Superior father-son duo take top walleye prize at Island Lake ALS Tournament

The 27th annual fishing contest raised a record $265,000.

Anglers decend on Island Lake for 27th annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament
A fishing boat heads toward the boat launch during the 27th annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament on Saturday at Island Lake north of Duluth. The event raised a record $265,000.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — Brian and Andrew Johnson of Superior took first place in the walleye category in Saturday's 27th annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament at Island Lake.

The father and son duo had six walleyes measuring a total length of 94.5 inches in the tournament which raised a new record $265,000, topping the $244,000 raised in 2017.

Money raised in the tournament goes to help people who suffer from ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an always-fatal progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Doug Pirila of Proctor and Greg Poetz of Winsted, Minnesota, caught the longest stringer of five bass for a total of 92.75 inches.

Anglers decend on Island Lake for 27th annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament
Boats are loaded on trailers during the 27th annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament. Members of the Hermantown High School boys hockey team volunteered to help launch and load boats in the event.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Wade Aamodt, of Duluth, pulled in the day’s longest walleye, measuring in at 22.5 inches to win the tournament’s Big Walleye Bonanza. Doug Pirila snagged the longest bass of the day at 20.25 inches.


“With the success of this year’s record-breaking event, over $4 million has been raised in the fight against ALS since we started this tournament in 1996,” said Blake Kolquist, tournament chairman, in a statement. “Funds raised continue to support people living with ALS and we’ve now been able to expand our funding into leading research efforts giving patients access to the latest and greatest ALS treatment trials right here in Duluth. Thank you to everyone that supports our cause as it’s truly making a difference in the lives of those living with ALS.”

In addition to the in-person Island lake event the contrast also included a virtual tournament for anglers not able to come to Duluth. Scott Monson of Perham, Minnesota, had the longest bass measured at 15.75 inches; the longest northern pike at 28.5 inches was caught by Jack Evens of Cold Spring, Minnesota; Wayne Johnson of Perham caught the longest crappie at 12.75 inches; and the longest walleye at 29.25 inches was caught by Calvin Boecker of Lakeville, Minnesota.

Anglers decend on Island Lake for 27th annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament
Boats wait to come into the landing during the Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament on Saturday.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Former UMD and NHL hockey star Jim Johnson, two-time Minnesota Twins world champion Kent Hrbek, and three-time All-Star baseball player Terry Steinbach again hosted the event.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at
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