Forty-nine anglers from across the United States and Canada competed Oct. 6-8, 2016 in the first annual Treeland Premier Musky Fly Fishing Championship on area lakes and rivers.

Although Mother Nature threw some difficult fishing conditions at the entrants, the cold, windy conditions couldn’t stop anglers from finding the fish and having fun.

The event kicked off Thursday with a casting contest sponsored by Pat’s Landing Resort. Entrants had two attempts to land their fly in a hoop. Nick Anderson from Tower, Minnesota, broke a three-way tie for the win, taking home a Just Encase Musky Fly Box.

Friday’s fishing started at 7 a.m. with freezing temperatures and a relentless north wind. A total of six fish were registered, the smallest of them 30 inches. The largest musky, a 36-incher, was landed by Damon Kuehl of Roanoke, Virginia, on the East Fork of the Chippewa River. He used a Bohen 747 Natural Fly.

The sun came out for the last day of fishing, and a whopping 19 fish were registered, four of them over 40 inches.

The largest fish, a 45-incher, was caught at 10 a.m. on the Flambeau River by Casey Weist of Wyoming, Minnesota. He used a yellow and pink fly.

Jeff Reinke of Arlington Heights, Illinois, caught a 42-incher on the Chippewa Flowage using an orange and green perch fly.

Peter Anderson, of Tower, Minnesota, caught a 40-1/2-incher on the Flambeau River using a white Beauford fly.

The oldest contestant (and finalist in the casting contest), 81 year old Ron Fara, caught a 40-inch musky on the North Fork of the Flambeau River using a chartreuse and purple River Pig.

Once all of the fish were tallied up, final results of the tournament were as follows:

” Finishing in third place and taking home $355 with muskies of 29, 31.5 and 31 inches for 27 points was Team Shooting Feathers & Flinging Furs: Andrew Herberg of Minneapolis and James Forrester of St. Paul.

” The second place payout was $705. Team Hightide took the prize registering muskies of 45, 35 and 32 inches for 40 points. The team consisted of Charlie Forest of St. Paul and Casey Weist of Wyoming, Minnesota.

” The first place team received $1,065 and registered an impressive nine fish for a total of 60 points. The fish measured 36, 27, 26, 25.5, 31, 31.5, 28.5, 29 and 26 inches. Team Primo Tail, consisting of Damon Kuehl (Roanoke, Virginia), Derek Kuehl (Hayward) and Brad Bohen (Winter), took home this honor.

The winner for biggest fish was Casey Weist with a 45-incher. It netted him an additional $705.

Tournament coordinator Tatum Treland expressed their thanks to all the sponsors, as without them tournaments like these would not be possible.

The tournament’s premier sponsor was St. Croix Rods, which three St. Croix Legend Elite Rods that were awarded each night of the tournament.

The major sponsors who donated many prizes were Chippewa Valley Bank, Jenk’s Bait and Tackle, Just Encase, Fishpond and Pat’s Landing Resort. The Angry Minnow Brew Pub donated the beverages for the tournament

It was a well run tournament that attracted anglers from all over the country, and showcased the area and the musky fishery here, which is unparalleled anywhere in the world,” said Dan Small, host of the “Outdoor Wisconsin” TV show.

“This area has the best musky fishing within a 50-mile radius than anywhere else in the world,” he said. “You can catch bigger fish in Canada, but for action, you can’t beat the Hayward area. The fact that 49 anglers caught 25 fish — you don’t see that action in a gear tournament, especially with the hard conditions the anglers faced.”