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PIERRE, S.D. (Oct. 5, 2006) - All eyes are on professional walleye angler Scott Allar of Welch, Minn., who caught 10 fish weighing 28 pounds on Lake Oahe during the two-day opening round of the $675,000 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship. After catching five walleyes weighing 15-7 Wednesday with co-angler Keith Strauss of Syracuse, Ind., and five walleyes weighing 12-9 Thursday with co-angler Jimmy Cox of Bono, Ark., Allar will lead 10 pros into the final round, where one of them will win the sport's most prestigious title and as much as $150,000 cash Saturday.
"The fish were pretty steady all day," said Allar, who has earned seven top-10 finishes in his FLW Walleye Tour career, including a second-place showing on the Mississippi River earlier this season. "We lost a big one this morning, but we had five in the boat by 11 a.m. Right now, I feel pretty good about my chances."
Allar topped his closest competitor, Richard Nascak of Winona, Minn., by 1 pound, 5 ounces in the opening round, but weights are zeroed for the start of the finals, so he will have to continue catching quality fish in order to secure his first FLW Walleye Tour victory.
During the opening round, Allar caught his fish by trolling crankbaits just south of the Highway 212 bridge. He's not alone, however, as Nascak, Scott Steil of Richmond, Minn., and Tom Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn., are all fishing the same area. Steil and Brunz, Allar's teammate on tour, both made the cut in fifth and sixth, respectively. That's four of the top six anglers fishing the same area.
"There are some subtle points up there that the fish are relating to," said Nascak, who caught a two-day total of 10 walleyes weighing 26-11. "There are some baitfish, too, but no huge schools like you see down south."
Like Allar, Nascak is trolling crankbaits. Specifically, he is pulling Reef Runners and Shad Raps on Fireline and leadcore. Nascak's biggest asset on the water Thursday, however, turned out to be fellow competitor Bill Ortiz of Richland Center, Wis., who towed him in after Nascak's lower unit went out.
Rounding out the top 10 pros are opening-day leader and BFGoodrich Tires pro Dustin Kjelden of Brookings, S.D. (seven walleyes, 26-6); Richard Franklin of Bemidji, Minn. (eight walleyes, 26-5); Steil (10 walleyes, 26-3); Brunz (10 walleyes, 24-7); Troy Morris of Bismarck, N.D. (10 walleyes, 22-8); Gerrick McComsey of Fort Pierre, S.D. (eight walleyes, 22-8); Kevin McQuoid of Isle, Minn. (eight walleyes, 22-5) and Rick Olson of Mina, S.D. (nine walleyes, 21-2).
Franklin and his co-angler partner Bruce Wingen of Thornton, Colo., made the biggest comebacks of the tournament Thursday thanks to an impressive catch of just three walleyes weighing 15-11 that boosted Franklin from 18th to fourth and Wingen from last place to 20th.The pair's catch included a huge 10-pound, 10-ounce walleye that earned them each the Snickers Big Walleye Award of $500.
"This reservoir has so much bait, it is just incredible," Franklin said. "That fish was the biggest, fattest walleye that I've ever seen that wasn't spawning."
Cox is leading the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of 10 walleyes weighing 26-4. He landed five walleyes weighing 13-11 Wednesday while fishing with pro Ted Takasaki of East Gull Lake, Minn., then added another five walleyes weighing 12-9 to his total Thursday while fishing with Allar. Like the pros, co-angler weights are zeroed for the final round. Co-angler competition, however, ends Friday afternoon with the winner of as much as $22,000 determined by the day's heaviest catch.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are Jerome Chwierut of Lake Villa, Ill. (10 walleyes, 24-0); opening-day leader Flow Swank of Pierre, S.D. (eight walleyes, 23-6); Adam Adler of Oconto Falls, Wis. (eight walleyes, 22-12); Jason Wrosch of Melrose Park, Ill. (seven walleyes, 21-9); Keith Strauss of Syracuse, Ind. (six walleyes, 20-14); Mark Fling of Hudson, Colo. (10 walleyes, 20-12); Darrell Martin of Forest Lake, Minn. (seven walleyes, 19-6); Dana Delp of Lansing, Mich. (eight walleyes, 19-0) and Dewey Watson of Twin Falls, Idaho (six walleyes, 18-11).
Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, and each pair of anglers is allowed to weigh five walleyes. All but two of the fish must be between 14 and 20 inches in length. Two fish over 20 inches may be weighed, and culling is not allowed. This dynamic changes Saturday, however, as only the pros will be fishing. On Saturday, each pro will be allowed to weigh four walleyes, with only one of the fish measuring over 20 inches.
An overall catch of 121 walleyes weighing 303 pounds, 12 ounces crossed the weigh-in stage Thursday, including 11 five-fish limits.
Spring Creek Resort, located on Highway 1804 in Pierre, will host Friday and Saturday's takeoff at 7:30 a.m. Daily weigh-ins starting at 4:30 p.m. will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 1730 North Garfield Road in Pierre. The community is invited to attend takeoffs and weigh-ins as well as the Family Fun Zone, which opens at 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday outside the weigh-in tent at Wal-Mart. The Family Fun Zone features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family.
During each day's weigh-in, fans can register for the chance to win an 1850 Ranger Reata powered by a 175 horsepower Evinrude E-Tec outboard. One lucky fan will be drawn during the final weigh-in Saturday and given the chance to cast a lure at an 8-inch target. If the lure lands in the target, the fan wins. Participants must be present during Saturday's weigh-in to qualify. Additionally, Ranger and Evinrude will offer test rides in the latest models from Ranger Boats on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oahe Marina located at 20439 Marina Loop Road in Ft. Pierre. All activities throughout the week are free.
National television coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship will be provided by FSN (Fox Sports Net) on November 5. "FLW Outdoors" airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time on FSN, which is broadcast to 81 million U.S. households. "FLW Outdoors" is also broadcast internationally to more than 350 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show 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.
The Pierre Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 2006 FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Oahe. For more information, call 1.800.962.2034.
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, Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail, 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 exceeding $37.9 million through 249 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
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.

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