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Junior fishing tourney is Sept. 9

Isaac and Gabie Johnson of Park Rapids won the 2011 Nevis Scholarship Fund Jr. Fishing Tournament and proudly hold the coveted Conset Cup. Space is still avilable for anglers 17 and under to enter this year's 16th annual event. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

The 16th annual Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament will take place Sunday, Sept. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Lake Belle Taine.

The one-of-a-kind format has two-person youth teams competing against one another in boats. Adults are not allowed to be in the participants' boats. The official registration and weigh station is situated at the Lake Belle Taine public access on Highway 34.

Community volunteers and members of the Park Rapids area bass and walleye leagues patrol the lake, ensuring safety and offer assistance with everything from starting the engine to figuring out what bait will catch a nice bass, northern or walleye, the three eligible species for the tournament. Volunteers will additionally taxi each team's fish via livewell to the weighmaster's scale.

Each pound of fish entered per team is worth 1-point and a 5-point bonus is given to any team who enters all three species.

One team member has to be 12-years-old or more and must possess a boater's safety certificate if operating an engine over 25-horsepower. Anglers 17 and younger are eligible to participate. All competitors must wear an approved personal floatation device at all times during the tournament and anglers age 16 or older are required to bring their current Minnesota fishing license.

The lake area eligible to fish includes all of Lake Belle Taine and its bays, up the Heartland Trail bridge.

Hot dogs, pop and water will be delivered to the young anglers by a pontoon equipped with a grill on board. Donuts and juice will also be available before the official start. North Country Bait has donated minnows and nightcrawlers for all of the participating teams.

Anglers who want to participate but don't have access to a boat can contact Tim Meyer from Beauty Bay Lodge at 218-652-3557. The resort has offered several boats for teams to use at no charge.

The champions of the 16th annual Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament will have their name added to the 15 from the past on the prestigious Conset Cup, a commemorative trophy named after an island on Lake Belle Taine.

Additionally, a top prize of $200 will be awarded to the first place team and cash prizes will be presented to the top five teams and the largest bass, northern pike and walleye respectively. Yet every participating angler leaves with some wonderful angling gear given away as door prizes, courtesy of a vast network of supporting businesses and community members.

Entry fee is $35 and proceeds from the tournament benefit the Nevis Dollars for Scholars Pam Lindow foundation, which provides annual scholarships to Nevis graduates pursuing a post-secondary degree.

Entry forms are available at the local bait shops and registration is allowed on the morning of the event. For more information about the tournament or to volunteer or donate to the Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament, contact Jason Durham at 218-252-2278.

The public is invited to stop by the weigh station throughout the day and for the awards ceremony at 3 p.m.