Minnesota teens fight invasive species

The Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Youth State Tournament of Champions (TOC) is not just a fishing tournament; the event includes a conservation project as well.

Last summer’s event, June 24, 2011, incorporated a boat wash to remove invasive species from fishing boats, as well as a lesson for the youth on the subject. Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources taught a session about the impacts of invasive species in our lakes and rivers, as well as how to help prevent the spread of such species. The educational program focused on Eurasian milfoil, zebra mussels and the spiny water flea.

After learning about the nuisance species, the youth put all the boats that were a part of the tournament through the Boat Wash Station to remove the threat of spreading any invasive species to or from Lake Minnetonka.

The tournament itself was a win for many. The top competitors were Cason Hiers in the 11- to 14-year-old age group with a weight of 9.98 pounds and Nathan Molitor in the 15- to 18-year-old age group with a weight of 11.74 pounds. Both went on to compete at the 2011 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Northern Divisional Junior Championship. Molitor also wont the Top Hook award, which is presented to the angler who has the largest weight for a five-fish limit.

Other winners included Michaela Anderson and Keenan Reed, who won Sport Person of the year for their age division. Anderson serves as a mentor to an at-risk child, has taken the governor of Minnesota on guided fishing trips and is a past State Fishing Champion. Reed, also a past State Fishing Champion, teaches children to fish at multiple events and provides fishing books to inner-city youth reading classes.

In the TOC Team Awards, the Bassin Boys took first place, followed by the Gopher Club and the Bassinators.

Read more about the TOC in the Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Nation’s full report here.