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  • Updated: 04/12/04

  • PWT Pro Walleye Anglers Offer River & Lake Fishing Tips; Will Visit Winneconne Soon

        Fishing from Winneconne, Wisconsin for the first time, the
    Optima/Gulp! Pro-Am anglers will experience the famed Fox and Wolf River
    walleye runs.  The In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT)
    professionals and amateurs will fish Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, April
    21 - 23.  

        With the early ice-out, this will be a post-spawn tournament.
    Anglers will discover the migratory nature of Lake Winnebago walleyes, which
    make springtime jaunts of 100 or more miles to spawn.  They move from the
    lakes into the Fox and Wolf Rivers, then into grassy marshes to complete
    their spawning rituals, a process that was nearly complete by Easter this

        These marshes are fed by river water.  Current carries the newly
    hatched fry through the outlets, and downstream.  Anglers should thank the
    Walleyes for Tomorrow conservation organization for their dedication and
    dollars spent refurbishing the marshes.  Their efforts have created hundreds
    of additional acres of spawning habitat, which translates to more successful

        Local Winneconne resort owner and "walleye observer" for decades,
    Doug Nelson said, "This is the most prime this system has been for huge fish
    in 30 years."  He said the great 1996 hatch now consists of many females in
    excess of 24 inches and males from 17 to 20 inches.  Recent hatches have
    been phenomenal.

        The tournament will be conducted from downtown Winneconne, just west
    of Oshkosh.  The PWT is a Pro-Am, and amateurs share and fish with the pro's
    gear in the pro's boat and at the pro's best spots for three days. The fish
    they catch together count for both partners.  The top 40 amateurs and pros
    win $240,000 in great prizes, including a $17,000 Lund/Mercury to the
    winning amateur.  The top pro starts with a $64,000 first-place prize. 

        Lessons learned from the pro anglers will add to the wealth of
    knowledge about the system.  Several pro anglers were asked their "secrets"
    and opinions about the upcoming event.  As an Artificial Challenge, the
    winning pro will receive a cash bonus from Pure Fishing (Berkley) of $7,000
    if at least half the fish brought to the scales were caught on Gulp!,
    PowerBait or Frenzy lures.  The three amateur partners of the winning pro
    will receive $1,000 each.

        Daryl Christensen, Montello, WI:  "Live bait may be a thing of the
    past, because I intend to fish hair jigs most of the tournament.  Mostly,
    I'll swim and bounce them in current or pitch them on top of sand bars and
    slide them down the sides."

        Larry Smith, Berlin, WI (area guide: 920-361-4996):  "This will be
    won on jigs, 3-way rigs or pulling flies.  The mouth of the Wolf, the
    Winneconne area and the river in Oshkosh will be primary spots.  When I pull
    flies, I use one rod with two flies on a 3-way system.  I run two flies off
    the 3-way, keeping the line at 45 degrees, and slowly pumping them.  I use
    two different colored streamers."

        Ken VanOss, Oshkosh, WI:  "In high water, fish where the Wolf dumps
    into Poygan, because the fish head downstream right after spawning.  Jigs
    and minnows, but probably jigs and plastics with larger shad bodies will be
    my choice.  The possibility of shallow crankbait trolling in Poygan (Baby
    ThunderSticks) could be a factor."     

        Carl Grunwaldt, Green Bay, WI:  I'll probably be trolling cranks
    shallow in Poygan and the up-river lakes.  The area from Duck Inn west to
    the river mouth is a favorite spot.  Best lures are shallow Shad Raps or #5
    Shad Raps in clown or shad colors.  If the timing is right, we could see
    some really good weights."

        Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna, WI:  "Like most spring walleye runs, most
    people fish numbers (small males).  I think the winner will figure how to
    catch bigger females.  For instance, pitching jigs or casting cranks shallow
    might be the answer.  The shallows I like are rocky shoals, perhaps clam
    beds, with a sharp break for fish to feed against.  In high, muddy water,
    then I'll look for clean water."

        Gary Gray, Oshkosh, WI (guide: 920-426-2577):  "I predict this will
    be won between Winneconne and the Highway 41 bridge.  The big fish use Lake
    Butte des Morts as a staging area.  It warms quicker and has less current so
    the fish disperse and feed heavily here.  This may be a jigging bite, but
    could be a 3-way rig or trolling small cranks.  If conditions are right,
    slip bobbers on the reefs could work."

        PWT pro anglers, all with their names on both sides of their
    outboards, will be restricted to no-wake speed (maximum of 5 mph) in the
    Wolf River from the railroad bridge at Gills Landing upstream to New London.
    This speed limit will be imposed from Friday, April 16 through the final
    competition day, Friday, April 23.

        Weigh-in festivities (free-of-charge) will be held in the Winneconne
    park just south of the bridge, on the west side of the river.  Be there at 3
    p.m. daily, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, April 21-23.  To "watch" the
    weigh-in at home or work, follow along with immediate results as soon as the
    anglers cross the stage on the Real-Time Mercury Scoreboard on the PWT web
    site, www.professionalwalleyetrail.com. 

        The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications
    headquartered in Brainerd, Minnesota, and PRIMEDIA, America's leading
    producer of targeted media. PWT sponsors include: Mercury Marine, Lund,
    Berkley Gulp!, The Outdoor Channel, Trilene, Optima Batteries, Realtree,
    MotorGuide, PowerBait, Lowrance, MinnKota, Frenzy, Gander Mountain, Blue
    Fox, Northland Fishing Tackle, Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle, Coleman,
    Storm, Boat Buckle, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, Kwik Pfyt, Rejuvenade, Eagle
    Trailers, Raymarine, Rapala, Matzuo, Pflueger, Ram rod holders, Drift
    Control, Aqua-Vu, Plano, Beckman and Stowmaster.net.

    Media Photo Ops:

    1. Pros will be in the schools Tuesday afternoon, April 20.  
    2. Pros will conduct a special session to meet youngsters in their boats on
    Saturday, April 17, at Winneconne Middle School, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    3. At daily weigh-in festivities, 3 p.m., April 21-23
    4. At morning take-off, 6:45 a.m., April 21-22-23
    5. At awards ceremonies Friday, April 23, 5:30 p.m.
    6. Fish with a pro prior to the tournament?  Call PWT now to arrange, or the
    pro directly.

    Julie Magnuson
    7819 Highland Scenic Rd.
    Baxter, MN 56425

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