Pierre, SD (KSFY) For the first time ever the Bassmasters Elite Pro Series Fishing Tournament has come to a South Dakota lake.
Thousands of visitors and spectators traveled to Pierre to watch some of the best anglers in the nation.
“One of the most common questions we get is how to do you spectate a bass fishing tournament, so as you can see around me, there's an expo set up,” Bass Director of Operations Eric Lopez said.
In honor of the tournament, the Pierre Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Great Outdoor Expo all weekend.
“We've been planning this for over a year and it has really fulfilled our expectation as to what this tournament was going to be about,” Pierre Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director Lois Ries said.
Ries says hosting this pro tournament helps put South Dakota fishing in the national spotlight.
“We’re bringing that attention from all over the world to Pierre and surrounding area that you can come out here and bass fish, that's where the pros are,” Lopez said.
“The bass fisherman that fish on the elite series have years and years of fishing experience,” Spring Creek Lodge General Manager David Healan said. “They have a lot of determination and a lot of drive for the sport of fishing.”
This is the first time these professionals have fished on Lake Oahe and the Missouri River.
“The fishermen that are out there competing for $100,000, we like to throw challenges at them, so it’s important for us to take the event to a new body of water, which we're doing here,” Lopez said.
Friday night strong wind added a new challenge to the tournament.
“None of the tents behind me were left standing, everything was demolished but the town came together,” Lopez said.
“We had over 100 people that showed up from the community to help clean up this morning in the park,” Ries said.
“After what we saw this morning when everyone came out to help us, that's when it felt really special to be in Pierre, it’s a great location,” Lopez said.
This massive tournament is just getting started. On Saturday 108 professional anglers competed in round two of the tournament. Sunday, only 50 will move on to the next round and the top 12 will compete for the $100,000 prize Monday.
Lopez said the professional anglers who don’t advance to Sunday and Monday’s competition will be around the expo and festival and will be able to talk to some of the attendees to share tips about fishing for bass on this South Dakota waterway.
If you can't make it to Pierre to watch in person this weekend, the Bassmasters's South Dakota tournament will be broadcast on ESPN 2 on August 4th. You can find all of the details at