‘Roundup’ thins out invasive carp
By Gretchen Steele
Baldwin, Ill. — Bowfishers from five states braved tough bowfishing conditions during the second annual Kaskaskia River Rough Fish Round Up held at the Kaskaskia State Fish and Wildlife Area.
The tournament was hosted by DNR and was a sanctioned Bowfishing Association of America points tournament.
The $1,800 first-place prize money drew both experienced tournament teams and rookie first- time tournament shooters.
The winning team Redneck Rodeo was comprised of Levi Chandler, Jess Johnson, Kurt Lueders, and Nathan Stienkamp, all of Arnold, Missouri. Redneck Rodeo continued the tradition of first-time “rookie” tournament shooters taking first place, as they hauled in 83.1 pounds of silver carp.
Team Redneck Rodeo had an exceptional showing for their first ever tournament experience, as team member Levi Chandler also walked away with the award for the biggest fish overall and the biggest Asian carp.
The tournament also featured a women’s division and a small fish side contest. Team Back in Black from Sturgis, Kentucky, handily walked away with both of those awards.
Amy Pease won the women’s division, and Greg Jones won the small fish contest with an incredibly small .3-pound fish.
The walking division was won by Dave Mothershead, of Waterloo, with Bob Rutkowski, of Marissa, taking second, and Wesley Craig, of Sparta, taking third place.
Craig was also a winner in individual/walking division of the 2016 tournament.
At last year’s tournament, participants fought high water from the unusual summer flooding and very high temperatures. This year participants faced just the opposite problem and had to contend with low water levels. Despite the fact just two days before the tournament a severe storm had ripped through the tournament site, dropping old oak trees everywhere, including on the pavilion, DNR staff worked tirelessly to give participants a site with no hint of the previous days’ damage.
Despite heavy boat traffic on the river, 28 boat teams and six walking participants participated in the bowfishing event.
Fishing conditions were difficult, as water had just started to clear after two weeks of nearly daily thunderstorms sent lots of muddy runoff into the sloughs, creeks, and backwaters.
Despite the difficult conditions, large numbers of Asian carp were removed from the lower Kaskaskia, and the weights for the biggest 10 fish from each team were more than respectable for tough conditions.