Richland County catfish junkies Steve Harris Jr., of Sidney, and Steve Lowrey, of Fairview, teamed up to win the 20th annual Milk River Catfish Classic on June 1 with a weight of 36.42 pounds for five fish.
Claiming runner-up honors was the sibling duo of, Carter Pedersen, Wolf Point, and Peyton Pedersen, Billings, with an impressive basket of 34.81 pounds. Carter also claimed the Jumbo Whiskers Award for the largest catfish of the evening with his 11.12-pound behemoth. Peyton had never fished the event prior to this year and Carter had just made his debut the previous year.
Defending champions and Glasgow natives, Jason Flaten and Cole Plouffe put together another solid night of fishing, following up last year’s championship with a weight of 32.94 pounds. Bo Boreson and Vance Anderson finished just a half-pound back of third place with 32.41 pounds. Brady Flaten and Jason Molstad rounded out the top five with a weight of 31.64 pounds. The tourney marks the 11th top-five finish for Flaten in 20 years of fishing the event.
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Three native local teams finished sixth to eighth respectively: Brendan Waarvik and DJ Elletson (30.94), Joel Smith and Marc Kloker (30.35), Timm Canen and Aimee Kloeckner (30.20) all weighed in more than 30 pounds making it the first time in Cat Classic history that eight teams could make the claim of catching 30-plus pounds.
Montana Cats Circuit anglers; Rod Seder, Billings, Rob Seder, Hardin (28.96), and Bobby Wise, Billings, and teammate Robert Wise, Billings (28.85), claimed the last two spots in the all-important top 10.
A record tying 28 teams weighed in 20-plus pounds and an all-time Montana Cats Circuit record 78 teams weighed in fish.