The angling team of Mike Johnson and James Eischen took first place in the Walt Winskowski Memorial Fishing Tournament last weekend on Straight Lake in Osage.

The weather Saturday, June 1 was ideal for outdoor fun, like the annual sporting event hosted for the 36th year by the Osage Lions Club.

The event also included a children's fishing derby and wrapped up with a barbecue dinner at Osage Lions Park.

Club member Jerry Gordon, who organized the tournament in many previous years, said, "This year we have at least one guy that's fished every year in the tournament," in addition to many other fishermen who are tournament regulars.

Prize winners

Two-person fishing teams took home cash prizes totaling $3,470, divided as follows: first place, Mike Johnson and James Eischens, $1,000; second, Zach Kimball and Kole Jordan, $550; third, Kenny Lymburner and Tom Lymburner, $425; fourth, Brad Smith and Whitey Hansen, $325; fifth, Scott Yliniemi and Dannon Yliniemi, $300; sixth, Scotty Weaver and Kaleb Weaver, $250; seventh, Terry Mitchell and Garret Haglin, $200; eighth, Nate Sitz and Jim Clarey, $150; ninth, Dan Schultz and Tim Monson, $150; and tenth, Pam Hauber and Tony Boyd, $120.

In addition, $50 prizes went to the following: largest bass, Matt Rousu and Bob Meier, 3.42 pounds; largest pike, Scotty Weaver and Kaleb Weaver, 7.92 pounds; largest walleye, Brad Smith and Whitey Hansen, 5.39 pounds; and most pounds of fish weighed by noon, Pam Hauber and Tony Boyd, 15.55 pounds.

Trophies went to the first place team and the largest walleye team. Haley Crandall, 8, won the children's tournament. Prize drawings were also awarded for both children and adult anglers.

The tournament was a catch and release event, encouraging anglers to weigh their catch early so they could be released alive.

Benefit to community

"It's a great club activity," said Gordon. "Club members get involved in all kinds of things, in terms of running the tournament. And then, it's a fundraiser."

Funds raised by the tournament support scholarships for local students. Six scholarships were awarded this year to Park Rapids High School graduates from the Osage area, Gordon said.

Osage Lions Club fundraisers, also including Colorado peach sales in Osage and Park Rapids, support the maintenance of a swimming beach Straight Lake, a rest area on State Hwy. 34, and the park located on Washington Drive.

The park, in turn, has a picnic shelter with running water and restrooms, a softball field, playground equipment, log benches and a mile-long walking trail. This summer, the park will also host horse dressage and jumping competitions, and the club is discussing adding a nine-hole disc golf course and a zip line.