Fishin' off the bow
Ty Swartout, the organizer of the Moses Lake Carp Classic, at the start of last year’s carp hunt. This year's event will be held on Saturday and organizers expect a good turnout.
Unloading the carp catch at Connelly Park from the 2022 Moses Lake Carp Classic. Participants in the yearly event use specially-equipped bows and arrows to take on the invasive fish's population in the city's namesake body of water.
Staff Writer | May 18, 2023 1:30 AM
MOSES LAKE — For avid bow-fishers, or just anyone who wants to shoot fish in a lake, the fourth annual Moses Lake Carp Classic will be held this Saturday, May 20, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Connelly Park on the north end of Moses Lake.
According to tournament organizer Ty Swarthout, the weather for this year’s tournament should be hot with a slight wind that will hopefully stir the lake up a bit. The National Weather Service is expecting sunny and hot temperatures for Saturday including a high near 96.
“That would be really good for us,” Swarthout said.
The tournament, primarily sponsored by the Washington Bowfishers Association, the Moses Lake Irrigation and Rehabilitation District, the Moses Lake Watershed Council and the Columbia Basin Conservation District, involves hunting carp in the lake with bows and arrows and is one of the only unregulated and unlicensed forms of fishing in Washington state.
Swarthout organized the first hunt in 2019 as a way to help remove some of the carp — an invasive species — from Moses Lake. Bottom feeders, carp stir up sediments and contribute to the phosphorus load in the lake, which then helps promote the growth of blue-green algae that can produce potentially harmful chemicals.
The bow fisher who catches the biggest carp will win $1,000, Swarthout said, while other cash awards will go to the bow fisher who catches the most carp and the bow fisher who catches the biggest koi or goldfish. There will also be a raffle after the awards ceremony in Connelly Park, Swarthout said.
This year’s carp catch will be used by a Portland, Oregon-based crawfish fisherman, who will cut the big fish up and use the pieces as bait, Swarthout said.
Registration begins at 6 a.m. at Connelly Park, Swarthout said, and costs $60 per shooter. Hunting starts at 7 a.m., with judges weighing the catch at 5 p.m.
Swarthout said 38 boats and 101 shooters participated in last year’s carp classic.
“We’re hoping to pass that this year,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is 40 boats and well over 100 shooters.”
For more information, visit the Moses Lake Carp Classic website www.moseslakecarpclassic.com.
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at email@example.com. Featherstone covers the business beat as well as the cities of Moses Lake, Warden and Wilson Creek.