natural reproduction.
Schara said proceeds from the family-friendly fishing contest will go to Fishing for Life, a nonprofit organization that runs outdoors programs for kids, families, seniors, military veterans and others. This year’s grand prize — a 2016 Tracker boat, 25 horsepower Mercury motor and trailer — won’t go to the contestant with the biggest crappie.
Rather, to discourage cheating temptations, the grand prize will go to the registered contestant who catches a crappie on Lake Minnetonka that is closest or equal to a weight randomly selected ahead of time and kept secret. Last year, grand prize winner Richard Kalgren of Chanhassen’s crappie matched the secret weight of .84 pounds.
Other prizes will go to anglers who catch the biggest fish in the youth and adult divisions. Freebies will be handed out randomly. Fishing starts at 6 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. “It’s nothing too serious,’’ Schara said. “Catch a crappie and have it weighed.”
Entry fees are $5 in advance or $10 at the door. Only registered contestants will be eligible to have their catch weighed.