Pro crappie anglers from all over the country are in the Twin Cities this week for the Ouachita River Tournament of the American Crappie Trail. Anglers will be practicing this week on the river and fish in the actual competition on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13 & 14. Weigh-ins will be at Forsythe Park Boat Launch.
Nearly 80 teams will be competing for cash and prizes, including a new boat for the winning team. Registration and the pre-tournament banquet will be held at the West Monroe Convention Center Thursday with registration beginning at 5 p.m. and the tournament meeting set for 7 p.m.
Fishermen can have their pick of public waters from the Felsenthal dam to the north to the Columbia dam to the south.
The new fully rigged Ranger boat is just part of the $50,000 plus that goes to the winners of the American Crappie Trail tournament.
There’s points, too. The kind of points that add up to help pro crappie fishermen qualify for the ACT National Championship next spring.
To date, there are two local (318) team in the top twenty of that points race, but look for several teams to move up the totem pole after the river tournament. That’s Charlie Fitzgerald and Dwain Elliott in 17th place and Ken Myers and Mark Taylor currently in 18th place. And look for some new local faces to pop up in the top of the standings after this event, all of which will qualify for the championship.
The river is stable and clearing a bit now. It has leveled off just above 20 feet and without any sudden releases by the Corps of Engineers from areas to the north, it should stay that way through the tournament. The river was at nearly 45 feet just a few months ago with heavy flooding going into mid summer.