Alexi Stangel and her dad, Brian Stangel, of Albuquerque show off their biggest catches of the day on Saturday. The pair finished in second place at the 3
Alexi Stangel and her dad, Brian Stangel, of Albuquerque show off their biggest catches of the day on Saturday. The pair finished in second place at the 3 Rivers Bass Team Trail fishing tournament at Morgan Lake near Kirtland.

FARMINGTON — It was a cold and blustery day on Saturday at Morgan Lake, but that didn't stop boats from lining up as people headed out to try their luck at the first-ever 3 Rivers Bass Team Trail fishing tournament.

The 3 Rivers Bass Team Trail is a new fishing group on the circuit. Saturday marked the first of six tournaments the group plans to host this season.

"Our first tournament went great," said Billy Dunson, one of the group's founders. "We had 15 boats and 30 participants. We were all pleased with the turn of events for our first tournament."

Dunson and a several other organizers spent a month and a half planning the event.

"There were a group of us that just wanted to fish, and we said, 'Let's just make our own group,' and that's what we did, " Dunson said.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

The 3 Rivers Bass Team Trail will host its next tournament on April 5 at Morgan Lake.

The group will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. April 4 in the showroom at Ziems Ford Corners, 5700 E. Main St. in Farmington, to discuss the details of the tournament.

For more information on the group, contact Billy Dunson at 505-320-1093 or Roger Berger at 505-793-7070.

The group's members hope each tournament will attract more participants, especially since the weather on Saturday wasn't ideal. Windy conditions turned away a few participants, Dunson said.

But the weather didn't keep Brian Stangel and his 9-year-old daughter, Alexi, from fishing in the tournament. The father-and-daughter duo, who live in Albuquerque, finished the tournament in second place. Alexi, who fished at Morgan Lake on Saturday for the second time, also pulled in the biggest largemouth bass she has ever caught, which she said was very memorable.

Wade Jordan of Cortez, Colo., also drove down for the tournament, and, despite the wind, he said the fishing was good.

"This group is pretty cool. They have a reasonable price, and it is a lot of fun fishing team stuff," Jordan said.

Group members pay a $50 fee per person for the season. Tournaments also have an entry fee of $100 per team. In each tournament, teams place $20 in a pot, and the money goes to the team that catches the largest bass.

Jordan also said fishing at Morgan Lake is nice because fishermen can use the lake year-round, unlike other lakes that freeze over in the winter. Morgan Lake, which is located on the Navajo Nation, is a cooling pond for the Four Corners Power Plant, so the water stays at 75 degrees all year.

TOURNAMENT WINNERS

First place: Steve and Skyler Hammond, of Farmington, with 13.40 pounds

Second place: Brian and Alexi Stangel, of Albuquerque, with 12.76 pounds

Third place: Johnny Johnson and Danny Fourr, of Farmington, with 11.39 pounds

Saturday's tournament ran for eight hours, and each team weighed in their top five fish and their biggest catches of the day.

Steve and Skyler Hammond, a father-and-son team from Farmington, finished in first place with 13.40 pounds. David and Donna Herrera of Aztec caught the biggest fish of the day, which weighed in at 3.66 pounds.

"This is a good competition sport for people of all ages to get out and enjoy the Four Corners," said Roger Berger, another founder of the 3 Rivers Bass Team Trail.

Jaclyn Waggoner covers the outdoors for The Daily Times. She can be reached jaclynwags@gmail.com.