The 2023 Moses Lake Carp Classic was held at Connelly Park on Saturday, June 20th. The weather was perfect for fishing: calm waters and sunny skies. From across the Pacific Northwest, 61 anglers and 22 boats spent their day on the water, bringing in a mind-boggling number of carp.
Nearly 1,000 fish were harvested, weighing 13,000 pounds in total. The biggest fish prize went to Kenny Vansteenkist and Nick Jamison for a 26.7 pounder. They also took the top ten fish prize for their 197.2-pound stringer. The prize for the highest number of fish caught was taken by Alex and Victor Mendoza, with 102 fish. Additionally, two koi (goldfish) were caught, weighing 5.8 and 5.3 pounds.
This annual event, which first began in 2019, was started as a way to educate the public about the negative effects of carp in Moses Lake. Ty Swartout, the founder of the Moses Lake Carp Classic, feels that this tournament will, "hopefully get some numbers of carp out of the lake due to their aggressive spawning and eating habits ... and add an additional fun event to also hopefully bring tourism dollars to the City of Moses Lake." Additionally, Swartout hopes that the tournament can be an opportunity to help with the health of the lake while also increasing community and sponsorship involvement.
At weigh-in, an appreciation ceremony was held to honor Marie Lotz and Chris Overland for their contributions to the Moses Lake Watershed Council’s work. Chris Overland was the former manager of Moses Lake Irrigation & Rehabilitation District, and Marie Lotz was the former manager of the Grant County Conservation District, now known as Columbia Basin Conservation District. Both sadly passed away in 2021. Their districts and families continue to honor their dedication to their work, and both families were in attendance.
Swartout hopes that next year's Carp Classic will be even better than this year's. "More participating, larger amounts of carp removed from the lake, and possible changes in laws with the State of Washington in how we can dispose of the carp."
Congratulations to Ty and Sandie Swartout for organizing the great day and building a team to make it all possible. Additional thanks to the members of the Moses Lake Watershed Council who made this even possible, including Columbia Basin Conservation District staff Ronnie Sawyer and Elliott DeLong.