Beginning April 1, there will be a largemouth bass swimming in Grand Lake that could be worth $250,000 to a lucky fisherman.
The Grand Lake Association is sponsoring the Grand Lake Extravaganza from April 1 to May 18, when 500 largemouth bass will be tagged for cash and merchandise prizes ranging from $50 to $250,000. Anglers must pay $20 in advance to be eligible to win.
Anglers can register at grandlakeextravaganza.com or local bait and tackle shops in the Grand Lake area. The event is limited to 30,000 participants.
“It’s just another way to promote Grand Lake as a bass fishing destination, and anyone can enter,” said Tad Jones, executive director of the Grand Lake Association.
Ten bass will be tagged for “big money” prizes ranging from $1,000 to $250,000, Jones said. If anglers catch a tagged bass, they must enter the tag number online to see what they have won. Each tagged fish will be worth at least $50.
In addition to the top prize of $250,000, a tagged bass could also be worth $5,000, $10,000, $25,000 or $50,000 to an angler.
Fish that have and will be tagged are largemouth bass that have been previously caught in bass tournaments on Grand Lake and then released, Jone said. Each fish will have a numbered yellow tag attached to its fin.
Some of the tagged fish are in the lake now and the rest will be tagged and released this weekend, Jones said.
“If you catch one now, it won’t count,” Jones said. “You’ve got to put it back.”
Anyone catching a tagged fish of $10,000 or more must pass a polygraph. Jones said the Grand Lake Association has bought an insurance policy “to cover any of the big money fish.”
The $20 entry fee also is good for tagged tournaments planned in July and September on Grand Lake, although those events will not have a bass as rich as $250,000 bass, Jones said.
Several big bass tournaments are scheduled on Grand Lake during the time period of the Grand Lake Extravaganza, including an FLW event, the B.A.S.S. Federation National Championship and the National Bass Anglers Association National Championship.
Anglers in those tournaments or any other bass tournament on Grand Lake are eligible to participate in the Grand Lake Extravaganza as long as they have paid the entry fee, Jones said.
The Grand Lake Extravaganza is being promoted as the world’s largest bass tagged event.
Jones hopes it becomes an annual event on Grand Lake.