Touring Walleye Pros Aiming for Winneconne
Apr 12th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Apr 12th, 2007 at 12:00 AM
With all eyes on Winneconne, Wisconsin, the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail pro anglers and their daily amateur partners are headed there for some hot walleye fishing action.These top-ranked pro anglers will be competing in the Johnsonville Brats Pro-Am, part of the MotorGuide Regional series of high-stakes walleye tournaments. The April 25-27 dates will coincide with typical spring-like weather, according to predictions, and a great walleye population in this sprawling central Wisconsin lake and river system. Anchored by Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, and the upriver lakes of Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan, plus the connecting channels, bays and rivers, and the Fox and Wolf Rivers that spill into the lakes, this tournament provides the greatest variety of options of any PWT tournament waters.Headquarters and the popular spectator weigh-in ceremonies occur at Waterfront Park, just south of the Winneconne bridge. Weigh-in ceremonies begin Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. and are “family-friendly” with a free catfish pond and free rock-climbing wall for youngsters. Doug Nelson, Winneconne businessman and tournament coordinator, said, “This year, the pros will see more and bigger fish. The tagging efforts by the DNR resulted in 10,000 walleyes being tagged, more than ever, and the big males from 20 to 22 inches surprised the biologists, but so did the many female walleyes that were much larger.”Living near the Wolf River his entire life, PWT pro John Kolinski, Greenville, Wis., said, “This year, it could be won anywhere. The fish have spawned in two waves, and will be done when we’re there. The river in Oshkosh could be the key spot, or even Lake Winnebago, but I bet Wolf River will be a solid bet, but trolling in Poygan and around Winneconne could be the answer.” He has a second and a 21st place finish at Winneconne. Last year’s winner Tom Gatzke, Merrill, Wis., who ended up as the 2006 MotorGuide Regional Champion, winning a total of $72,900 said, “My strategy could change this year. Being a week later will put the big spawned-out females in play, and I may gamble for big fish in the lakes. But, really, jigging in the Wolf River is so much fun, you’ll probably see me there.”The PWT conducts tournaments throughout North America. Remaining events on the Regional tour include Mille Lacs in Minnesota and Bay de Noc in Escanaba, Mich, where some amateur/co-angler openings exist. The PWT Super Pro series, presented by MinnKota, with events in Ontario and Minnesota takes place in late summer. PWT news, stats, photos, entry blanks and the Mercury Real-Time Leaderboard are at www.professionalwalleyetrail.com. The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Baxter, Minnesota, and INTER-MEDIA, 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, 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, Winneconne Village 920.582.4851 and the Chamber of Commerce 920.582.4775.