State wildlife officials preparing for Bassmaster Classic
The Bassmaster Classic is coming to Oklahoma's Grand Lake Feb. 22-24 and more than 70,000 people are expected to attend the tournament and the Outdoor Expo which is held in conjunction with it.
The event is expected to pump more than $24 million into the economy of Tulsa — where the weigh-ins are being held at the BOK Center — and Grove and the other communities around Grand Lake.
“It's easily the biggest fishing event ever to come to Oklahoma,” said Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Among the renovations under way for Grand Lake because of the upcoming Bassmaster Classic is the building of a six-lane boat ramp at Wolf Creek Park in Grove and a parking lot for 300.
Restrooms, pavilions, a drive-through weigh-in station and courtesy docks also are being built for the Bassmaster Classic, but it will all stay there after the Super Bowl of fishing has ended.
“This facility being built at Grand Lake is not just for the big level tournaments,” Gilliland said. “The City of Grove is trying to make something that the local fishermen can use so they have some nicer facilities to be able to do some of their weigh-ins.”
Over the course of the two-phase project, the Wildlife Department will contribute about $3 million, which will be combined with several million dollars provided by the City of Grove, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Grand River Dam Authority, which owns the lake.