The IHSA Bass Fishing State Finals return to Carlyle Lake in Carlyle on Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, as 60 boats representing 55 high schools will take the water in hopes of becoming the eighth IHSA Bass Fishing State Champion.
The IHSA state final tournament was the first high school state championship in the country, and likely the world, when it debuted in 2009. The event continues to thrive thanks in part to the support of Country Financial, Plano, Frabill, FLW Fishing, Wired2Fish, and Mustang Survival.
Illinois’ largest man-made lake, Carlyle Lake, and its 26,000 acres of water feature 2,360 pounds of fish per water acre on a body of water that is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Meanwhile, the adjacent marina will also host the annual Bass Celebration (more info below).
The IHSA will also host its second unified tournament in conjunction with Special Olympics throughout the tournament this weekend, which will feature six high schools competing teams from Lexington, Huntley, Jacobs, Minooka, Pinckneyville, and two boats from Pontiac.
The 2015 tournament saw a bit of history unfold, as Ethan Jones of Father McGivney Catholic High School won the tournament single-handily. Jones was the first state final qualifier, and winner, to fish without a teammate, as he caught six total bass that combined to weigh over 19 pounds and six ounces. Lyons Township’s Zach Hughes is the only angler slated to fish alone this weekend, which also marks the school’s first ever state final appearance.
Nearly one-third of the state final field is making its first state final trip, as 23 first-time qualifiers will be on the water this weekend, including Anna-Jonesboro, Argenta-Oreana, Bartlett, Benet, Bismarck-Henning, Bloomington, Carterville, Centralia, Christopher, Downers Grove North, Du Quoin, Elmwood, Glenbard North, Lyons, Macomb, Mt. Olive, Newark, Pawnee, Pecatonica, Peoria High School, Plainfield Central, Riverdale, and Geneseo, who qualified two boats.
Geneseo is one of five schools to qualify two boats this weekend, as Highland, Joliet Central, St. Charles North and St. Laurence all accomplished the feat.
It should come as no surprise to see Highland on that list, as it remains the lone program in the state to qualify for state in all eight years. The Bulldogs have qualified two boats five times, including 2011 when they placed third and 2012 when they won the state championship. Grant High School owns the second-best streak, as the Bulldogs are back at state for the seventh year in a row after placing ninth last May.
Highland placed second last year and will be joined by several other Top 10 returnees that include Minooka (4th in 2015), Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond (5th), Rochelle (6th), Joliet Central (8th), Streamwood (tied for 10th), and Zion-Benton (tied for 10th).
Get up-to-speed on IHSA bass fishing rules with the primer below…
IHSA Bass Fishing State Finals rules primer:
-Fishing begins at 7:00 a.m. and teams must be off the water by 3:00 p.m. to prep for weigh-ins.
-Two high school students can fish in a boat at a time. Teams may substitute anglers on their roster at any time by returning to shore.
-An adult coach/driver (who cannot fish) is required in each competing boat at all times.
-Teams can catch a maximum of five fish per day, which they store in their boat’s live well. After catching five fish, a team can continue to fish and try to replace fish already in their live wells with larger catches (a kicker).
-At the end of each day, the fish are weighed and the team with the highest total combined weight from the two days is declared the state champion.
-A one-pound penalty is assessed to a team for each fish that does not survive the weigh-in process.
The Marina adjacent to the boat ramp and weigh-in area will also once again host the Bass Celebration on Friday and Saturday. Bass Celebration includes fishing vendors, food, boat displays, truck displays and general vendors. Bass Celebration festivities begin at 2:00 p.m. on Friday and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, and admission is free. A kid’s fishing derby will also be held in conjunction with the tournament at the Carlyle Fish Hatchery at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, with the winners recognized prior to state championship weigh-ins.
8th year of State Series
8th year at Carlyle Lake
Carlyle Lake (Carlyle)
West Access Marina
Updates/delays posted on Twitter at @IHSAWeather
Friday, May 20
Saturday, May 21
Food, fishing & outdoor vendors in West Access Marina
Qualifiers & Boat Numbers
#IHSA on Twitter
Twitter - @IHSAstate
Twitter Weather Updates
Instagram - @IHSA_IL
Classic IHSA YouTube Video
OFFICIAL STATE FINAL
Gear from Minerva
HISTORY & RECORDS
2016 State Series Results
Record Book & Past Champions
6 pounds, 14 ounces
Anthony Kriese, DeKalb HS