Photo contributed

The first place team and second place big catfish team in 2019 was made up of Chuck Shipley, Nick Gregory and David Cahoe.

WATSEKA — The annual Dick Kissack Memorial Iroquois River Catfish Tournament will be May 30-31.

There is a flood make up date of June 6-7.

The event will begin at the grass lot at the top of the hill by the Watseka Boat Launch on the west end of West Main Street in Watseka for check in.

Check in will be from 11 a.m.-noon May 30. There is an entry fee.

Catfish must be caught by any Illinois Department of Natural Resources legal means on the Illinois side of the Iroquois River and its tributaries only. No lake or pond fish are allowed. This is an all catfish tournament. Prizes will be awarded for t he top three heaviest stringers of five fish.

The first place prize is $200, which will be awarded from $100 from the entry fees and a $100 donation from the Kissack family. There is also a traveling trophy.

Weber Plumbing — Tom Marshino will provide a second place prize of $50 in the adult biggest catfish competition.

The Whitey Schieve “Holy Cow” Youth Big Catfish (U16) prize will be $100 and a plaque sponsored by the Schieve family.

Weigh in will be in the check in area and last from 11 a.m.-noon May 31. Fishermen must have their fish to the weigh in area by noon Teams must check in at the weigh in table by noon.

Anyone with questions can call organizers Jason Cahoe at 815-383-4194 or John Marshino at 815-383-1125.

Cahoe said there will be a 50/50 raffle with proceeds from that activity going to the Watseka Community High School bass fishing team, which was organized earlier this year.

The tournament has been popular in past years, with last year drawing 18 teams. Cahoe said women and kids are also eager to participate in the tournament. Last year there were several women and kids participating, he said. One team was made up of teenagers.

The tournament is also a draw from other areas in the region. Last year there were teams from Indiana, as well as Vermilion County, Kankakee County and Iroquois County in Illinois.

Some people come by, he said, especially at weigh-in, just to observe, he said. “I think last year we had 50 to 60 people at weigh-in,” Cahoe said.

Normally there would be a meal served on the second day, he said, but with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, social distancing rules in place he said they will not do that this year. It is hoped that will be back as part of the festivities next year.

Social distancing guidelines will also be in place at check in and weigh in, he said. Those who are participating are asked to wear a face covering when possible at the check in/weigh in area.

There is more information available on the group’s Facebook page, Iroquois River Fishing Group. The tournament permit is Illinois DNR tournament permit #16411.