PWT Set to Fish Missouri River in October
Aug 23rd, 2006 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Aug 23rd, 2006 at 12:00 AM
Bismarck is host-city to the prestigious Mercury Championship, the year-end walleye tournament that draws thousands to the Civic Center. The magic weekend for the 2006 In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail celebration is Oct. 13-15. Earlier this season, the PWT had considered fishing Lake Sakakawea, but the location has been switched to the river. “When the PWT Advisory Council suggested fishing the Lake more than a year ago, it seemed like the right direction,” said Jim Kalkofen, PWT executive director. However, at a recent Council meeting, the representatives strongly suggested that fishing take place on the River, with a launch site in or near Bismarck. “Their reasons made sense, and with approval of North Dakota Game & Fish, we made the decision,” Kalkofen said. Local hosts, the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau and North Dakota Tourism, were in agreement. The pro anglers on the Council had talked with most of the field, who wanted to spend more time with their many walleye fans at the Sport Show that occurs in conjunction with the festivities. They wanted to schedule evenings with sponsors who are in town and representing their companies at the Show. “They also preferred a few minutes each evening to rest,”Kalkofen joked. The Council representatives also noted that when plans were made, fuel was about one-third less than currently. They knew the round-trip on the road and on the water each day would lead to a few extra stops at the Tesoro station. Since the original plans were made, the Council reps heard much about the great “bite” on the River last fall. The PWT contestants have fished the Missouri River waters six times at past Championships.Fishing will take place on the river, with waters open from the Garrison Dam to the South Dakota border. Fishing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will be followed by evening weigh-in ceremonies (free to the public) inside the Civic Center. The Championship qualifiers slated to fish will be featured on the website, with more details at www.professionalwalleyetrail.com. The top 30 in the Johnsonville Angler of the Year race are already set. The Number One angler leading the Championship pack is Ron Seelhoff, a past Champion at Bismarck (and the only 6-time PWT winner).Bismarck pro angler Sheldon Meidinger qualified for the Championship. He scored a second place, $17,000 check at the Mille Lacs Pro-Am last week.The final 20 slots will be filled at Bay de Noc next week. The adjacent Exhibit Hall will house the PWT Outdoor Festival (games and free fun for kids) and the Sport Show with fishing, outdoor and hunting exhibitors and local companies showcasing their products and services. The show space is currently being sold; interested parties should contact the PWT office in Brainerd, Minn., 218-824-2552.