Ethan Soland has a season lined up, now he is looking for anglers.
“It’s a chance to get outside and go with it,” said the third-year coach of the Fergus Falls fishing team.
The team will be gearing up this week for a late start to the 2020 high school fishing season. Soland is asking students from the prep ranks to sign up by June 19.
“Even if you signed up in March or April we need you to sign up again,” Soland posted on the team’s Facebook page.
There are 20 teams in the Heart O’ Lakes Fishing League and Fergus Falls is the defending champion.
“It’s basically made up of every school in our county and some in the neighboring counties,” Soland said.
There was still ice on the lakes in March when high school sports in Fergus Falls took a header. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz found it necessary to issue an emergency order to protect state residents from the COVID-19 virus. The order included closing schools and forfeiting the spring sports season. But Walz recently announced Phase 3 of his plan to put the state back on its feet
The 2019 Fergus Falls fishing team had a roster of 63 boys and girls.
“This will be a group for our kids to get involved in,” Soland said, admitting that at this point he would be happy to have 50 kids on his squad.
Mindful of the fact that Minnesota depends on fishing for part of its economy, Walz allowed angling to continue. With so many activities curtailed by the virus, the fishing gained a new found popularity and has seen a huge upsurge in fishing license sales over 2019.
The team has set a tentative schedule for meets. The first one is slated for July 9 with the second on July 22 and the third on Aug. 13. The championship is on tap Sept. 12. All dates are pending permits.
Due to the risks associated with COVID-19 transmission, all pods will remain the same as last year and food will not be served at the end of each event.
Soland has announced on the team’s Facebook page that during June the club will be holding a virtual contest for all student-anglers. Participants need to submit a photo of their catch on a measuring device in order to compete for a gift card in each of the five species – walleye, bass, panfish, crappie and northern pike. Those entering will only be eligible to win in two different species. The tiebreaker will be the first fish registered. If two 21-inch bass are entered with one being caught June 15 and the other June 22, the first entry will win.
Soland is asking his anglers to share their photos on the Fergus Falls fishing team’s Facebook page and send him a text. Anglers are asked to include one on the measuring device and one with the angler holding the fish.