It’s still Classic, but the angling’s now just for the minnows.

The Chatfield Fire Department has chosen to change its longstanding Trout Classic Fishing Contest from a competition for fishermen of all ages to a contest for youth 13 and under.

“We changed it because we haven’t really gotten that many adult participants in the last years — not enough registrations to cover the cash payout — so we thought we’d just do the youth fishing contest with no entry fee and with prizes, make it more about the kids,” noted Chatfield firefighter Luke Thieke.

The Trout Classic, set for opening day of Minnesota’s trout season on Saturday, April 15, used to have a fishing contest for anyone who could cast a line, but the decision to change that to a tournament for the youngest fishermen will mean that the focus will be on teaching them how to drop a line in and come up with a fish on the hook, be it a catch and release or a trophy for the wall.

The Classic still offers a pancake and sausage breakfast at the Chatfield fire hall – with all the pancakes one can eat, accompanied by sausage, milk and coffee, all available by donation to the fire department – and a silent auction that’s held during the breakfast to help support the fire department and community events.

Thieke noted that southeastern Minnesota’s streams have some of the best trout fishing in the country and that the Trout Classic is a chance for the firefighters to invite young trout anglers to take to the rivers and see what they can catch, with no contest registration necessary.

Prizes will be awarded for the two largest fish – a $50 Scheel’s gift card and a trophy for the largest trout and largest rough fish – at the contest’s end at noon.

Anglers, their parents, guardians and neighbors from around Chatfield may join the firefighters at the hall for breakfast, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., where live trout will be on display throughout the morning, courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The auction will be held during the breakfast, and bidders’ wins will be announced at noon, along with the winners of the fishing contest.

Additionally, the Chatfield Ambulance Service will be on hand to provide free blood pressure checks from 6 to 8 a.m.

Thieke cited that everyone – trout enthusiasts and landlubbers alike – are welcome to stop in for breakfast or anytime during the day to take in the displays and to watch the fishing contest weigh-in.

“Come support your local fire department – it’s a good fundraiser for us – and come see the live trout display, and hopefully some people will take their kids fishing,” he concluded.

The Chatfield Fire Department’s Trout Classic is slated to take place at the Chatfield fire hall, 318 Main St. South, Chatfield. For more information, call Luke Thieke at 507-208-0651.