Canadian Chris Johnston third heading into final round of St. Lawrence event

CLAYTON, N.Y. — Canadian Chris Johnston has some work to do in order to capture the season-ending Elite Series pro bass event on the St. Lawrence River.

Johnston, of Peterborough, Ont., qualified for the Sunday final by cracking the top-10 following Saturday's round. Johnston brought in a five-fish limit weighing 25 pounds, two ounces, to stand third overall with 78 pounds.

That leaves Johnston, who was second through the first two rounds, two pounds, six ounces behind leader Patrick Walters of the U.S. (80 pounds, six ounces). American Kyle Welcher, the second-round leader, dropped to second overall (79 pounds, five ounces).

Johnston's brother, Cory, of Cavan, Ont., also qualified for Sunday's final. His five-fish limit weighed 25 pounds, giving him 72 pounds, two ounces for the tournament.

Johnston's final-round qualification is impressive given he stood No. 51 overall in the 102-competitor field following the opening round.

The Johnstons' success here isn't surprising.

In 2020, Chris Johnston became the first Canadian to win an Elite Series tournament, finishing with a four-day total of 97 pounds, eight ounces on the St. Lawrence River.

Last year on the same river, Cory Johnston became the first competitor to weigh over 100 pounds of smallmouth bass in an Elite Series event. Not long after, though, American Jay Przekurat became the second and finished two pounds, four ounces ahead of Johnston, who settled for second.

Cooper Gallant, of Bowmanville, Ont., also competed Saturday but was unable to secure a berth into the final. His five-fish limit weighed 19 pounds, nine ounces, giving the Elite Series rookie 67 pounds, 14 ounces to finish 18th overall.

Jeff Gustafson, the '23 Classic champion from Kenora, Ont., finished 51st through the first two rounds to just miss qualifying for action Saturday. The top-50 competitors secured spots in Saturday's field.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2023.

The Canadian Press