MWC Big Stone Lake: Heinrich and Backstrand Win
Aug 27th, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Aug 27th, 2014 at 12:00 AM
A newly formed MWC team of Justin Heinrich, age 31, and Cody Backstrand, age 29, won their first pro-level tournament at the MWC Big Stone Lake event in May of 2014. Minnesotans Heinrich (Rogers) and Backstrand (Ortonville) teamed up and captured their first tournament win of any kind, and only their second tournament together.
Heinrich grew up in Madison, Minnesota, just 25 miles south of Ortonville. He attended Tech School in Wadena for power alignment and worked in Montevideo for three years building power lines and then Ortonville for seven years with the City of Ortonville. He moved to Xcel Energy in the Twin Cities in 2011 to maintain power lines. It was during his years in Ortonville that he bought his own boat and began to fish Big Stone Lake hard. That’s when he met Cody Backstrand.
Backstrand was born and raised in Ortonville, and as a young kid rode his bicycle to the Minnesota River to fish with friends. “I always had a passion for fishing and hunting,” said Cody. “I have a house on Big Stone Lake now and I really love it.” Cody learned the auto body shop business at his dad’s shop, and eventually bought the business from his father. He married Jenny two years ago.
“Last winter we were ice fishing and we talked about how the MWC was coming back to Big Stone Lake and maybe we should give it a shot,” said Cody. “I kind of had to talk Justin into it a little bit.” Time went on and the kind of winter and late spring made Cody re-think the decision. “Eventually it kind of turned around and Justin was talking me into getting in. I’m glad we did.” The duo fished one other tournament together on Lac Qui Parle last year. “We didn’t do very good,” Cody laughed.
Justin began fishing at a young age on Lac Qui Parle with his family. When he lived in Ortonville, he kicked it up a notch and purchased a Ranger Boat. “I love fishing because you can fish on public lakes whenever you want,” said Justin. “You don’t need permission; you can just go fishing.” The tournament bug set in when Justin fished a Border Water Challenge tournament on Big Stone Lake with his brother and finished in fourth place. “A top ten finish makes you think maybe you can do this.”
Heinrich and Backstrand make a good team because they both bring good ideas to the decision-making so they don’t rely on just one person. Where they ended up winning this MWC Big Stone Lake tournament is a bit ironic. “We fished a spot I had never fished before,” said Justin. “It was right in front of the campground where we always launched our boat. And of course, we would never fish right where we launched,” laughed Heinrich. “We always had to head somewhere else on the lake. But I marked some nice fish on my graph as I was traveling across the lake, and I went back and found some fish there.”
Justin Heinrich is sponsored by Minnkota Tackle and Cody Backstrand is sponsored by Kruger Farms.