Big Fish Highlights Douglas County’s Third Bowfishing Challenge – Alexandria Echo Press

The third annual Douglas County Bowfishing Challenge drew about the same number of boats as last year as teams hit waters across the county in perfect conditions overnight of June 10.

Thunderstorms arrived in the area on Sunday morning, but tournament organizer Durk Stark said the boats were out of the water when they hit.

“The conditions were perfect,” Stark said. “It was calm. Most of the fish were in deeper water, and it was a lot of big fish.”

The three-person team of Connor Lausch, Joe Lorentz and Dylan Satter from near Fergus Falls repeated as champions as the team with the most fish killed.

This trio landed 92 fish in the 2016 tournament. They did even better this year as they shot 119 raw fish to win the top prize. They also won the prize for darting the smallest fish at 0.3 pounds.

The top three spots were awarded to the teams that had the three largest fish by weight. Keith Imholte, Ben Leither and Sam Thompson won first prize with a three-fish weight of 87.02 pounds.

Stark said 20 teams started the tournament. Those who participated filled many barrels with raw fish from area lakes as 731 fish totaling over 5,000 pounds were harvested.

“Two of the teams had boat issues, so we only had 18 teams finish,” Stark said, “but we shot two and a half tons of fish.”

The biggest fish of the night weighed in at 35.73 pounds, shot by Zach Saxton of Parkers Prairie.

“There were a lot of fish over 30 pounds,” Stark said. “It was just crazy.”

The tournament attracted 18 boats a year ago with teams of up to three. The event is limited to 50 boats, so organizers would like to see even more teams participate in an attempt to eliminate more rough fish and raise funds for regional school archery programs.

“Of course we would like more boats,” Stark said. “The Scheels and Cabelas teams didn’t show up but the other teams had a great time and some of the teams that were there the first year came back and were so happy to be back after missing it last year . We’ve had a lot of good feedback.”

The entry fee money goes to the best teams on the field.

The organizers received a check for $720 from the sale of the fish to Bio Corporation in Alexandria. This money, along with money from other donations, will go to school archery programs in Alexandria, Brandon-Evansville and Osakis.


TOP FOUR TEAMS – First – Connor Lausch, Joe Lorentz, Dylan Satter, 119 fish; Second – Dominic Goodale, Tyler Starry, 71 fish; Third – Keith Imholte, Ben Leither, Sam Thompson, 69 fish; Fourth – Wayne Claasen, Monte Mounsdon, 66 fish

BRENTON BIG THREE (Top three fish by weight) – First – Imholte, Leither, Thompson – 87.02 lbs; Second – Sam Graham, Jason Piekarski, Shane Schultz – 82.17 pounds; Third – Goodale, Starry – 79.26 lbs.

Three of the biggest fish in the Douglas County Bowfishing Challenge. The top fish caught in the tournament weighed in at 35.73 pounds and was brought down by Zach Saxton of Parkers Prairie. (photo sent)

Earnest A. Martinez