State bluegill championship set

Lake Metigoshe host location

Kim Fundingsland/MDN An ice fisherman watches his electronics while jigging for bluegills at Lake Metigoshe.

BOTTINEAU – The winner will be crowned the state’s champion bluegill fisherman. That honor will be on the line March 2 at Lake Metigoshe.

“Usually we’ve held it in the first weekend in January but it has been so cold,” said Trudy Marum, Chamber of Commerce director. “The first weekend in March should serve us better as far as the weather goes and there is more daylight.”

The response to the switch in dates appears to be a favorable one based on fishermen response. Early entries have already surpassed the total number of teams, 25, that fished the tournament a year ago and there’s still more than a month for anglers to make plans to participate.

The entry fee is $150 per team. A “team” can be one or two fishermen with a 10 bluegill limit. Fishermen can fish in the open or use soft-sided ice shelters. No permanent ice houses will be allowed. Both the north and south sections of Lake Metigoshe will be open to fishing. Snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles will be permitted.

Payout for the bluegill championship is based on 75 percent of the entry fees from the total number of teams entered. The top three places will be awarded cash prizes with the winning team named North Dakota Bluegill Champion for 2019.

Headquarters for the championship will be at Lake Metigoshe State Park. All teams fishing the championship will enter onto the ice at the park’s boat ramp.

“There is much more parking there than at the narrows,” said Marum. “The weigh-in will be at 4 p.m. that Saturday at the state park dining hall.”

Previous tournaments held at the narrows, a strip of land separating north and south Lake Metigoshe, had resulted in traffic congestion.

Angling competition will begin with the first group of fishermen allowed on the ice at 6:30 a.m. March 2. Fishing hours will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. A rules meeting is scheduled at Lake Metigoshe State Park the Friday prior to the event.

The Bottineau Chamber of Commerce is encouraging businesses to get involved as well.

“Any business can sponsor or enter a team,” explained Marum. “We like to see fishermen wearing hats or sweatshirts from businesses.”

Anyone interested in participating in the tournament should contact Marum at the Chamber of Commerce, 228-3849, or access a link on the chamber’s Facebook page to register.

Lake Metigoshe has been a popular venue for ice fishing events for several years. It has become well known as one of the best bluegill fisheries in the state. Other popular species sought by anglers at Lake Metigoshe include crappie, perch, walleye and northern pike. Lake Metigoshe is located approximately 11 miles north of Bottineau. A portion of the lake extends into Canada.