Not a whole lot of info on it out there, so I reached out to Jason Bahr (executive director of SATT) to pick his brain on a few more details. Here’s the Q&A:
Q: High school bass tourneys have been successful, why did it take so long for a walleye event?
> A lot of high school tournaments have qualifiers in which you would travel to another state to fish a championship and bass are really the only freshwater fish that allows that because they are in every state. But let’s face it, a lot of the guys who have been fishing for a while in MN are walleye guys…it’s kinda funny because boat captains have been asking us for years when we were gonna have a walleye event. A lot of these young anglers are really talented with electronics, so this will be a fun event to watch. I believe you’ll see many of these high school anglers on the pro circuits in a few years, including walleye circuits.
Q: The bite on Mille Lacs should be extra good with the late ice-out…what are you expecting for results?
> I agree that the bite is going to be fantastic, that’s why we went to Mille Lacs in early June. The anglers should be able to catch ’em on rocks, sand, gravel and mud…which will really make the lake fish big. They also should be able to catch ’em a variety of ways: live bait or artificial. Literally you could probably throw a piece of wood at one and catch it that time of year.
Q: Where is this all taking place at?
> The rules meeting will be at the Red Door Resort, they will be able to accommodate us. The night of the rules meeting, the high school anglers will get to listen to Tony Roach talk about Mille Lacs…it will be a real treat for the anglers and boat captains alike. As far as the actual derby goes – because we are on an app – boats are allowed to take off from any ramp, which certainly has its benefits on Mille Lacs.
Q: How do you have a tournament on Mille Lacs if you’re not allowed to keep any?
> That’s the great part of catch, record and immediately release. The anglers will catch one, take a picture with an app that timestamps the pic, and then they upload it into the Classic Bass Reel LiveWell app. The fish are measured in inches and the app converts it to lbs. The results are live. It’s really beneficial for a couple reasons: The fish get immediately released and the anglers’ friends and families can watch the app to see live results as they happen no matter where they are at. [Yes, they have a DNR permit].
Q: What are some of the prizes the kiddos can win?
> We have some awesome prizes, thanks to some awesome sponsors! Lund Boats has been behind us since the very beginning, that’s one of the reasons we are so excited for a walleye event…my first experience like many others fishing for walleyes was in a Lund. It’s almost tradition and because of that relationship there will be some cash prizes as well as some scholarships.
> Also, Rapala, same thing, I wonder how many first walleyes or walleyes in general have been caught on a #5 Shad Rap or a #11 Original Floater? At this derby, their will be fish caught on Shad Raps, Jigging Raps, Rippin’ Raps, Moontails, Bucktails, Moon Eyes, you name it. Rumor is that there will be some extra prizes if you catch the lunker or the lunker bag on a Rapala! We will also have some great prizes from Shimano, Blackfish and Scheels.
Q: How do kids register? Do you have to be from MN to fish the event?? How much does it cost???
> The cost is $20 per angler and you do not have to be from MN. Registration will open Thurs, April 21 at 6pm. We are limited to 150 boats…that being said our bass tournaments generally fill 200 boats in less than 20 minutes, so the recommendation is to get on right at 6 and register. The website is www.SATT.org you can also find us on Facebook for more info. We would love to see high school anglers from all over the Midwest come partake, especially the guys and gals that have not had the interest in bass derbies yet.
Awesome – thanks for the info, Jason!