There’ve been rumblings about this for several weeks now, but the official word came out today when the Chamber of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks announced the Cats Incredible Catfish Tournament will be a Minnesota-only event in 2012.
That means the stretch of river north of the Riverside Dam won’t be within tournament boundaries because the ramp to access that portion of the Red River is in North Dakota. Previously, the river downstream from Riverside Dam to the East Grand Forks Rod and Gun Club several miles north was within tournament boundaries.
With the change, all teams fishing the tournament will launch from the LaFave Park boat ramp in East Grand Forks. The tournament also will be reduced to 125 two-person teams instead of 150 two-person teams.
The change isn’t going to be popular with many Cats Incredible anglers who prefer fishing north during the tournament. But because of new invasive species laws in both states that prohibit the transport of live fish across state lines – even if they’re from the same body of water – organizers didn’t have many options.
Here’s the news release announcing the change as it appears in this month’s issue of The Voice, the Chamber’s official newsletter:
Catfish Days Makes Changes
Responding to new invasive species laws in both states the CATS Incredible fishing yournament will be an all Minnesota tournament with all teams launching from LaFave Park in East Grand Forks, MN in 2012. The field will also be reduced to from 150 teams to 125 teams. In the past few years 50 teams launched from the ND ramp near The ND Mill in Grand Forks and 100 teams launched from LaFave Park in East Grand Forks. Regulations in both states now prohibit fish transportation across state lines despite being released into the same body of water.
The committee respects and takes the invasive species threat very seriously and decided to make the changes so the tournament can be a role model. The new approach will allow the committee to put all of its focus on the LaFave Landing site, streamline the logistics of the tournament and continue the long tradition of offering the best Catfish tournament anywhere.
The committee also welcomes back two former chairmen of the tournament as 2012 cochairs – Tom Stennes and Tom McDonald. Both have chaired the tournament individually multiple times and everyone involved in the tournament is excited about the 2012 event. The committee is also excited to have Cabalas back for its 10th year as tournament sponsor.