Crow Lake Classic makes return

?After a one-year hiatus, the Crow Lake Classic took place again this past weekend in Nestor Falls.
The original event ran for six years before taking a year off in 2010. But this past spring, Kiley Hanson grabbed the bull by the horns and got the ball rolling to make the event happen again in 2011.
This year, the tournament was based out of Hanson’s Wilderness Resort on the shores of Crow Lake and it received awesome support from the community of Nestor Falls.
I fished the tournament the first two years it took place, so it had been a while since I had fished Crow Lake.
I fished the tournament this year with my good buddy, Marty Hanson. He and I are friends from high school but we stay in touch and see each other quite often. This weekend was a good chance to get to spend a little time together in the boat.
My schedule has been crazy the past few weeks, so I didn’t get much of a chance to pre-fish other than getting out for about an hour Thursday afternoon before the tournament started.
I basically made sure I had a route saved on my GPS so that I could get back to the area I fished years ago.
?As it turns out, I should have made the effort to get a little bit more time in to pre-fish because our results in the tournament ended up being kind of marginal.
The weather on Day 1 was pretty nice—a little bit windy but the sun shone all day. In the end, the Whitefish Bay team of Dan Kelly and Dan Joseph grabbed the lead with a 14.86-pound catch, which turned out to be the largest of the two-day tournament.
Kelly has won this tournament before, among several others across the region over the years, so it was not looking good for the rest of the field after Day 1.
In these multiple day events, however, anything can happen. And after Kelly and Joseph brought in just 9.14 pounds on Day 2, it opened the door for everyone else.
Two teams were able to step into the lead and actually tied for first place. The Nestor Falls duo of Steve Hanson and Jamie Krukoski brought in 13.76 pounds on Day 2 for a two-day total of 24.34 pounds to win the tournament.
Their higher single-day catch of 13.76, the largest of Day 2, was the tie-breaker over the Whitefish Bay team of Thomas White and Gavin Cowley, who also had a two-day total of 24.34 pounds.
Hanson and Krukoski noted they caught their big fish from weed lines in 10 feet of water with tube jigs and topwater baits.
The team of Thatcher Haggberg and Jim Ducharme caught the big bass of the tournament on Day 1—a 4.40-pound smallmouth—while White and Cowley had the big fish of Day 2 (4.18 pounds).
The tournament was a lot of fun for the teams that participated and I think it has a bright future ahead. The payout was excellent (more than 100 percent) due to all the excellent sponsor support and Crow Lake is a beautiful body of water.
Although the bass are not as big as they are in Lake of the Woods or Rainy, there is no shortage of fish—we caught more than 30 smallmouths each day.
Marty and I learned quite a bit over the weekend, and will be back next year to try again!

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