PWT Pros Ready to Challenge Canadian Walleyes
Jul 20th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jul 20th, 2007 at 12:00 AM
After 18 years of chasing walleyes wherever they swim in the United States, the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) pros will enter Canada to test their skills July 25-27. The elite Super Pro anglers competing in the Lund/Mercury Pro-Am will aim north to Dryden, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Wabigoon.The inaugural Canadian tournament, part of the Super Pro series presented by Minn Kota will be staged for fans with daily weigh-in ceremonies inside the Dryden Rec Center. The season’s Number One ranked pro, Gary Parsons, Glidden, Wis., is leading the field. He has accumulated the most points through three PWT tournaments, including a victory on Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago in April. Parsons said, “I’m thrilled to fish in Canada. There are a huge number of Canadian fishermen who follow the PWT and fish with us in the states. The international flavor is great for the sport. I also like fishing new water where not many touring pros have ever been. It’s a tremendous opportunity; I can’t wait.”Pat Neu, Forestville, Wis., will be Number Two out the gates. He was the PWT Rookie of the Year in 2006, won the PWT tournament in Escanaba, Mich., and has a third-place finish and Dow Heavyweight award already this season. In third place is Mike Gofron, Antioch, Ill. Gofron holds the PWT record for the most top 10 place finishes, 33, is a Mercury Championship winner, and like Parsons has won the coveted Johnsonville Brats Angler of the Year title twice. The entire Super Pro field contains the “Who’s Who” in the competitive walleye world. The contestants are listed by their current rank on the PWT website, professionalwalleyetrail.com. They come from throughout the states, with two from Ontario, Larry Snow, Kenora, and John Butts, Dryden. Butts is one of only a handful who has ever fished Lake Wabigoon. “This will be a real challenge, but because the Super Pro anglers are so good and can quickly pick-apart a lake, this is anybody’s game to win. Of course, I want to win on my home water, and will be working hard to make that happen,” he said.Butts knows that Wabigoon walleyes can be anywhere from a foot of water on the rocks or in the weeds to the deepest basin on the lake. Water clarity usually is about a foot or less, offering another twist to the walleye experts. Wabigoon is approximately 50,000 acres, and the connecting Lake Dinorwic adds significantly more (and clear) water. The lakes are filled with islands, bays, rock humps and have a reputation for giant muskies, big northern pike, good smallmouth bass, and for most fishermen outside Dryden is an unknown for walleyes.Other local tournaments have seen fish tipping the scales at more than nine pounds. Biologists have netted them in the “teen” range and many walleyes that size have been caught, including several in the 30 to 33 inch range this year. PWT executive director Jim Kalkofen has been visiting the lake for about 25 years and his two “personal best” walleyes have come from the lake. His dad Clarence is holding one of those fish in the May/June issue of the Walleye In-Sider. Butts is featured on the cover. “The PWT big fish record is in jeopardy when we turn the Super Pros loose on the `Goon,” Kalkofen said.The Super Pros will be fishing with amateurs/co-anglers as their partners. Almost 70 percent of the amateurs are from Canada. They will receive boat-seat seminars for three days – each with a different pro. The pros will provide all the gear and equipment, and share their tactics and secrets with the amateurs. The PWT format is a boat-weight scoring system, with both partners working together to catch the best five fish limit possible. On Wabigoon, they may weigh three walleyes under 18 inches and two that exceed that mark. The top 15 amateurs claim prizes, including Minn Kota trolling motors with the top amateur winning a Lund boat powered by a Mercury outboard. They win other great fishing gear from the PWT sponsors (link to each of these companies on the PWT website). On the pro side, first place is $86,000, including $45,000 cash and a Lund/Mercury 19-foot walleye boat. The Pro payout follows:1st $45,000 cash and a Lund/Mercury 19-foot boat (total $86,000)2nd $20,0003rd $18,0004th $16,0005th $14,0006th $12,0007th $11,5008th $11,0009th $10,50010th $10,00011th $9,00012th $8,50013th $8,00014th $7,00015th $6,00016th to 20th $3,000 each The PWT is working closely with the Dryden Chamber of Commerce (807-223-2622), the City of Dryden and many other local community partners. This is the first excursion into Canada for the PWT tour. It will be remembered as the “first,” because the PWT is returning to Dryden in 2008. The attached schedule contains times and dates for activities throughout the week.The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Baxter, Minnesota, and InterMedia, America’s leading producer of targeted media. PWT promotional partners include: Mercury Marine, Lund Boats, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, Optima Batteries, Minn Kota, Realtree, MotorGuide, Johnsonville Brats, Outdoor Channel, Coleman, Northland Fishing Tackle, The Dow Chemical Company, StowMaster, Reef Runner, Yo-Zuri Quality Lures, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, Kwik Pfyt Mud Flaps, Yellow Bird Planer Boards, Allstar Graphics, Ram Mounts, Element Edge, Pflueger, Plano Tackle Systems, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, E-Cell, Cannon, Fin-Tech Tackle, Do-It Molds & Dryden District Chamber of Commerce, 807.223.2622.