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  • Updated: 03/04/04

  • March 2, 2004
    Press Release
    For Immediate Release    

    For further information contact:
    Kristine Houtman, Events Director    
    Tel., 952-988-7116    
    Fax, 952-936-9755
    E-mail, khoutman@namginc.com


        Minnetonka, MN-For more than five months, Cabela's Masters Walleye
    Circuit anglers have been suffering from non-tournamentitis.  Their cure is
    at hand however, and soon rods will be bending, reels will be spinning and
    the familiar cry of, "Fish on!" will fill the air.
    Cabela's MWC competition begins March 27 & 28 with the Lindy Legendary
    Tackle Team Tournament to be held on the Illinois River at Spring Valley,
    IL.  This is the 18th consecutive year that the Spring Valley Walleye Club
    (SVWC) is hosting the event, which signifies the official end to the annual
    cabin fever season.  The 220-team field filled in one day with a sizeable
    waiting list.  Teams will be competing for over $107,000 in cash with over
    $28,000 going to the winners.
    At first glance, newcomers to the Illinois River find it hard to believe
    that this off-colored, barge filled waterway is considered the finest sauger
    fishery in North America.  It surrenders its share of walleyes as well.
    Local DNR biologist Mike Cochran oversees the fishery and credits the Clean
    Water Act of 1973 with improving the water quality on the Illinois.  The
    results he states, is a riverway that can support large numbers of forage
    fish which sauger, walleye and other game fish feast upon.  Predators get
    fat on shad, emerald shiners and other minnows. Four-pound saugers are
    common to the system.  Thanks to the DNR's annual fish stocking program
    which is augmented by the gathering of eggs and sperm from tournament caught
    fish and supported by monetary donations from the SVWC as well as the MWC
    Conservation Fund, the future remains bright for this prolific
    fish-producing body of water.
    Last year's event was won by John Broncato (Coal City, IL) and Mark Meravy
    (Shorewood, IL) with a nine fish catch totaling 31.56 lbs.  They quick
    trolled three-way rigs up-river between 10 and 12 feet of water along the
    main channel lip, downstream from the clam bed area.  Their rigs consisted
    of minnow-imitating crankbaits on a 40-inch leader. They also used 1 to 1
    1/4 ¼ ounce jigs tipped with plastic baits on an 8-inch dropper.
    Unlike most major rivers such as the Mississippi, the Illinois lacks wing
    dams, closing dams and riprap shorelines, which serve as fish holding
    current breaks.  The Starved Rock Dam is the most obvious visible river
    structure lying within tournament boundaries which end at the Henry Bridge,
    but angler boat traffic below the dam can be gunnel to gunnel.  The
    downriver side of bridge abutments, barge-docking facilities, barges
    tied-off at the bank, or anything that breaks the river's flow will create a
    fish holding eddy.  Besides the dam area, tournament hot spots include the
    mouth of the Vermilion River, Peru flats, DePue clam beds and the Hennepin
    flats.  Hot lures include Lindy Techni-Glo and Electric Fuzz-E-Grub jigs
    tipped with minnows and Cotton Cordell Grappler Shad crankbaits.
    Daily Illinois River fishing and water conditions are posted on the SVWC
    website, www.spring-valley-walleye.org.   Local tournament director, Mike
    Hurless, may be reached at 815-664-5487.  Further tournament information can
    be obtained at www.masterswalleyecircuit.com, or by calling the MWC
    toll-free at 1-877-893-7947.
    Openings exist in the remaining 2004 MWC tournaments, although the Winnebago
    tournament is nearing capacity at this time.  Entry fee is $600 per team.  
    MWC Central
    Spring Valley, Illinois River, March 27-28
    Oshkosh, WI, Lake Winnebago, June 26-27
    Walker, MN, Leech Lake, September 18-19
    MWC East
    Henderson Harbor, NY, Lake Ontario, May 22-23
    Jamestown, NY, Lake Chautauqua, July 17-18
    Linwood, MI, Saginaw Bay, August 7-8
    In addition to Cabela's, MWC sponsors include-Lindy Legendary Tackle,
    Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats, The Outdoor Channel,
    North American Fishing Club, Smithwick Lures, Cotton Cordell, MotorGuide,
    Daiichi Hooks, Panther Marine, Lure Eyes, Xtreme Sports and Walleye Central

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