Illinois high school bass fishing finals postponed due to high water at Carlyle Lake

The author's fishing bucket list includes catching a lunker largemouth.

Young bass anglers in Illinois are getting a good education on things old bass anglers in Illinois already know: Spring fishing is a “you against Mother Nature” battle.

And she always wins.

With that advice, news that was somewhat expected comes from the Illinois High School Association: The 2017 IHSA Bass Fishing State Finals Tournament, scheduled for May 19-20 at Carlyle Lake, has been postponed due to potentially dangerous water levels.

The finals will be rescheduled to unfold in Carlyle later this spring, according to the IHSA Board of Directors, which made the decision Wednesday to postpone the finals based upon discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“We cannot hold the tournament as scheduled on May 19 and 20 due to safety concerns,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “We hope to make a decision on the new state final date as soon as possible so that Carlyle and the qualifying schools can plan accordingly. We obviously can’t control the weather, but we can control safety, and that will always be paramount in our decision-making.”

This year’s sectional round was hit by rain, wind and high water – half of the 22 tournaments were postponed from the original date of May 5 to May 8.

The IHSA was forced to postpone the state final tournament in 2011 and 2013 when southern Illinois was hit by a series of storms that produced high water levels. At that time, the tournament was conducted in early May, but was later moved back two weeks, in part to help with weather-related situations.

“This is a unique tournament with unique obstacles,” said Kurt Gibson, IHSA associate executive director and bass fishing administrator. “Carlyle Lake has begun to release water to lower its levels, so we think we will have a new date scheduled soon. We have navigated similar situations in the past and managed to conduct great state final tournaments. I have no doubt that will happen again in the coming weeks.”

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