Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour to kick off season on Detroit River
Mar 23rd, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Mar 23rd, 2007 at 12:00 AM
TRENTON, Mich. – The Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, now in its seventh season, will hold its first of four qualifying events on the Detroit River in Trenton, Mich., April 11-14. With a $2.71 million total purse, including the no-entry-fee $675,850 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Erie near Cleveland, Ohio, Sept. 27-30, and national television coverage on FSN (Fox Sports Net), the FLW Walleye Tour is bigger and better than ever.A full field of 150 pros and 150 co-anglers will compete in the tournament presented by Yamaha for their share of a $509,300 purse, including as much as $100,000 for the winning pro and $18,000 for the winning co-angler.”The prespawn walleye typically migrate from Lake Erie to Lake St. Clair every year around that time,” said pro Ross Grothe of Northfield, Minn., who won the 2006 Detroit River event with a four-day weight of 82 pounds, 2 ounces. “It’s a major thoroughfare for a substantial number of fish out of Lake Erie, and the tournament usually falls during the time of peak migration.”Grothe said the migration will depend on water temperature and water levels, but he expects the migration to coincide fairly closely with the tournament.”Last year, the fishing got better every day during the tournament,” Grothe said. “And that tells me more and more fish were migrating up on a daily basis.”Grothe said the primary presentations anglers will employ to take walleyes during the tournament are vertical jigging and hand-lining.On Oct. 24, 2006, the Secretary of Agriculture issued a federal order aimed at preventing the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) within the United States. The order prohibits the transportation of live walleyes across state lines from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and international borders from Ontario and Quebec, even if fish are to be returned to the same body of water from which they were caught.As a result of the order, anglers competing in the Detroit River tournament will be restricted to Michigan waters of the river and Lake Erie only.”A lot of the fish taken last year were taken in Canada, so I don’t know if the total weights will be as big as they were last year,” Grothe said. “It’s much less water we will have to concentrate on dissecting for the tournament.”I think the winning weight will be around 68 to 70 pounds,” Grothe added. “I believe the bigger fish have been taken in Canada in past years, but we may get surprised and see weights similar to last year’s.”Elizabeth Park Marina in Trenton will host daily takeoffs each morning at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 23800 Allen Road in Woodhaven, Mich., beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public.Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day and fish for a combined boat weight. Pros compete against other pros, and co-anglers compete against other co-anglers. The full field competes during the three-day opening round for one of 10 final-round slots based on their three-day accumulated weight. Weights carry over to day four, with the winner determined by the heaviest four-day weight.Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 150 points awarded to the winner, 149 to second, 148 for third, and so on. These points determine angler standings. The top 50 pros and 50 co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the 2007 FLW Walleye Tour Championship.The FLW Walleye Tour Championship is the most lucrative event in professional walleye angling, with guaranteed cash awards for the entire field. A guaranteed cash award of $100,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $50,000 will go to the FLW Walleye Tour Championship winner for a total pro award of $150,000. The champion co-angler will win a guaranteed cash award of $11,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $11,000 for a total co-angler award of $22,000.Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour opener on the Detroit River will be broadcast to 80 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on May 13 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to 429 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.Following the Detroit River tournament, the FLW Walleye Tour will visit the Mississippi River in Red Wing, Minn., May 2-5 for an event presented by Evinrude. Devils Lake in Devils Lake, N.D., will host the third regular-season event June 6-9, and the regular season will come to a close with an event presented by Evinrude July 11-14 on Bays de Noc in Escanaba, Mich.Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.