For the first time in its 47-year history, the world championship of bass fishing — the Bassmaster Classic — will be held on 21,000-acre Lake Conroe in Houston, Texas in 2017.

The event is slated for March 24-26, with weigh-ins set for Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.

“We are thrilled to bring the biggest event in bass fishing to the biggest city in the biggest state,” Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO, said. “Of the 500,000 members of B.A.S.S. worldwide, nearly 45,000 — more than any other state — call Texas home. We’re glad to be able to hold the Classic near them.”

The fishing competition will take place on Lake Conroe, an impoundment of the San Jacinto River in Montgomery and Walker counties noted for producing big largemouth bass.

Also during Bassmaster Classic Week in Houston, the nation’s leading fishing tackle and boat manufacturers will take part in the annual Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo, also to be held March 24-26 in the George R. Brown Convention Center. 

In recent years, tackle and lure companies have been using the Classic Expo as the venue to introduce their newest products to bass fishing fans. The 2017 Expo will cover more than 300,000 square feet, the largest in Bassmaster Classic history.

Lake Conroe has never hosted a Bassmaster Elite Series event, but many of the pros are familiar with the lake — it was the site of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic from 2009-2013.

The Classic champion will earn $300,000, part of the more than $1 million in prize money to be paid out to the anglers.

Akin expects the event next year to draw some of the largest crowds in tournament history. More than 107,000 people attended one or more venues during this year’s Classic in Tulsa on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. The event has averaged more than 102,000 in attendance over the past five years.