A roller coaster ride. That best describes this past weeksí weather and fishing. The first part of the week was excellent with air temperatures that cracked 80 degrees. Walleye fishing was excellent on all the reefs and the beaches. All the standard jigging stuff worked. Water clarity was excellent and water temps jumped to the mid 40ís. The trollers started doing good north of the reefs in the area known as the flats. |
Wednesday the Professional Walleye Tournament kicked off with lots of good catches coming in. The pros weigh in their best 5 fish each day. The top 3 weights on opening day were: 1st place, Daryl Christensen of Montello, WI with 45.63 lbs., 2nd place, David Kraft of Bismarck, ND with 41.89 lbs. and 3rd place, Jim Carroll of Minot, ND with 41.51 lbs. The big fish of the day was caught by Kale Kuklinski of Adell, WI with a 12.76 pounder! I was very impressed with all the limit catches that were weighed in. With the lousy weather most of April so far and the colder water temperatures for this time of year, I didnít expect a whole lot. It just goes to show these guys are good.
Unfortunately day two of the tournament was cancelled when a powerful Northeaster kicked in overnight with gale force winds and waves running 7 to 9 ft. On Friday, the National Weather Service blew the forecast big time. It was supposed to be 4 to 6 footers. Everyone woke up to a dead flat lake. This permitted the tournament boats to get their final day in. Results were dramatically different though. The storm the day before muddied most of the western basin back up and shut down for the most part the trolling bite. The pros that switched to jigging on the reefs managed to catch their 5 fish but these were smaller males and overall weights were considerably less than those seen the first day. The guys that stuck it out trolling struggled and most were lucky to have even a fish to weigh!
Daryl Christensen caught 2 Walleyes on Friday that together weighed in at 11.55 lbs. He finished with a two-day total of 7 fish for 57.18 lbs. This was good enough for him to hold on to 1st place and win the top prize of $63,000! David Kraft managed to hold on to 2nd place by catching a fish weighing 8.03 lbs. for a 6 fish total of 49.92 lbs. He took home the runner up check of $20,000. In my opinion what a mistake for him not to run down to the reefs and jig up 5 smaller males for the live box and then go trolling for a larger fish. I think that strategy would have won him the tournament since he missed first place by only 7.26 lbs. He only had one fish Friday trolling and Iím rather certain he could have jigged up 4 quick ones on the reefs. Even if they were only a couple pounders (not likely), that would have been good enough. Brad Davis of Jackson, WI moved into 3rd place with a six fish total of 49.53 lbs. This won him $13,000 in prize money.
We were back at it on the reefs Saturday and easily jigged up a limit of 24 nice Walleyes. A few Smallmouth are starting to show up also in the catches as the water continues to warm. I look for a few Walleye to be caught on nightcrawlers this coming week. Incidentally, when checked by the Ohio Department of Natural Resource officers, of the 300 plus Walleyes caught by the pros on Wednesday, all but 2 were completely spawned out. Interesting!