Better late than never — considerably better as a matter of fact

The winning team at this year’s Shetek Area Sportsmen’s Association Walleye Fishing Tournament are Chris Rothmeier and Ryan Breisch (middle). They are flanked by Shetek Area Sportsmen’s Association members Jeff DeVos (left) and Steve Illg. Photo / Per Peterson

COVID-19 delayed the 29th annual Shetek Area Sportsmen’s Association fishing tournament on Lake Shetek and for once, Mother Nature obliged

By Per Peterson

COVID-19’s ripple effects hit the waters of Lake Shetek on Saturday, but in a good way.

The global pandemic pushed the 29th annual Shetek Area Sportsmen’s Association Walleye Fishing Tournament back a whole month this year, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of anglers or the tournament itself. And event organizers couldn’t have asked for better weather — quite a contrast to recent years when the tournament was held in May and went on under heavy rains, boat-shaking winds and temps that sometimes didn’t bother getting out of the 50s.

“We couldn’t let this fail going into our 30th year,”  said Shetek Area Sportsmen’s Association member Jeff DeVos. “We have Key Largo, the Lodge and Pelican Cove, so we could have 750 people out here and still do social distancing if people needed. If we cancelled it this year I think it would’ve destroyed us. We moved it back a month, hoping it would open things up, and we did open up. We couldn’t have it a month ago … and this might have worked better.”

Shetek Area Sportsmen’s Association President and tournament organizer Steve Illg said the tournament historically had been held in May because the fish are usually biting better than they would in June, when the tournament was originally held.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.