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As the ice clears from Montana's rivers, catfish anglers are limbering up their rods for the flush of tournaments across the state. Anglers should sign up early as many of the tournaments fill quickly.

The season opens with the fifth annual Yellowstone Challenge on the Yellowstone River on May 7 out of Huntley. This year, the tournament will be limited to boat anglers only and to 50 teams.

The anglers can run the river from the mouth of the Bighorn up to the Huntley Diversion Dam.

That tourney will be followed on June 4 by the 12th annual Milk River Catfish Classic out of Glasgow.

The boundaries for this tourney stretch from the mouth of the Milk River near Nashua/Fort Peck to the Juneberg Bridge near Saco. The event is a night-time contest that boasts more than $5,000 in cash and prizes.

Next on the schedule is the June 18 Missouri River Catfish Clash, the newest event on the Montana Cats Circuit and the first to take place in North Dakota. The inaugural event will be stationed out of Lewis and Clark Bridge, four miles west of Williston, N.D. The tourney will replace the Bighorn Catfish Tournament, previously held out of Lovell, Wyo.

Boundaries for the clash will stretch from Legion Park fishing access in the east to the southern part of Trenton Lake.

Lastly, the Monster Cat Roundup will finish up the tour on July 9 in Sidney.

Anglers will fish the Yellowstone River from the Montana-North Dakota state line to the Seven Sisters fishing access site. There is a 60-team limit.

For more information or to sign up for any of the tournaments, log on to www.montanacats.com.

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