Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lake City NWT Re-cap

The NWT opener is in the books. I almost snuck into the money but ended up 1.64 pounds short with a finish of 41 out of 126 Lake City Results. This has been a hard one to swallow as I can't help but think I let a good opportunity slip away.


I arrived to unseasonably low water conditions which resulted in lower current. Generally this spreads fish out which was the case. Some traditional areas were dead water with some new areas coming into play. I spent Saturday and Sunday with my friend Chad Setterholm. We didn't exactly get off to a great start!

After an unsuccessful check of the upper portion of Pool 4 I thought of stopping at my friend Gary Nissan's favorite spot on the river, the Harbor Bar. We didn't want to ruin Gary's spot so we continued down river.

We checked out a few spots I have had success in the past. There wasn't much current but we did manage to connect with a couple of decent fish including this slimy thing! During the tournament my co-angler caught one close to 20 pounds, so much for that crank bait.

On Sunday I ran up to pool 3. The bite was a lot slower than I was expecting but we did manage to get 6 legals. The biggest surprise were the number of male walleyes we caught that were still milting. 

I had a feeling the bite would get better as the week went along. For the most part that was the case. I went back to pool 4 on Monday and caught 4 pretty nice fish but they were in 4 different spots doing three different things. I caught one pitching a jig and plastic in 3' of water. This had me pretty excited as the area was full of bait fish and I thought I might have found something. I spent three hours in that area on Tuesday only to find the bait fish were gone and so were the walleyes. I couldn't count on this area so I only used it as an area to check out if needed.

I headed back up to Pool 3 for the afternoon on Tuesday and Wednesday. The bite was improving and bigger fish started showing up in my spots. I fished with Co-angler Sargeant Richard Wright on Wednesday and we caught 10 keepers before 11 AM.

About 10 AM I pulled into a spot and we caught two nice fish right away and I lost one. Holy crap this spot was unbelievable! Realistically I didn't think I could win it there but I did think with that spot and others I could weigh 16-20 pounds a day. It was also a spot where 7-9 pounders might show up so I was feeling pretty good!

Day 1

I had a tough time sleeping the night before and had a few dry heaves before I left my hotel. I was in the first flight and had to be back at 3:00. With a long run and having to go through the lock I knew I had to be efficient and I was nervous. I had a great co-angler and we were on fish right away. We had a 22" and a 20" walleye within 10 minutes of getting to the spot and within the first hour we had another 20" and 18" walleye. This was a no-cull tournament which meant once you put the 7th in the live well your day was over. With weighing the best 5 I just threw in the 18 incher's as insurance hoping not to need them. 

Unfortunately, that was it, we did not catch another walleye all day. In fact we didn't even have one on! What in the wide world of sports was going on? I still can't believe it! We hammered that spot and I hit all of my others and we came up empty. I limped into the weigh-in with 4 fish that weighed 10.66 pounds which was good for around 79th place. You can't win it on day one but you sure can lose it!

Day 2

I was a little more relaxed going into day two and had another good co-angler. My plan was the same as day one, I felt my spots had the potential to get me into the money. The day was a reversal of day one. My "hot" spot was anything but that as we spent about 90 minutes with nothing to show for our efforts. I then went spot hopping and finally connected with a 23" walleye. About 8 spots later I connected with a 15" walleye that I was embarrassed to put in the live well but with the way the day was going I put it in the box. 

My other spots produced nothing including the spot I caught the 23. We made another attempt and my "hot" spot with no luck. It was about 2:30 so I went back downstream hoping my other spots would produce. I finally connected with an 18 inch walleye. I told my co-angler "You are going to think I am crazy but we are going back to that spot." He said "the one we have fished all day and haven't caught anything?" I said yes and just asked him to stay with it as it was the only place I had confidence that we could catch fish that would give us a chance.

We worked over the area again with the same luck. I looked back and my co-angler was in la la land probably thinking of how fast he could get on the road which was understandable. He didn't believe me when I said "FISH!" I think he said no way, are you serious and a few other words I will leave out. It wasn't a monster but it was a 22 inch walleye and it was number four. About 5 minutes later he had one hit right at the boat and it was a 25 incher. All of a sudden we have an outside shot at the money as we figured we had around 16 pounds. We needed to upgrade that 15 incher. Unfortunately that didn't happen and we had to go to make the lock. We tried a couple of spots on Pool 4 and I actually had one on that probably would have helped but it is hard to tell if it would have been enough.

We ended up with 15.85 pounds. Only catching four on day one was the difference. I did feel I had a good plan and fished a clean tournament. That doesn't make me feel any better as this one is going to sting for a while. Luckily Leech Lake is only 3 weeks away. I have never fished Leech but I am anxious to try some things I have learned over the years on Lake Mendota. Keep an eye on my Facebook Page, Roy Vivian, for updates.

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