South Dakota Teams Prepare for Bitter Lake Tournament
By Steve Weisman GNWC Publicity Director
Bitter Lake-once a duck slough, now a premier walleye fishery
in northeast South Dakota and the site for the South Dakota
Region's third tournament on the Grand National Walleye Cup
(GNWC). Scheduled for Sunday, June 12, the Bitter Lake Tournament
will offer many challenges to the competing teams. GNWC Executive
Director Bernie Barringer sees an interesting tournament unfolding.
"The history of Bitter Lake is similar to other bodies of water
in northeast South Dakota. For much of its history, it was a
duck slough, and at one time, it was totally dry. Then came
the incredibly wet years in the 1990s, and now you have a walleye
lake with over 20 feet of water." Marsha Block, manager of Fisherman's
Village located on the northeast side of Bitter Lake, says even
though the weather has been up and down this May, walleye fishermen
have had success. "We do have a weedline started, and the fish
have been biting when we get a few days of consistent weather."
Black noted that the walleyes will range from 14 to 24 inches.
"Bitter Lake is full of fresh water shrimp, so the fish grow
fast," added Block. "Much of the lake is flooded farm ground.
So for structure, you will have farmers' rock piles and even
flooded roads." Block believes a consistent, sunny weather pattern
would trigger a good walleye bite. According to Barringer, one
of the exciting parts of the Bitter Lake Tournament is the race
for the "Yamaha Team of the Year" honors in the South Dakota
Region. After two tournaments, Todd Hight from Pierre, SD and
Ron Gunn from Ft. Pierre, SD hold a three point lead over Doug
Iverson from Pierre, SD and Rolfe Behrend from Brookings, SD.
The tournament director will have the trailer at Larry's Landing
from 6-8 p.m. the evening before the tournament to take late
entries and answer questions. Take-off is at 7 a.m. with the
weigh-in commencing at 3 p.m. sharp at Larry's Landing. "I encourage
folks to come to the weigh-in. I look for excellent competition.
The weigh-in is a great opportunity for folks to get a glimpse
at what tournament fishing is all about and to also find out
what the teams did to catch their fish. Also, we will have a
couple of Aqua-Vu underwater cameras set up in our release tanks
so that the public can see how they work," added Barringer.
For those interested in entering, the entry fee remains at $210
per team for each tournament. Openings do still exist for the
Bitter Lake qualifier, and Barringer encourages interested anglers
to contact him at 1-800-890-FISH (3474), or email the GNWC at
email@example.com. "I also encourage people to check out our
website at www.walleyecup.com and see what is happening in all
seven regions of the Grand National Walleye Cup," added Barringer.
Major national sponsors for the GNWC include Skeeter Boats,
Yamaha Outboards, Lowrance Electronics, YoNet Folding Nets by
AMFYOYO, Aqua-VU, Aqua Innovations, Cabela's and UpNorthOutdoors.com.
National championship sponsors are Towtector Shield and the
VIB"E" Lure Company