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First Annual Battle of the Pines Fishing Tournament

A new event for fisherman is planned for the busy vacation month of June. The first annual Battle of the Pines Fishing Tournament is sure to bolster the week of fun between the Ottertail Wild Iron Truck and Tractor Pull and Turtle Fest.

The tournament is scheduled for June 24-26.

"Talk around the area between anglers and the Perham Sportsman's Club was that there was a need for a new fishing tournament," Organizer Craig Swanson said. "We took it a step further and made it a two-day tournament on the best two lakes around."

Both Big and Little Pine Lakes will be used to host the tournament with anglers fishing one lake per day. According to Swanson, there are spots for 100 boats and the committee has been receiving entrants daily. Team launching numbers, the order of which boats may enter the lake on the mornings of the tournament, are issued to entrants in the order they are received.

Early bird gets the worm. Each lake will host 50 boats per day of the tournament.

The $300 entry fee per team must accompany a completed and signed entry form. Entry forms can be picked up at Gene's Sport Shop or the Chamber of Commerce in Perham.

They can also be printed off the web at Click on the Perham Sportsman's Club link listed under Community on the homepage.

With 100 boats to load into the water the Sportsman's Club has taken precautions to get both the boats in the water in a timely fashion and with as little strain on the environment as possible.

"We don't want to clog the landings," Swanson said. "We will back boats in and shuttle vehicles back."

The need to be quick is not all for the benefit of contestants. Swanson expressed concern for both controlling invasive species and the typical summer weekend of residents of both lakes.

"We aim to keep the peace with lake residents," he said.

Home base for the tournament will be at the Pioneer Grounds. Cookouts sponsored by the East Otter Tail Historical Society will be held there, along with the tournament rankings board. A pre-tournament Calcutta will be held at the The Cactus Sports Bar and Grill.

The Sportsman's Club has expanded the payouts, harkening back to the day when most tourneys paid to the 16th place. The Battle of the Pines will be doing just that. Prizes range from $300 for 16th up to $3000 for the top spot.

"That is a very positive thing about our tourney," Swanson said.

It is going to take quite a few fish to take top prize. According to Department of Natural Resources regulations, only two fish over 26 inches can be caught for the entire tournament. Any angler who finds a hole of big fish will have to decide to keep the big one or set it loose in pursuit of one larger.

"That's why I think it's going to be a fun tournament," said Swanson. "You're going to have to catch a bunch."

The remainder of fish caught must be less than 18 inches.

The Battle of the Pines is sure to be a challenge to any team. Swanson also issued a challenge to those who are on the fence about entering.

"Everyone should just take off work and go fishing," Swanson said.

Boats will start loading at 6 a.m. both days with fishing beginning at 8 a.m.

The Perham Sportsman's Club seeks to restore the opportunity for the outdoor experience that is equal to our fondest memories while enhancing the social aspects of the outdoor experiences we cherish today.

The first Battle of the Pines has a distinct opportunity to prove just that.

For more information, call Dave 218-371-7273, Nick 218-346-3355 or Craig 612-414-3147.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

(218) 844-1442