Masters Walleye Circuit fishing tournament coming to Hastings
Next weekend, the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit fishing tournament here.
It’s the first of what Greg Stotko, one of the event organizers, hopes will be an annual event in Hastings, and one that will bring more tourism to the city in the early part of the year, he said. He suspected many anglers are already in town, pre-fishing the river to get ready for the tournament.
The idea is one that’s been bouncing around for the past few years, Stotko said. A fishing tournament was one way to bring more people into Hastings and bring extra revenue to local businesses. Hastings’ location along the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers was perfect because of the population and variety of fish here.
“The two rivers together are one of the best fisheries in the country,” Stotko said.
Not only is the fishing good, but the Mississippi is open year-round, so the tournament could be held before the state fishing opener, which is May 10.
“It seemed like a good fit, something that would benefit the community,” said Michelle Jacobs, president of the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.
The chamber worked with Cabela's to bring the tournament to Hastings.
Organizers worked with a professional fisherman out of Red Wing who recommended Hastings work with the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit, Stotko said. Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit is a professionally-run tournament circuit that has been held since 1984.
The event will have a youth fishing clinic as well as the main fishing event. Youth in preschool through eighth grade will be able to participate in free clinic Friday afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. A Saturday morning clinic has been rescheduled for Rivertown Days. Cabela’s will be giving away a limited number of fishing rods and reels as well as teaching kids fishing techniques at the clinic.
A youth fishing tournament was also planned, but has been rescheduled for Rivertown Days due to recent rainy weather and high water levels on Lake Rebecca.
For the main event, the public can watch fishermen get into the water early in the morning both days. A previously planned pancake breakfast has been cancelled due to the cold weather.
Fishermen will return to Jaycee Park by 3 p.m. both days for weigh-ins until 4:30 p.m., where their catches will be weighed and able to be seen by the public before they’re released back into the river.
Registration for the Masters Walleye Circuit tournament has closed. More information about the tournament can be found online at http://masterswalleyecircuit.com.
Volunteers are still needed to help out with the tournament. Jacobs said that early-birds are especially needed to help with boat launches from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. Some volunteer positions are still available for later in the day as well. Those interested in volunteering should contact the Chamber at 651-437-6775.