AIM Begins Its 2022 Qualifier Season at Green Bay
3 weeks ago by Keith Worrall
Modified Dec 21st, 2021 at 9:33 AM
Wisconsin Deep Diver! Mark April 3 On Your Calendar As AIM Begins Its 2022 Qualifier Season at Green Bay
Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.
Fan Nation, Wisconsin Division, time to get hyped up. You saw it in 2021, when Wisconsin waters gave up some of the largest weights of the season. Wisconsin always gets the nod for the season opener in the AIM Weekend Walleye Series and the coming season is no different, so we’re going back in 2022 to where some of those weights came from.
“AWWS Wisconsin qualifiers for 2022 start in the snow at Green Bay’s Fox River and end in the heat of summer on Lake Winnebago,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director.
“We like testing our anglers on all waters, and Wisconsin does it good, from the Bay of Green Bay, to last season’s National Championship Shootout location, Lake Pete. We’re going there again by the way. See more on that below. Time for a look at the series in depth.”
Fox River, Green Bay
You remember back in late March of this year, right? It was spawn time here for those Green Bay inhabitants, and the winners knew it. They drove up to near De Pere Dam, and picked up a little over 34 pounds of walleye—if you’re counting, that’s nearly 7 pounds a fish—to take home $9,000 from AIM and $2,000 in side pot cash to win. They planned for the bay, but when that always fickle March weather changed, they headed inland, and used their Garmin Panoptix LiveScope system to pinpoint where to cast their Rippin’ Raps. Look for those same lures, plus maybe a few locally dressed hair jig offerings to again set those Fox River spawners on fire.
Fox/Wolf River System, Winneconne
About three weeks later, AIM steers just a bit south to another Fox River, or the Wolf, depending on where you are in the system, or Lake Butte des Morts, or Lake Winneconne. All that connects at Oshkosh to Lake Winnebago, site of this season’s second qualifier April 24. You can even get a jump on scoping out the system for the upcoming August Wisconsin Championship. See that one detailed below.
Teams here can practice what they feel they do well at any of those spots, but you’ve got to follow the fish, and depending on the weather, they could be anywhere in the system when AIM gets here. During previous events, water levels have been a challenge, causing teams headed up the Wolf River to obey swaths of “slow, no wake” regs due to high water levels. Just the same, that trip up can be rewarding, as AIM tournaments have been won by teams plumbing the waters. It pays to pay attention to the water level here.
Lake Petenwell, Arkdale
The site of the 2021 AIM National Championship Shootout is tricky. It’s a drowned river with dams at each end, and lure-snagging tree stumps lining its banks.
It’s also where those big’eyes hung out, and thanks to AIM’s exclusive Catch-Record-Release™ format, brought home that new Warrior 1898DC, powered by a 150 four-stroke Yamaha and with Garmin electronics mounted, for the team that boated 61-plus pounds here over that two-day event this past June. They pinpointed those fish using their Garmin Panoptix with LiveScope system.
AIM is coming back here to give those fish another try for the 2022 season’s third qualifier on May 15, about two weeks earlier than the Shootout visit. The weeds at the north end will be nearly non-existent, the ‘eyes will be hungry, and any presentation you are comfortable with will be in play to play with those hungry sleds that will be just off spawn and looking to catch up on the menu.
Big chubs, minnows, crawlers on jigs, and suckers did the trick then. Will they also work now? We’ll see next May.
Bay of Green Bay, Marinette July 10th 2022
The last time AIM was in Marinette, anglers explored the water that everyone’s now talking about, at the tip of the Bay of Green Bay, all the way to Michigan waters, home of some mighty big fish. And boy, did they find’em.
For the two-day AIM Wisconsin championship, the winning father-daughter team carded more than 107 pounds of walleye. Let’s say that again: 107 pounds. More than 50 pounds a day. For five fish. That’s as in, five.
That give you just an inkling of what’s in store for AIM’s return on July 10 for its final Wisconsin Division state qualifier? That total pig poundage is the very reason we’re coming back.
Expect the bay here, where the sleds hide when the southern bay warms too much to their liking, to produce just as big. You say you want to have a raft of 28- to 30-inch fish tickle your boat’s bottom for a day? This is the place. Be there or miss out.
The Championship, Lake Winnebago
AIM returns to ‘bago Aug. 12-13 to test all team skills. Whether you want to head to the lake’s rock humps and weeds or try to find those resident ‘eyes in the lower Fox River at Oshkosh, or the lakes upstream near Winneconne, here’s your chance to not only shine, but qualify for the next National Championship Shootout and also be in the hunt for Wisconsin Team Of The Year honors.
August brings challenges for anyone fishing walleye, and Winnebago is no different. In 2020, the last time AIM’s Wisconsin championship took place here, it was won in the system’s upper lakes with one of the simplest rigs there is, a jig and a crawler. And once again the winners slid in and targeted fish with that cooler than cool Garmin Panoptix with LiveScope system. That goes for the second-place team, who also used their Panoptix system on the lake to find ‘eyes in the weeds on and near those humps, ready to ambush prey.
So there it is, Wisconsin anglers and Fan Nation. Get Ready. Get out those lake maps. Ask friends and local bait shops. Do that research. It’s always a safe bet that a team going into a tournament that’s done its planning, plotted out potential hotspots and stays away from those game day jitters, does well.
And to all you teams waiting in the wings, wondering if you’ve got what it takes to win one of these events. You do. All you need is that spark of confidence, and an entry fee that’s the lowest of any major walleye tournament out there, to test the waters and above all, yourselves.
Remember. These are weekend events. You don’t need to take a few days off work, and if you do, you can minimize the vacation time you do take. How to get in on the fun is all at AIM’s website.
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™) is a unique tournament organization created and owned by many of the most accomplished and recognizable professional walleye anglers, along with others who share the mission of advancing competitive walleye fishing and making it sustainable into the future.
AIM is committed to marketing excellence on behalf of its tournament competitors, the tournament host communities, and the brands that partner with it.
AIM is also committed to maintaining healthy fisheries across the nation by the development of the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format which is integral to its dynamic events and unparalleled consumer engagement. For more information about AIM™, AIM Pro Walleye Series™, AIM Weekend Walleye Series, AIM sponsors and AIM anglers, visit www.aimfishing.com.
AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats inc.
AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Berkley, X2Power by Batteries Plus, Abu-Garcia, Fenwick, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Quality Flow Systems, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, McQuoids Inn, Marinette, WI