AIM Weekend Walleye Series In North Dakota At Bismarck
Dec 21st, 2021 by Keith Worrall
Modified Dec 21st, 2021 at 9:36 AM
Dakota Deep Diver! April 24 Launches AIM Weekend Walleye Series In North Dakota At Bismarck
Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.
We’re back, NoDak! North Dakota’s 2022 season of the AIM Weekend Walleye Series starts now, with teams planning for all venues of another exciting and “weighty” season that begins in just about five months.
“Our North Dakota qualifiers for 2022 start at the home of the new state walleye record, on the Missouri River near Bismarck, where something tells me there will be at least one more big guy or gal walleye waiting for teams in the holes and along the sand bars there besides that near-state record that was landed last spring,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director.
“And with at least $9,000 going to the first-place team with a full 100-boat field, we’re looking for ND anglers here to show Fan Nation what they’re made of. AIM is the most lucrative affordable tournament in all of walleye fishing. There is no other series that can say that. With a small investment, you can do this for a big payday. Let’s give a look at each tourney location that includes 1 new spot with new challenges and new rewards.”
Missouri River at Bismarck
The river that helped take Lewis & Clark west to the Pacific and then east again more than 200 years ago is a walleye bonanza, evidenced by the 16-pound, six-ounce pig that came from the same waters that teams will be fishing when AIM gets underway in North Dakota on April 24.
The event takes place during prime time here for big spawning and hungry-as-a fish-can-be post-spawner walleye on the wide Missouri.
It can be cold, and it can be snowy, but when one of those Missouri fish hits a plastic or live minnow rig, you can get warm real fast. Last year, two local Bismarck anglers found the right ones to win by going north.
They ran over sand bars and other obstacles to fling jig-mounted minnows and plastics along the edges of those upstream gravel-sand ridges to find the right five that totaled just under 43 pounds. Again. Five fish, just under 43 pounds. That’s averaging more than eight pounds each.
That, teams, gives you a clue about what you may want to stock up on this coming April. AIM will be there only one day earlier than in 2021, and granted, while the Missouri’s level, which was not in super flood stage last year, and the weather, also are factors, you’d better be prepared. Start scouting those areas now and sign up to play with AIM.
Lake Ashtabula at Sibley
A month after the Missouri, AIM heads to new water: Lake Ashtabula, near Sibley. The lake is a formed by Baldhill Dam on the Sheyenne River in eastern North Dakota in prairie pothole country, within an easy drive via I-94. At 27 miles long, it’s made for walleye fishing. All NoDak tournament anglers know that this lake has not been spotlighted by big-time tournaments. AIM is about to do it come May 22.
Locals say this lake fishes more like a river, with current-oriented fish hugging that drowned channel. Anglers will have a choice of shallow water to the north and deeper as its twists, turns and current-causing bends head toward the dam. You can bet that many of those bends will be holding walleye waiting for anglers to rip some lips using AIM’s exclusive Catch-Record-Release™ format that ensures the fish caught here will be ready for any angler to catch them again after the tournament ends. North Dakota, time to sign up and play. There’s definitely no payday without it.
Lake Sakakawea at Parshall
By the time AIM visits Lake Sak at Parshall on June 19, the lake will be in prime condition and ready to give it up for the field. It’s done it before for AIM here in June, when those gravelly shorelines the lake is famous for may be teeming with fish.
In part because of AIM tournaments, the lake has become hugely popular for walleye anglers, and of course the beauty of an AIM tournament coming to town is that the fish will also be there come Sunday evening after AIM leaves.
North Dakota, you know where Parshall is, but for the uninitiated, it sits due east of the most productive bay on the western part of the lake. You know the name: Van Hook Arm.
Those islands and sunken islands are where both tournament anglers and weekend warriors head when they want to catch walleyes. And you can bet that the bay’s inhabitants will be primed to accept the invitation to come aboard for AIM teams. North Dakota, time to sign up and play. If you don’t play, there is no pay.
Devils Lake, at Devils Lake
This huge body of water at the state’s eastern end has been a perennial stop for AIM tournaments for a while now. Why? One glance at the previous winners should tell you.
Despite or rather because of its quirks of repeatedly rising and lowering on the whims of the weather, Devils Lake is a huge fish producer, and you can find them along the shorelines knotted with everything from old roads and farm fencing, to productive weedy areas. For 2022, AIM will be here July 10 for its final season qualifier.
When AIM was here in late July last year, winners jammed nearly 38 pounds of fish into the net, also winning Team Of The Year honors to boot. Instead of casting to the shoreline, they found gold in Pelican Bay trolling Salmo Hornets behind Offshore planer boards. Pelican is legendary as a go-to spot, and it didn’t disappoint last summer. Will it produce again? That’s been asked and answered, and so will those shoreline areas. All it takes, North Dakota, is for you to show up to play. If you’re not there, there is no path to payday. Sign up.
The Championship, Lake Sak at Hazen
It comes down to this. For the two-day championship, AIM is going to Hazen, in the south shore of central Lake Sakakawea Aug. 26-27.
The lake here has only a ton of possibilities, including long runs to Van Hook or the east end. But much will depend on the forage fish. Like anything else, walleye follow food, and where the forage is, you’ll find predators, and that means toothsome ‘eyes.
That time of summer, the deep and cool open waters of mid-lake also hold trolling possibilities, so it pays to strategize and plan, and get there to test your fish hypotheses to find the winners. But you need to enter first. If you’re not there, there is absolutely no chance of winning this. That means, if you do not sign up for the qualifiers, you won’t have a chance to be here in August. Sign up.
AIM makes it easy. These are all weekend events. Sign up online, get those maps out. Take a weekend or two before and have fun fishing. That’s what it’s all about in the end. 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