Lake Bemidji has a well-deserved reputation as a good walleye fishery, but the eyes of the bass tournament world will be focused on the popular northern Minnesota lake next week during the 2017 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship.
Presented by Bass Pro Shops, the tournament gets under way Thursday, Aug. 10 and continues through Saturday, Aug. 12, and features 90 of the best collegiate student-angler teams from 59 universities across the country.
After three days of championship competition, the best team will be crowned national champions. Two Bemidji State University teams are among the tournament anglers. According to a news release from BSU, teams fishing the championship qualified during a series of five regional championships and a wild-card tournament held throughout 2017.
The Bassmaster festivities get underway Monday, Aug. 7 with a “Meet the Teams” celebration and benefit barbecue from 4 to 7 p.m. at the BSU Baseball Field parking lot on campus. All competing teams will be available for photos and autographs.
BSU and Visit Bemidji are joining B.A.S.S. — short for Bass Anglers Sportsman Society — as hosts of Bassmaster college championship.
“Both here at Bemidji State and across the community, people are truly proud and excited to welcome these collegiate anglers,” Scott Faust, director of communications and marketing for BSU, said in a news release. “It’s an honor to share the quality of our fishing and the beauty of northern Minnesota.”
Susan Goudge, executive director for Visit Bemidji, said the area’s scenic lakes and local amenities provide an ideal venue for the nation’s top college anglers.
“Lake Bemidji and area lakes are naturally connected to multiple waterways that include the Mississippi River,” Goudge said. “Bemidji, First City on the Mississippi, looks forward to welcoming the fishing teams, families and B.A.S.S. staff to our beautiful community. And, we’d like to wish the best of luck to all the young anglers.”
The Top 4 teams emerging from the Lake Bemidji tournament will advance to the College Bracket to be held Aug. 14-16 at an undisclosed location, according to a B.A.S.S. news release. At that point, team members will fish solo and be pitted against one another in a bracket-style, win-and-advance competition.
The eight anglers will vie for a berth into the 2018 Geico Bassmaster Classic presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, scheduled for South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, March 16-18.
Daily takeoffs for the upcoming Lake Bemidji championship will be at 6 a.m. from Paul Bunyan Park, and weigh-ins will occur back at the park each day beginning at 2:30 p.m. Fans and spectators can come out early and enjoy the Bassmaster Outdoors Expo featuring interactive sponsor displays and free giveaways beginning at 1 p.m.
All activities are free and open to the public.
For more information, go to Bassmaster.com/college.