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Fishing tournament lures more than 500 to West Graham Lake

Event is a fundraiser for the Heron Lake Young Men's Club.

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More than 530 people registered for the 14th annual Heron Lake Young Men's Club fishing tournament last Saturday on West Graham Lake near Kinbrae.
Submitted photo

HERON LAKE — In the largest turnout since the Heron Lake Young Men’s Club began hosting a fishing tournament on West Graham Lake near Kinbrae, 534 people registered to fish in last Saturday’s tournament.

This was the 14th annual event, according to Joe Liepold, one of the group’s board members. The competition awards money and prizes to the top five individuals in each class — the largest panfish, walleye and northern pike. At the end of the day, 27 fish were caught and weighed, including 22 panfish and five walleyes. The northern pike remained elusive during the entire contest.

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Bill Reetz, Rushmore (left), caught a nice crappie during the tournament.
Submitted photo

“The main point of the tournament is to sell our remaining raffle tickets that we have,” Liepold said. “Those are the funds we use to support the community with.”

With that goal in mind, the tourney was a success, with all 5,000 raffle tickets sold. While not all of the receipts are counted for last weekend’s tournament, Liepold said last year they raised $12,000 for local youth activities, which the Heron Lake Young Men’s Club divided and donated to 23 different organizations.

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This unidentified fisherman also reeled in a nice crappie.
Submitted photo

The largest panfish registered on Saturday was 1.34 pounds (species unspecified), while the largest walleye came in at 4.27 pounds.

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As part of the event, 35 prizes were given away to those who registered for the tournament, with the grand prize — an Ice Castle Honey Hole — won by Kevin Ahrens of Jackson.

Among the 35 prize winners were people from throughout southwest Minnesota, with one winner from the Twin Cities, and another from LeCenter.

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A drone image of West Graham Lake during the Feb. 12 fishing tournament.
Submitted photo
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