Island Lake ALS fishing tournament still has openings
The in-person contest is June 3, or fish anywhere and submit entries on an app.
DULUTH — The 28th annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament will be June 3 both in person on Island Lake and also, with fish caught reported virtually through an app, anywhere else you want to fish.
The first tournament was held in 1995 and raised $40,000 to battle ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an always-fatal progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It's commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Since that first year, the tournament has raised more than $4 million. The 2022 event raised a new record $265,000, topping the $244,000 raised in 2017. All proceeds go to assist individuals living with ALS and to research a cause and cure.
The tournament features two separate competitions: one with teams fishing on Island Lake and a virtual “open” competition where anglers can fish from anywhere.
Both competitions will be entirely catch-photo-and-release formats with length determining the winner using the FishDonkey tournament app.
The live event starts with registration and dinner June 2 at the Wells Field House at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Fishing flights begin at 7 a.m. June 3. The awards dinner and auctions are that night at the field house.
The entry fee is $250 per angler for the Island Lake event and $200 for the virtual event. Anglers are encouraged to raise their entry fees, and then go beyond, by soliciting donations. The top money-raisers among entrants have already topped $6,000.
“We are on pace for another record year of fundraising thanks to our anglers,” said Blake Kolquist, chairman of the tournament. “Every year we push our anglers harder, and every year they come back stronger and with more passion to make a difference in the lives of those fighting ALS.”
This year tournament organizers are partnering with Courage Kenny Northland's adaptive sports program to invite several people who are battling ALS to fish during the event with the use of specialized gear such as wheelchair-accessible pontoon boats and motorized fishing reels.
Preregistration is required for either the remote or Island Lake options. For more information or to register, go to kolartoyotafishing.com .
The fishing tournament is organized by Never Surrender, the Duluth-based group that also operates the Black Woods Blizzard Tour snowmobile rally in winter and the new Iron Rage bike ride called the Tomassoni Tour, both also aimed at raising money to battle ALS. For more information, go to neversurrenderinc.org .