Carlyle Lake host for state bass final
IHSA fishing info
Click here for more information on the first Illinois High School Association prep bass fishing tournament.
The country’s first high school bass fishing champion will be crowned in southern Illinois.
The Illinois High School Association has selected massive Carlyle Lake as host site for its first prep bass championship ahead of finalists that included Peoria and the Illinois River, Lake Shelbyville and Lake Springfield.
“We had three other strong bids in the running for this event, but Carlyle managed to separate itself from the field,” said Dave Gannaway, an IHSA assistant executive director in charge of bass fishing. “Their entire community is involved in this event and there will be a number of activities throughout the weekend that will make this a first-class state final.”
The country’s first prep bass tournament is scheduled for May 8-9. Through Wednesday, 96 schools had signed up to participate including Woodruff, Peoria Christian, Canton, East Peoria, Elmwood, Illini Bluffs, Deer Creek-Mackinaw, Metamora, Morton and Washington. Schools have until Nov. 1 to register.
The Peoria bid had prep anglers launching from Detweiller Marina and fishing the Illinois River. From there the weigh-in would have shifted indoors to the Civic Center according to Chad Mentzer, sports sales manager for the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Mentzer said the abundance of jumping Asian carp on the Illinois River may have hurt Peoria’s bid. Banner Marsh was also considered but presented logistical problems in terms of a weigh-in at the Civic Center.
“For the first three years I think they were looking to go south to build the tournament,” Mentzer said. “We’ll go after it again in three years when the bids come up again.”
Early in the selection process Lake Springfield was thought to be a front-runner thanks to its central location and abundant bass population. But sources say the IHSA encountered problems securing fishing rights from several lakeside dock owners.
No such problem exists at Carlyle, a 26,000-acre flood control reservoir in southern Illinois that is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Carlyle is Illinois’ largest lake and is located 50 minutes east of St. Louis.
“We hope to make Carlyle the bass fishing capital of Illinois,” said Bill Gruen, Carlyle city administrator. “We were extremely excited when we heard that we had received the bid to host the IHSA Bass Fishing State Finals. A lot of people made a commitment to this event and put a lot of time into our bid, so there is excitement in every corner of our community today.”
Carlyle, a city of over 3,000 people, has over 11,000 acres of land surrounding its lake. Carlyle Lake averages 3,260 pounds of fish per water-acre, making it one of the most productive fishing areas in the state.
The IHSA became the first high school state association in the country to sponsor a bass fishing tournament when the IHSA Board of Directors voted to approve the Terms and Conditions for the Bass Fishing State Series on June 9, 2008. The IHSA recently announced that Plano Molding Company, a fishing supply company located in Plano, Illinois, will join Country Insurance as a title sponsor of the activity.