Youth anglers from the Minnetonka fishing team took the top two places and tied for third in one of the state’s premier high school fishing tournaments held Sunday on Lake Mille Lacs.
The duo of Mitchell McGannon of Eden Prairie and Jon Olmsted of Deephaven won the tournament against 92 other teams by catching five bass weighing 22 pounds, 1 ounce. An even larger high school bass fishing tournament begins Friday on Lake Minnetonka between 150 teams.
Chris Wedes, coach of the Minnetonka club team, said participation in high school-level fishing contests continues to surge and membership on his team has climbed to 150. An attempt to align the sport with the Minnesota State High School League is still alive, Wedes said, but currently is on hold and no votes are scheduled. Until sanctioning is approved, high school championship honors will continue to be awarded by various independent youth fishing circuits.
Sunday’s open competition on Mille Lacs, for instance, was sponsored by The Bass Federation and Fishing League Worldwide. It was dubbed the TBF/FLW High School Fishing Minnesota State Championship and the top 10 percent of finishers qualified to advance to the 2019 “High School Fishing National Championship” in a state to be determined.
Wedes said McGannon and Olmsted won Sunday’s competition by fishing over bass beds. Second-place finishers Tommy Parker and Jak Kamrowski, also of Minnetonka, hauled in their catch on top-water lures during a calm period before a storm, the coach said. Another Minnetonka team tied for third in the tourney while teams from the Brainerd Warriors tied for third and took fifth place.
“The fishing was unbelievable on Mille Lacs,” Wedes said.
This weekend’s high school-age fishing tournament on Lake Minnetonka is the first of five such competitions hosted by a new group called the Student Angler Tournament Trail.
The events are for high school students and junior anglers in grades 6, 7 and 8. The new circuit is being organized and backed primarily by Rapala and Lund boats, Wedes said.