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walleye, walleyes, jigging, jig, jigs

Mercury Outboards MWC OPENER
Record Catch


1999  Masters Walleye circuit Spring Valleye tournament winners  John Renschen and Steve DelainSteve DeLain and John Renschen of Red Wing, Minn., topped a field of 200 teams, winning the Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) 1999 season opener. (Row two Darrell and Jim Culjan 2nd place and Bob Bodin and Scott Mann 3rd place)
Beginning the MWC’s 15th year, the Mercury Outboards Team Walleye Tournament took place March 27-28 on the Illinois River at Spring Valley, Ill., hosted by over 200 volunteers from the Spring Valley Walleye Club.  The tournament is the state’s largest pro-fishing event.DeLain and Renschen collected $15,000 for the win, plus a pair of Big Jon manual downriggers valued at $500 for their second day big basket catch of 18.10 lbs.  It was the first win for the MWC veterans, who weighed an allowable ten fish limit (all saugers) totaling 34.70 lbs., a 3.43 lb. average.
The winners fished an area approximately three miles down river from the Hennepin bridge in depths between 10 and 13 feet. According to Renschen, “We used 28 lb. test leadcore line with three foot Berkley Trilene FireLine 14 lb. test leaders.  We trolled upriver just under 3 m.p.h., sometimes faster.”DeLain added, “On Saturday, we caught most of our fish between eleven and one o’clock.  Blue and chrome #7 Shad Raps worked best.  Today [Sun.] the morning bite was good, and they went for chartreuse or firetiger colors.”
DeLain, a Minnesota DNR fisheries employee, believes the Illinois River to be one of the top sauger producers in the country.  He commented, “The habitat is ideal for this species, and the restocking program is really paying off.”
Second place went to Darrell “Buster” Culjan (Ottawa, Ill.) and James Culjan (Princeton, Ill.), who weighed 32.95 lbs., worth $6,000.  The pair vertical jigged the clam beds adjacent to Depue Lake, using a variety of two-tone colored 3/8 oz. to 3 /4 oz. jigs tipped with chartreuse sparkle tail plastic grubs.
First day leaders, Bob Bodin and Scott Mann of Red Wing, Minn., took third place and $4,500.  They were also awarded a Goldeneye Products Panther auxiliary engine lift valued at $500 for their first day big basket catch of 18.65 lbs.  The team fished similar areas and techniques as the winners. The top 35 teams shared the $52,000 cash purse.  An additional $6,950 was paid in big fish prizes, for a total of $58,950.
Donald Solis (Perronville, Mich.) caught the tourney’s largest fish, a 5.0 lb. sauger, and received a $1,000 Mercury Outboards engine rebate. 

Record Catch
Weather & water conditions were nearly ideal.  Only one team failed to weigh fish.  An Illinois River  tournament record was set for a 200 team field:  1,726 fish were caught weighing 4,327.05 lbs., a 2.50 lb. average. DNR Illinois River Project Manager, Mike Cochran, and his crew assisted at the weigh-ins.  All of the fish were conveyed to the LaSalle, Ill. hatchery, where they will be stripped of eggs and milt for restocking purposes.  Cochran told the large weigh-in crowds that the project has been so successful, fry and fingerling offspring from tournament-caught fish are now being stocked throughout the state.
The MWC Conservation Fund donated $2,000 towards the stocking project.  Pete Wuebker, Director of Marketing for Wildlife Forever (WF), was present and advised that WF would match the donation.  To date, combined MWC and WF donations to the Illinois restocking project have totaled nearly $45,000.  The MWC Conservation Fund has donated over $194,000 to fisheries projects in states where MWC tournaments are held.
The second stop on the MWC is the Berkley Trilene/Lindy Little Joe Team Tournament, May 22-23, on Big Stone Lake at Ortonville, Minn.  For more information, contact the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at 320-839-3284 or the MWC at 414-761-0657.

The MWC is a nonprofit corporation which conducts a series of professionally run fishing tournaments at which family participation and conservation of fishery resources are stressed.  All MWC tournaments are catch and release.
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Rank    1st Partner         City    State   2nd Partner     City    State                   Lbs.    Winnings
1       Steve DeLain        Red Wing        MN      John Renschen   Red Wing        MN      34.70   $15,000
2       Darrell Culjan      Ottawa          IL      James Culjan    Princeton       IL      32.95   6,000
3       Robert Bodin        Red Wing        MN      Scott Mann      Red Wing        MN      32.65   4,500
4*      John Balla          Bartlett        IL      Kevin Byrne     Warrenville     IL      32.45   3,300
5       Craig Anderson      Mound           MN      Eric Anderson   Mound           MN      32.45   2,200
6*      Glen Pyle           Westchester     IL      Jeff Tartol     Westchester     IL      32.40   1,250
7       Jeffrey Adams       Eagle           WI      Bradley West    Palmyra         WI      32.40   1,250
8       Pat Byle            Colgate         WI      Jim SchiefelbeinMarseilles      IL      31.35   1,250
9       James Balzarine     Spring Valley   IL      Ken Tonelli     Spring Valley   IL      31.20   1,250
10*     Bill Leonard        Estherville     IA      Wayne Stensrud  Madison         MN      31.15   1,250
11      Dean Arnoldussen    Kaukauna        WI      Jim Swinkles    Kaukauna        WI      31.15   900
12      Blaine Hornes       Neenah          WI      Chris Schrader  Larsen          WI      31.05   900
13      Lorraine Miller     Yorkville       IL      Tom Miller      Yorkville       IL      30.95   900
14*     Mark Keenan         Appleton        WI      Tom Keenan      Hatley          WI      30.85   900
15      Kim Papineau        Escanaba        MI      Glenn Wangerin  Escanaba        MI      30.85   900     
16      Scott Strangstalien Coon Valley     WI      Steve Tauscher  Holmen          WI      30.70   750
17      Scot Hastings       Carol Stream    IL      Troy Nelson     Villa Park      IL      30.05   750
18      Patrick Neu         Forestville     WI      Mike Schaefer   Brookfield      WI      29.60   750
19      Tom Espinoza        Oglesby         IL      Jare Kohn       Rochelle        IL      29.55   750
20      Kelly Deets         Coleta          IL      Tommy Skarlis   Waterloo        IA      29.40   750
21      Richard Dobbs       Woodridge       IL      Bill Elder      Utica           IL      29.25   500
22      James Ott           Maple Park      IL      Dennis Pieper   South Elgin     IL      29.10   500
23      Jeff Marusich       Spring Valley   IL      Gary Merkel     Spring Valley   IL      29.00   500
24      John Campbell       Cedar Rapids    IA      Kevin Campbell  Rock Falls      IL      28.90   500
25*     Kevin Dahl          Muskego         WI      Steven Stack    Muskego         WI      28.70   500
26      Ronald DeGraaf      Frankfort       IL      Roy Perez       Depue           IL      28.70   400
27*     Carol Chenier       Gladstone       MI      Glenn Chenier   Gladstone       MI      28.40   400
28      Gary Dalzot         Spring Valley   IL      John Dalzot     Spring Valley   IL      28.40   400
29      Jerry Tipping       Milton          WI      Kay Tipping     Milton          WI      28.40   400
30*     Scott Allar         Welch           MN      Tom Diercks     Hager City      WI      28.35   400
31      Jay Janny           Eagle           WI      Kyle Morgan     Horicon         WI      28.35   400
32      Ralph Muccilli      Menomonee Falls WI      Max Streichert  Escanaba        MI      28.20   400
33      Adam Sandor         Ottawa          IL      Steve Sandor    Ottawa          IL      28.15   400
34*     Scott Duncan        Spring Grove    IL      Vincent Rizzo   Round Lake      IL      28.00   400
35      Scott Carlson       Hastings        MN      Ralph Diercks   Red Wing        MN      28.00   400
*Won Tie Breaker          CASH PAYOUT  =  $52,000
 Big Fish Pot (Three daily prizes:  $1,500; $1,000; $975)         6,950                           TOTAL CASH PAYOUT  =  $58,950
 Mercury Outboards Big Fish Award - $1,000 Engine Rebate                                      =======
 Donald Solis, Perronville, MI - 5.00 lbs. (sauger) 

 Big Basket Awards: Day 1 - Robert Bodin & Scott Mann, Red Wing, MN, 18.65 lbs., Goldeneye Panther Auxiliary Motor Lift (value $500)
                                  Day 2 - Steve DeLain & John Renschen, Red Wing, MN, 18.10 lbs., Big Jon Manual Downriggers (value $500)

Stats:  Teams Entered: 200;   Fish Caught: 1,726;   Weight: 4,327.05 lb.

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