Welcome to the third installment of the Fishidy Weekend Wrap-Up. This weekend was the kick-off for a few of my favorite times of the year. First, it was the beginning of walleye fishing in the Midwest. Anglers all over the state are getting their chance at some of the best river walleye fishing in the nation! And, the FLW College Fishing series kicked-off its Central Division tournaments on Table Rock Lake. The beginning of Fish-sanity is upon us!
The unseasonably beautiful weather in the Midwest has caused anglers across the region to start gearing up for the bite a bit sooner than usual! I was lucky enough to get out on the rivers in Northern Wisconsin this weekend to try my luck. The first night was spent fishing a late night bite up in Green Bay, Wisconsin on the Fox River. I fished from shore at Voyager Park along with a few of the Provide Pro Staff members. The temperatures, low to mid 20’s, were not quite what we were hoping for but we still ended up with a few nice walleyes. The biggest of the night was a hefty 21” female caught on a 1/4 oz jig and a Gulp Minnow. Long casts with a slow retrieve, while bouncing the jigs off of the rocks, were the key to hooking into these fish. Be prepared to lose some jigs due to the vast amount of rocks that make up the bottom composition here, but the chance of hooking a 30 inch, 9+ pound walleye is well worth the couple dollars in jigs you may be donating to the river.
There’s no doubt the next few days and weeks should yield bigger and better catches since it’s still relatively early in the season and the water temperatures need to rise a few more degrees to really get the bigger females active. Stay tuned for more walleye reports from Fishidy.com on the surrounding Midwestern rivers. We would love to see what you’re catching, as well, so post your catches and info on Fishidy.com after creating your free profile.
The kick-off of the FLW College Fishing Central Division qualifiers was this weekend on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. The field of 40 teams was led by SIU’s Ryan Dunn and Brandon Ringer, who brought five fish totaling 17 pounds and 3 ounces, which included a five-pound kicker largemouth bass. Winona State University’s Cade Laufenberg and Sam Schollmeier finished as runners-up exactly one pound behind SIU. Rounding out the top five were teams from Georgetown College, SIU-Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois University. The top five teams advance from each of the four qualifiers to compete at the Central Division Regional this coming fall. The top five teams at Regionals will compete at the national tournament next spring against the best college anglers in the business! The next National Guard FLW College Central Division qualifier is scheduled for May 12 at Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky.
I had a chance to catch-up with Winona’s Cade Laufenberg about the tournament conditions on Table Rock. Cade mentioned it was mostly cloudy and raining throughout the tournament, but that the clouds “helped the Alabama Rig bite.” With the varying conditions they decided to fish deeper, staging fish on wind blown banks.
Cade added, “we played the wind direction and focused on the points that were good in practice that seemed to have wind blowing directly onto them.”
When it came to structure and compositions, Laufenberg and Schollmeier said they mainly fished main lake points that were on outside bends of the main lake channel. They added “we usually ended up at bluff end/rock transition points, and all secondary points were on channel swings in the creeks. We simply ran from point to point and spent very little time fishing anything else. We used Alabama Rigs as our search tool, and I would often follow up with a Luck E Strike jerkbait which picked up a few extra fish.”
Schollmeier ended up getting a 6 pound 7 ounce largemouth kicker that notched the 2nd place finish and also set a personal best for him. Most fish were caught on an Alabama rig that had an epoxy head, four of the arms had Lerew swim baits (two of which were hookless) and a Lethal Weapon Precision shad on the middle wire. Laufenbreg says the Lethal Weapon bait was the reason they boated the 5th keeper. You can see complete results and information about this tournament series at CollegeFishing.com.
That’s all for this edition of the Weekend Wrap-up. I hope you all get out and hit the waters in your area soon. Be sure to share your experiences and catches on Fishidy.com, and don’t be afraid to drop some knowledge on your fellow anglers. We’re all looking to learn new things each time we’re out on the water. Until next time, stay Fishidy!