National Walleye Tour Presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Adds AFTCO as Sponsor for 2020 Season

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (February 19, 2020) – The National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s adds American Fishing Tackle Company (AFTCO) to their list of sponsors for the 2020 season. The partnership was finalized as the NWT prepares to open the season on Lake Francis Case on April 30.

“AFTCO is the go-to company for the ultimate in sun protection for anglers and now features all the clothing our competitors will need,” said NWT Tournament Director Anthony Wright. “Our industry partners are instrumental to providing a well-run competition. With their support, our tournament anglers are sure to have another great season in 2020.

AFTCO began in 1958 and is a 3rd generation family owned company dedicated to making the best quality fishing equipment and apparel while promoting conservation. The driving principle behind AFTCO’s growth has always been a passion for conservation. AFTCO donates 10% of their sales to directly support conservation initiatives across the country and looks forward to bringing those initiatives to the NWT.  

“The NWT offers the ideal arena to showcase our products,” said AFTCO President Casey Shedd. “The NWT competitors are avid anglers and many spend hundreds of days on the water. The wide range of temperatures they encounter make clothing very important to them. Our products help these anglers get the most out of their time fishing. We are looking forward to being a part of the NWT this season.” 

As always, all NWT events will deliver 100 percent payback. A fully rigged Ranger 1880, plus cash, is guaranteed for first place at each event – a minimum total value of $61,000. First-place also offers potential boat and motor upgrades. Anglers that fish all three regular-season events, in addition to the top points leaders, will qualify for the three-day, entry-fee championship.  

The National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s includes unmatched television and media coverage, allowing a national audience to watch the action unfold from each event throughout the season. Airing on multiple networks, the NWT will be seen on the Pursuit Channel, CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports Net North, Comcast Chicago SportsNet, WildTV Canada and the World Fishing Network.

NWT logo

NOW STREAMING ON OUTDOOR ACTION TV – 2019 NWT Championship Day 3

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (November 21, 2019) –Now streaming on Outdoor Action TV, live coverage from day 3 of the National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Championship! The final day of the 2019 National Walleye Tour Championship is here and we’re crowing this season’s Pro and Co Champions at Devils Lake, ND! Catch the excitement now!

Download ‘Outdoor Action TV’ on your iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV and start watching NOW!

Watch the 2019 NWT Championship Day 3

Four years ago, John Hoyer decided to commence his transition from guide and co-angler to professional walleye fisherman. His teammates and travel partners knew he was ready. After all, in 2015 he won the Co-angler of the Year award on the National Walleye Tour, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. What they didn’t know was that Hoyer would soon become the hottest walleye stick on the planet. In his last three NWT events, Hoyer has finished first, second and first. The one common denominator from each event is casting. Hoyer’s latest casting crusade came at Devils Lake during the premier event in walleye fishing.

Hoyer started the final day of the championship essentially tied with friend Dusty Minke. While Minke had an excellent final day, Hoyer put the hammer down with a 24.59-pound limit. He fished six different spots in East Devils Lake, but one clearly stood apart from the rest.

Hoyer’s three-day cumulative total was 67.73 pounds. He hasn’t had the time to fully process his latest achievement.

For winning the biggest event in competitive walleye fishing, Hoyer earned a Ranger 621 FS with a 300 horsepower Mercury outboard, $15,000 cash, and another $2,225 in Anglers Advantage cash for a total purse of $97,320.

Tommy Kemos had one of the best tournament days of his career, but it wasn’t quite enough to take the title. Coincidentally, he and Hoyer each recorded identical 24.59-pound stringers today, meaning he finished .43 pounds behind with a total of 67.30.

For second place, Kemos earned a fully equipped Triton-Mercury package plus $2,925 in bonuses.

After a run-and-gun, sporadic day, Minke thought maybe he won the tournament when he stroked a 27-incher with just five minutes left to fish.

While Hoyer was on the east side, Minke stayed west and worked three different patterns near Grahams Island and in Pelican Bay. He weighed 14 fish in three days with nearly an even split between the three.

With a three-day total of 14 walleyes weighing 65.02 pounds, Minke earned $15,900.

Fishing the same area as Hoyer, Bismarck, N.D., angler Greg Ehli was been remarkably consistent all week. On day one, he caught 20.82. On day two, he caught 20.26, and today he managed 20.11. This consistency resulted in a three-day total weight of 61.19 pounds, which placed him fourth.

Finishing fifth was Angler of the Year Tom Keenan. While Keenan was tied for second in the AOY race coming into the championship, he was still considered a longshot. He started 20 points back of pro Brett King, who claimed the 2018 AOY. On day one, Keenan and King were both in the top 10. On day two, the race completely turned upside down as King only managed two small keepers. In the process, he tumbled to 36th while Keenan made the top-10 cut. Keenan finished his final season with 756 points while King accumulated 745.

To catch up on the 2019 season, download the Outdoor Action TV app or click here.

Catch up with these programs and so much more now! Watch for new content every single week – Enjoy!

NEW ON OUTDOOR ACTION TV – 2019 NWT Championship Day 1 and Day 2

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (November 18, 2019) — Get all this coverage and more to stream on your television, computer, or smart phone NOW! Download the ‘Outdoor Action TV’ App directly to your iOS or Android smart phone, Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV device, or visit our website at: www.OutdoorActionTV.com for all FREE 24/7 viewing!

New this week on Outdoor Action TV, the National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s hits the water for the final event of the season. Back to an angler favorite walleye lake for the 2019 National Walleye Tour Championship — Devils Lake, ND! Follow along as we cover competition from the first two days and see how the anglers are catching them. Find out which Pro and Co anglers will be leading into the final day.

2019 NWT Championship Day 1 and Day 2

Wicked weather during practice for the 2019 National Walleye Tour Championship, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, had the world’s best walleye anglers singing the tough-bite blues. A severe cold front, which felt more like winter than early fall, had many pros believing the sport’s premier event would be a grinder. Instead, the Devils Lake walleyes went on the chew as 16 pros weighed stringers in excess of 20 pounds. Leading the three-day championship after day one is veteran stick Mike Gofron with 28.22.

After a weather postponement on Thursday, the 2019 National Walleye Tour Championship, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, resumed competition Friday. While the weather was still blustery, a shift in direction from the northeast to the northwest allowed the anglers to safely compete. For some, the change in wind resulted in improved fishing, but for most, it was a major curveball. Minnesota pros Dusty Minke and John Hoyer adapted to the changing conditions and are essentially tied as walleye fishing’s premier event moves to its final stage.

Minke weighed only four walleyes Friday, but two of the four were giants – an 8-pounder and a 7-pounder. His official weight was 18.11, which pushed his total to 43.18 pounds. Minke also lost a good fish trolling, one that would have given him some cushion.

Fresh off a second-place finish at Sault Ste. Marie and a win on Green Bay, Hoyer looks nearly invincible. On day one, he boated 22.19, and today he caught 20.95 for a two-day total of 43.14 pounds.

Tommy Kemos wasn’t one of the 16 pros to surpass 20 pounds on day one, but he was close. He officially recorded five walleyes for 19.49 pounds. Today he soared to third place after weighing 23.22 pounds. With a two-day total of 42.71, he’s positioned less than a pound off the lead.

Rounding out the top five are pros Kent Anderson and Greg Ehli. Anderson, the son of the late David Andersen, caught a limit today weighing 22.82 pounds. Combined with his 19.62 from day one, the Amery, Wis., pro starts the final round with a total of 42.44. Ehli, the Bismarck, N.D., angler, has been remarkably consistent – catching limits of 20.82 and 20.26 for a cumulative weight of 41.08 pounds.

To catch up on the 2019 season, download the Outdoor Action TV app or click here.

Outdoor Action TV, continues its growth as one of the largest streaming video networks available for outdoors enthusiasts. This FREE television and mobile digital streaming platform gives outdoor enthusiasts the latest hunting and fishing          programming at their fingertips for 24 hour a day 7 day a week viewing.

Being available across many different digital outlets ensures that Outdoor Action TV can meet the viewing needs of everyone – whether you want to watch programming from your mobile device, computer, or television. Go to www.OutdoorActionTV.com, or download the Outdoor Action TV app via Roku, Amazon TV, or Apple TV, iOS and Android.

In addition to traditional programming fishing and hunting content from around the world, Outdoor Action TV features live weigh-ins for some of the hottest fishing tournaments, including National Walleye Tour, IFA Redfish Tour, Texas Team Trail, and the ACA Collegiate Bass Fishing Series. Not only can weigh-ins be viewed live, but they are also archived for later viewing or watching over and over again.   Stay tuned for additional news on upcoming live fishing events from the water coming to this platform.

Catch up with these programs and so much more now! Watch for new content every single week – Enjoy!

NEW ON OUTDOOR ACTION TV – National Walleye Tour 2019 Season Overview & Championship Preview

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – New this week on Outdoor Action TV, the National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s gears up for the final showdown. The most anticipated event of the season – the 2019 National Walleye Tour CHAMPIONSHIP – is coming up soon! We take a look at the season, past Championships, and the Lucas Oil Angler of the Year race!Get all this coverage and more to stream on your television, computer, or smart phone NOW! Download the ‘Outdoor Action TV’ App directly to your iOS or Android smart phone, Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV device, or visit our website at: www.OutdoorActionTV.com for all FREE 24/7 viewing!Watch National Walleye Tour 2019 Overview & Championship Preview

For the third time in its seven-year existence, the National Walleye Tour, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, will hold its championship on North Dakota’s Devils Lake. The season-ending event, held Sept. 11-13, is the world championship of professional walleye fishing, awarding two fully-rigged boat packages and determining who claims the coveted Angler of the Year award. Devils Lake delivers the perfect playground as a wide variety of presentations will be employed on North Dakota’s largest natural lake, known as “Sportsman’s Paradise.”Leading the AOY race after three events with 580 points is Lowrance pro Brett King. The 49-year-old King dramatically rose from third to claim last year’s AOY title and is now positioned to become the first pro to win AOY back to back.“Obviously going back to back would be incredible; I would love to add it to the list,” King offered. “I remember I won the AIM Angler of the Year in 2011 and I had a chance to go back to back and win the FLW in 2012, but I finished third. I’ve always left that one on the shelf thinking it would be cool. Fortunately, I now have the chance. It doesn’t happen very often, and chances are it won’t happen again.”King continued to build a reputation this year as a risk taker, often venturing on extensive runs in search of tournament-winning walleyes.“You either go for it, or you play conservative. More often than not, going for it works. The interesting part is that I haven’t had a tournament where I’ve got a limit both days. I was short one fish on Winnebago, one fish at Marinette, and two at the “Soo.” Last year, I felt fortunate to win AOY coming in without a limit on just one day. I’ve already had three of those days this year.”King described Devils as a “fun, but challenging venue.” What startles him is a scarcity of walleyes between 18 and 24 inches.“It seems that there’s a pile of 15- to 17-inch fish; it just seems really hard to separate yourself from the field. It’s not like going to Marinette and getting three big bites. When you’re stacking a field, half a pound is a lot. That can mean 20 spots (on the leaderboard). They key is going to be unlocking a few of those mid-20s fish. Those are the separators, and that’s the challenge that’s laid in front of us. Devils always seems to be about finding the next sunken road, or the next rock pile that’s just right, or the freshest weeds that are just right. And that’s what I hope it is this year.Forget what you know and go learn from actually fishing.”Trailing King are fellow Wisconsin pros Korey Sprengel and Tom Keenan, both of whom are sitting on 560 points. While King possesses a substantial lead, he has two of the most credentialed fishermen in the sport breathing down his neck.“They’re both incredible anglers,” King said of Sprengel and Keenan. “Just being 20 points ahead of them after three events is incredible. It’s certainly a different race this year. Last year, I was 12 points back heading into the championship. This year, if I can be fortunate enough to be in the cut, I won’t have to worry about Angler of the Year. I’d love to make a run and win the championship itself. I’ve won smaller championships, but never a major one. It’s one of the last things I want to do.”Working against King is Sprengel’s history on Devils, which includes a 2014 MWC victory. In addition, Sprengel puts in 60 to 70 days per year on Devils as an ice fishing guide for the Perch Patrol Guide Service.“There’s a lot of tournament history on Devils Lake, so there are few secrets,” said Sprengel, the Berkley pro. “The interesting thing is that every year is a little bit different. It’s like turning over a new leaf. Lately, the water has leveled off, and it’s fishing more like a lake.”For many years, Pelican Bay, located on the northwest side of the lake, was popular with tournament anglers. Last year, Nussbaum focused on East Devils Lake and East Bay.“The East Lake is just deeper, cooler. and there’s a ton of perch,” explained Sprengel. “They don’t have any reason to leave, so they end up staying out there. But now East Lake is getting overcrowded. The bite has been great all summer, but they don’t reload like they used to. I know some big bags were caught this summer on the main lake too. Overall, I think it’s going to take between 65 to 67 pounds to win it. Twenty pounds a day is definitely doable. It depends when that first summer cooldown arrives.”Despite all his accolades, Sprengel has never won the NWT AOY. In 2013, he accumulated the same number of points (757) as Robert Blosser, but lost in a tiebreaker.“Being 20 points back is not where I want to be, but it’s still doable. I threw fish back at Winnebago and fished too aggressively at Green Bay and didn’t come in with a limit. It can still happen. It’s Devils Lake, so the weights will be tight. I’m not even thinking about Angler of the Year though. Whenever I think about it, it never happens. It’s always my goal to stay consistent and finish in the top 10 in the standings. If I do that, it will happen one of these years.”“I hope it’s a slam dunk; I hope there’s no suspense,” concluded King. “But this field is an incredible bunch of fishermen. You gotta bring it, period. I would not doubt for one minute that this one will come down to the wire again.”To catch up on the 2019 season, download the Outdoor Action TV app or click here.Outdoor Action TV, continues its growth as one of the largest streaming video networks available for outdoors enthusiasts. This FREE television and mobile digital streaming platform gives outdoor enthusiasts the latest hunting and fishing programming at their fingertips for 24 hour a day 7 day a week viewing.Being available across many different digital outlets ensures that Outdoor Action TV can meet the viewing needs of everyone – whether you want to watch programming from your mobile device, computer, or television. Go to www.OutdoorActionTV.com, or download the Outdoor Action TV app via Roku, Amazon TV, or Apple TV, iOS and Android.In addition to traditional programming fishing and hunting content from around the world, Outdoor Action TV features live weigh-ins for some of the hottest fishing tournaments , including National Walleye Tour, IFA Redfish Tour, Texas Team Trail, and the ACA Collegiate Bass Fishing Series. Not only can weigh-ins be viewed live, but they are also archived for later viewing or watching over and over again.  Stay tuned for additional news on upcoming live fishing events from the water coming to this platform. Catch up with these programs and so much more now! Watch for new content every single week – Enjoy!

National Walleye Tour’s 2020 Schedule Unveiled

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (November 6, 2019) – At the conclusion of its seventh successful season, the National Walleye Tour, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, unveiled an intriguing 2020 schedule, a slate that includes two stops on the Great Lakes and two visits to the Missouri River. Three regular-season tournaments precede the National Walleye Tour Championship, the sport’s premier event, held on North Dakota’s Lake Sakakawea Sept. 9-11.

“I’m always excited, but this schedule is extra special,” said Simms pro John Hoyer, who finished first, second and first at the final three events of the 2019 season. “Overall, this is a big-fish schedule. We could see total-weight records; I’m talking across the board.”

The season commences April 30-May 1 in Chamberlain, S.D., on Lake Francis Case. The sprawling Missouri River impoundment covers 107 miles and encompasses 102,000 acres.

“Chamberlain is a new place for most of the field,” said Bass Pro Shops pro Gary Parsons, who finished 10th in the Angler of the Year standings. “The end of April is usually right after the spawn, and the fishing should be steady. If you go too early in April, it can be hit or miss. At the end of April, it should be really good. Historically, Flicker Shads have been fantastic as well as jigs with plastics and jigs with minnows. Overall, it’s a great piece of tournament water; it’s very diverse.”

“I think Chamberlain is the wildcard this year,” Hoyer offered. “Not a lot of us travel to the Missouri in the spring. Personally, I’m not much of a reservoir fisherman, so it’s a good challenge.”

Stop No. 2, which takes place May 28-29, takes the world’s best walleye anglers to Sandusky, Ohio, for an open-water shootout on Lake Erie, perhaps the best walleye fishery on the planet.

“The Erie tournament is the ultimate postspawn event,” said Hoyer. “The second everything turns postspawn in the western basin, the feeding gets crazy. The end of May will be a fun time to visit. That’s when a lot of people book their yearly trip. I might even have to troll for that one, but that will be the only one where I’m trolling.”

“May tends to be more stable on Erie, but the winning fish could be further east,” Parsons speculated. “Typically, some of the big females have slid east by that time of the year. There are always plenty of fish to be caught; we love to go there because of the big fish.”

Oconto, Wis., hosts the third tournament of the season July 23-24. Lake Michigan’s Green Bay is likewise renowned for its big fish and recently, for its versatility.

“That’s really when the biggest bags come,” said Hoyer, who claimed this year’s Green Bay event via casting. “It could take over 80 pounds to win again. There are so many different things going on. That time of year, Green Bay opens up so many options.”

“The rattlebait bite should be strong, and the Shiver bite might be starting if it’s a hot enough summer,” Parsons predicted. “Oconto at that time of year is a great location. You can go north or south. On any given year, either way could be the place. At times, it happens right at Oconto. By late July, everything in the system is firing. The fishing should be stellar.”

The season concludes Sept. 9-11 in Garrison, N.D. After consistently strong classes starting in 2011, Sakakawea, a giant 368,000-acre river impoundment. possesses a record abundance of walleyes.

“Sakakawea will be amazing,” concluded Hoyer. “That’s the one I’m looking forward to the most. It’s technically a reservoir, but it will fish more like a big lake at that point.

“It’s full of them. The fish are healthy up and down the system. Those 2011 year-class fish will be almost 25 inches. There’s a ton of smelt in the system, and those fish grow super fast. It could take 75 pounds to win the championship. It should be a casters heaven.”

“It’s the same (Missouri) river, but it’s a totally different animal,” Parsons explained. “Francis Case is narrow, while Sakakawea has huge wide areas. It fishes bigger than Oahe. At that time of year, the fish are mostly deep. The bite will be good, but the waves can be huge. There will be some pretty big bags. Figuring it all out is going to be a blast.”

2020 Schedule

April 30-May 1 – Lake Francis Case, Chamberlain, S.D.

May 28-29 – Lake Erie, Sandusky, Ohio

July 23-24 – Green Bay, Oconto, Wis.

Sept. 9-11 – Lake Sakakawea, Garrison, N.D.

Bruegger, Bradach Win Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Event on Lake Winnebago

Tournament pays more than $375,000 to competitors
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (June 1, 2016) – Pro-angler Robert Bruegger, of Wabasha, Minnesota, brought in a two-day total of 42.53 pounds of walleye to win the pro-angler category of the Lake Winnebago event for the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (NWT) at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on May 27.

Thunderstorms and high winds made fishing conditions extremely tough for the Lake Winnebago event with only four 20-pound bags weighed in on day one. Bruegger weighed in an impressive 24.61 pounds the first day and 17.92 pounds on day two, which gave the angler a 2.43-pound edge over second place.

“Fishing these national tournaments gets me out of my comfort zone and forces me to fish more water,” said Bruegger. “It’s an amazing feeling to win at this level. It leaves you without words.”

A die-hard river fisherman, Bruegger has made his mark fishing for walleye on the Mississippi in his home state of Minnesota. His inclination of heading towards the river to fish in this tournament could have cost him the win. Bruegger had been fishing an area a mile or so east of the river mouth and, when the bite slowed, the angler almost left the area.

“I caught a 17-incher fairly early this morning and a couple of hours later a caught a 16-incher,” said Bruegger. “I was preparing to run to the river when it just started pouring rain and all of a sudden the bite turned on. I caught a bunch of fish in 15 minutes, including a 26-incher and a 25-incher.”

Bruegger spent both days trolling spinners with night crawlers in the area where he and his traveling partner had located fish before the tournament.

“I would let out 20 feet of line and then put the board on,” said Bruegger. “I was using a ½-ounce weight and would troll 1 to 1.1 mph. I used bigger crawlers with a three-hook harness.”
Bruegger took home $15,000, and by participating in the Ranger and Evinrude contingency programs, the angler was upgraded to a fully rigged Ranger 620FS with a 250 HP Evinrude outboard. The angler added $2,235 Anglers Advantage cash for a combined purse of $87,235.

John Gillman (second), Scott Cisewski (third), Karl Wenckebach (fourth), Jim Hughes (fifth), Dan Stier (sixth), David Anderson (seventh), Wayne Van Dyke (eighth), Mike Gofron (ninth), and Jacob LaPine (tenth) round out the top 10 pro-anglers.

Jake Bradach, of Gilbert, Minnesota, took first place in the co-angler category. Bradach was paired with Mike Gofron on day one and caught 19.81 pounds. His day two pairing with eventual fourth-place pro Karl Wenckebach gave him 22.10 to retain the co-angler lead.

“This has been a satisfying week,” said Bradach. “When your competitive juices get flowing, it takes fishing to a whole new level. I fished with two great pros and they both taught me so much.”

For his total weight of 41.91 pounds, Bradach earned $6,500, plus another $1,014 in Anglers Advantage cash.

Robert Loose (second), Matt Noordyk (third), Matt Hanken (fourth), Josh Bruce (fifth), Steve Kuchenberg (sixth), Jerry Reyburn (seventh), Bill Vojak (eighth), Gabe Outtrim (ninth) and Rodney Blackwell (tenth) round out the top ten for co-anglers.

The next stop for the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour is set for June 23-24 on Green Bay at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Registrations for the event are already being accepted online and by calling 612-424-0708. Anglers who are participating in any of the numerous contingency prize programs are encouraged to submit all pertinent information before the event to remain eligible for any potential bonus money.

Anglers that have fished all three regular-season events, in addition to the top points leaders, will qualify for the three-day, entry-fee championship. Two fully rigged Ranger boats are guaranteed for the championship event. The first-place finisher in the pro division will take home a new Ranger 619FS Fisherman, plus $15,000 cash for a total prize value of $79,000. In addition, the second-place pro receives a new Ranger 1880 Angler valued at $46,000. Both figures have the opportunity to go even higher with sponsor contingency. Likewise, the winner of the Co-Angler category will take home $6,000 cash, with the opportunity to nearly double with contingency money thanks to NWT sponsors.

For more details, anglers are encouraged to call 612-424-0708 or check out the website at www.nationalwalleyetour.com. From here, site visitors can learn more about the NWT, view the TV schedule and learn more about what’s in store for 2016.
2016 NWT scheduled events:
June 23-24 – Green Bay (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.)

Championship – Aug. 3-5 – Lake Oahe (Mobridge, S.D.)

Stachowski and Bruce Win Lucas Oil Angler of the Year Awards for Cabela’s National Walleye Tour

Pro- and co-anglers win Lucas Oil AOY Rings and paid entry fees for 2017 season
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (August 25, 2016) – The 2016 season for the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (NWT) came to a close earlier this month on Lake Oahe in South Dakota with pro-angler Ed Stachowski and co-angler Josh Bruce rising to the top and winning the Lucas Oil Angler of the Year (AOY) titles. Along with custom Lucas Oil AOY rings, both anglers earned paid entry fees for the 2017 NWT season.

The Lucas Oil Angler of the Year marks the first major title in Stachowski’s five-year pro career.
“To do better than everyone over the course of a season is pretty huge to me,” said Stachowski. “It proves that I have the skills to compete on any body of water.”

Pro-angler Ed Stachowski holds with his Pro-Angler of the Year trophy
at the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour championship event
at Mobridge, S.D., on Aug. 8.

The NWT AOY goes to the angler who consistently performs throughout the season. Stachowski took eighth place at Lake Erie and followed with 11th-place at Winnebago. The angler’s 35th-place at Sturgeon Bay put the potential title in jeopardy.

“I was sitting in second place behind my travel partner after Winnebago and felt I had a shot,” said Stachowski. “The third event made me a bit nervous. I scraped into the money there. I haven’t had a good history at Sturgeon Bay.”

Stachowski regrouped and showed up strong at the championship event on Lake Oahe with an 11th-place finish to wrap up the title.

“It’s a monstrous accomplishment for me,” said Stachowski. “It’s a huge honor with the caliber of fishermen on the NWT. That being said, I didn’t go into the tournament trying to win AOY. I was trying to win the championship. To just miss the top 10 is bittersweet. Still, it’s a huge feeling of accomplishment. I’ve had some good tournaments, but this is the first time that I’ve put it together for the whole year.”

Josh Bruce, of Williston, North Dakota, won the NWT Co-Angler of the Year title. The angler fished two NWT events last year and competed in his first full season in 2016.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Bruce. “I’ve had my ups and downs through the year, but it kind of worked out.”

Co-anglers are randomly paired with different pros each day of a tournament. Over the course of the 2016 season, Bruce soaked up knowledge from the pro-anglers on new techniques and how to fish unfamiliar waters.

“It’s a total different experience,” said Bruce. “You learn so many different things and get to fish these different bodies of water. That’s one of the main reasons for fishing as a co-angler. It’s a whole new ballgame. You’re finding fish in spots you hadn’t thought about.”

Being paired with so many different pro-anglers also gave Bruce insight to the mental aspect of managing expectations and fighting through a tough day of fishing.

“Some guys have rough days and that happens to everyone,” said Bruce. “Some handle it totally different than others. You feed off of it. If he is feeling confident, you just feel it.”

With paid entry fees paid for the 2017 season, Bruce hopes to follow up his 2016 performance with another title and is keeping the possibility of turning pro in the back of his mind.

“I am definitely going to run on the co-angler side next year,” said Bruce. “Turning pro is out of the question for me right now, but you got to play it year by year. I hope to someday get to that level.”

For more details, anglers are encouraged to call 612-424-0708 or check out the website at www.nationalwalleyetour.com. From here, site visitors can learn more about the NWT, view the TV schedule and learn more about what’s in store for 2017 season.

Insider Report: Gofron’s 28 pounds leads NWT Championship

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – Wicked weather during practice for the 2019 National Walleye Tour Championship, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, had the world’s best walleye anglers singing the tough-bite blues. A severe cold front, which felt more like winter than early fall, had many pros believing the sport’s premier event would be a grinder. Instead, the Devils Lake walleyes went on the chew as 16 pros weighed stringers in excess of 20 pounds. Leading the three-day championship after day one is veteran stick Mike Gofron with 28.22.During prefishing, Gofron noticed an increase of shallow bait. That keen observation was critical to his early success.“I have two distinct patterns – one shallow and one deep,” said the Mercury pro. “I’m spending about 75 percent of my time shallow, but the shallow bite is just materializing. It’s not there yet. It’s like musky fishing. You’re not going to catch a bunch of fish, but there are big ones to be had. You’re looking for certain areas where they’re relating from the past.”Gofron is optimistic for two reasons. The first is that he had his primary area all to himself today. Secondly, the recency of his pattern indicates his area is more apt to reload.“To catch our fish, we’re doing some jigging, and we’re also using some Berkley soft plastics and Berkley hard plastics. For now, all I can say is that it’s fun the way we’re fishing. It’s incredible.”The Antioch, Ill., native started the day fairly close to Grahams Island only to leave an hour later with one 16-incher in the livewell. He then made a healthy run east to his primary area. There he boxed a 27, a 23, an 18, a 16, a 27, and a 23. He eventually ran back to his starting area and finished the day with a 25-incher.“We were done around 1:30 p.m. I checked in early, but I waited for the first flight to weigh-in so my mom could watch the live stream and see us up on stage.”The one factor working against Gofron could be the weather. More specifically, tomorrow’s forecasted wind won’t impact his primary area, but it could be a rough boat ride. Sustained northeasterly winds of 19 mph are predicted with gusts up to 30. In addition, Devils Lake could receive another inch or more of rain.“The problem could be getting there,” Gofron concluded. We could have 4- and 5- footers in the morning, and it’s quite a ways away. I think I can get there if I take my time and take it easy.”Hanson secondLocal Mayville, N.D., pro Curt Hanson trails Gofron by less than three pounds. His 25.56-pound stringer was anchored by a 29 1/2-inch kicker.“We caught a few smaller ones early,” said Hanson, who is competing in his first NWT Championship. “Around midday we found a good spot and caught the big one. At the end of the day, we finished with our second biggest, a 24-incher.”Hanson said his three other weigh fish were 22, 20, and 20 inches. He hit a handful of spots, a mix of both shallow and deep.“I’m starting shallow, then working a few deep spots, then going back shallow. They’re in transition. I think they’re working their way to the 15- and 20-foot range. I think the wind is helping. The water temperature has dropped 10 degrees in the last week. It’s now 62.”Hanson predicted tomorrow’s blustery weather could hurt those that are jigging out deep.“I still think it will take 65 to 70 pounds to win. I was surprised to see so many bags over 20 pounds today. This time of year it’s tough to get 20 pounds, but it’s much harder to do it three days in a row.”Minke thirdIn third place with 25.07 pounds is Minnesota pro Dusty Minke. He too was amazed, not only with his catch, but with the overall catch.“This lake can really surprise you,” he said. “After a few days of not biting, I think because of the cold front, they switched up and bit today. Practice was pretty tough. We caught some good ones some days and other days we didn’t. There’s just not quite as many big fish as there used to be.”Minke agreed with Hanson’s assessment that the fish are transitioning from summer to fall patterns. He caught all his fish today on artificial baits.“I’m using all Northland Tackle. I’m using Northland Puppet Minnows, and I’m using Slurp Jigs with Northland plastics. I have two separate patterns – one deep and one shallow. I think I’m doing something a little different.”Minke is unsure if he’s around tournament-winning fish. Today, he weighed a 9-pounder, a 7-pounder, and a 6-pounder along with two smaller keepers.“It’s just too early to tell. This place can be good to you one day and humble you the next. Tomorrow they could be 15- and 13-inchers. I will say the spot I ended on is pretty precious. It’s got potential and there was no one else anywhere near me. My confidence is good, but it’s all about making adjustments the next two days.”Bismarck boys round out top fiveRounding out the top five are Bismarck, N.D., pros Sheldon Meidinger and Gene Merck. Meidinger caught a limit worth 24.21, while Merck managed five keepers for 23.73.Rest of the bestRounding out the top 10 pros at the 2019 National Walleye Tour Championship on Devils Lake:6th: Tim Abraham of New Ulm, Minn., five fish, 23.467th: Matthew Brown of Paterson, Wash., five fish, 23.438th: Tom Keenan of Hatley, Wis., five fish, 22.829th: Robert Crow of Paterson, Wash., five fish, 22.5210th: Brett King of Hager City, Wis., five fish, 22.26AOY UpdateCurrently sitting in 10th place, King moved one step closer to becoming the first pro to claim back-to-back Angler of the Year awards. King technically has an 18-point lead on Keenan. If King clinches a spot in the top 10 tomorrow, Keenan and others cannot mathematically catch him.The second day of the NWT Championship starts tomorrow at 7 a.m. Central time as the full field takes off from Grahams Island State Park, located at 152 S. Duncan Rd. in Devils Lake. The day-two weigh-in also takes place at Grahams Island, beginning at 3 p.m.

Courts cruises to day-two lead

Minnesota pro maintains 3-pound margin at Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship

OSHKOSH, Wis. – In most professional walleye tournaments, the weights are strongest the first day of competition and generally decrease as the best locations on the lake see continued angling pressure. Only on rare occasions does the bite improve. Day two of the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship was one of those rare days as the wind picked up and provided the perfect walleye chop. While boat control was not easy, the Lake Winnebago walleyes were much more aggressive overall.

Pro leader Mark Courts was one of the few anglers who did not improve his weight, but that was next to impossible after catching nearly 17 pounds yesterday. Courts still sacked 11.33 to bring his cumulative weight to 28.25 pounds.

“We actually had a really good day considering the amount of boats that moved into the area,” he said. “You just couldn’t work the area the way you wanted to work it. And when you did catch one, everybody would creep in on you. But that’s part of the game.”

The bite was fast early, then Courts hit a lull before going on another run midday.


“I probably caught 15 walleyes today, six of which were the right ones. The place is just reloading.”

Courts revealed bits and pieces of his pattern now that the field has been cut to only the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers.

“We’re pulling crankbaits, Original Floaters. We’re just doing it a different way than most guys. We’re using 65-pound Trilene Professional Grade braid as our main line and 20-pound Trilene XT as our leader line.”

Courts is employing both his Evinrude kicker and his bow-mounted Minn Kota Terrova to troll – making repeated passes over the same stretch of water. The kicker provides the bulk of the power and the trolling motor does the steering.

With one day of competition remaining, the Harris, Minn., pro has put himself in great position to claim a second major championship, the other coming in 2008 at the final PWT event.

“I’m feeling confident. We’ll see what the weather does. It might even make it better. Overall, I’m relaxed and fishing very well. I just want to capitalize on every opportunity. I think I missed one good opportunity today and now I’ve just got to stay focused and capitalize again tomorrow.”

Courts doesn’t plan to be picky, instead opting to place at least the first five legal walleyes he catches into his Ranger livewell. Culling in this event is not allowed, although anglers can keep seven fish and weigh their best five.

“I’m in position to win this thing. I’m not going to be dumb and throw away any fish. Not when the bite has been this tough.”

Sprengel up to second

If there’s anyone Courts doesn’t want to see in his rear-view mirror heading into the final day of a championship event it’s Korey Sprengel, an angler with considerable Winnebago experience and arguably the hottest walleye stick over the past three years. Yet here Sprengel is, knocking on the door once again. After catching 13.16 pounds yesterday, he added another 12.11 today for a two-day total of 25.27.

“I ran down to a spot that I was sharing with Tom Kemos to start the day,” he said. “I didn’t even have my lines in the water and he already had two. Then I had three in the first 30 or 40 minutes so I was thinking it was going to be on fire. But then ironically the wind picked up and the bite just died.”

Sprengel’s main pattern is pitching an 1/8-ounce jig with a PowerBait Rib Worm to rock. He also occasionally mixes in a crankbait. Today the crankbait accounted for just one of the five weigh fish.

“I like the Rib Worm because I’m more efficient; I’m not having to re-bait all the time. As it is, I’m losing a lot of jigs in the snarly cover. But when they hit that jig, they just crush it.”

At 11 a.m., Sprengel’s day took a major turn for the better as he landed a 4-pound walleye. At 12:30 p.m. he finally boxed No. 5, a 16-incher.

“Then I left because I wanted to save whatever was left in that area and go for big ones. But again, I never caught any. I know so many spots on this lake to get a big one. I just cannot believe I haven’t got one yet.”

Sprengel still feels like he has a legitimate chance to catch Courts, despite the 3-pound margin.

“I just wish I was a little closer. I feel confident though. If I can get my five early, say by 10 a.m., I might have a real chance. Today I thought it was going happen.”

Ell slips to third

Despite an 11-pound effort, Bismarck, N.D., pro Jacob Ell fell one spot to third with a total weight of 24.82 pounds.

“The wind today was pretty much the same as it was when I found the area in practice, so I definitely had confidence coming in,” said Ell, the second-year pro. “Still, the bite was slower today. We didn’t have our first fish until 8:30 this morning and then it was spotty after that; we’d maybe get one every half hour or hour.”

Ell received only five bites the entire day. And only four came in the boat as he witnessed a nice walleye, estimated at approximately 23 inches, come unbuttoned as the crankbait popped out of the fish’s mouth.

“I’m thrilled with 11 pounds. I just hate knowing that I left some weight out there. In a championship scenario like this, you can’t lose fish. And seeing the fish makes it even harder. I’m still happy overall though.”

Ell revealed a bit of his pattern after weigh-in as well. He fishes two areas on the main lake and trolls crankbaits with planer boards.

“My sauger spot was pretty much unfishable today. We tried it but the boards were getting buried in 3-foot waves. We did actually pull a 20-incher out of there. But then we just grinded it out in the original spot.”

That original spot is a 3/4 mile stretch of water. Within it is one key stretch where Ell has received the majority of his bites.

“Those two were the only places I was able to find quantity. The water is muddy so it’s not that easy for the fish to see. I think there are more there. I definitely left one particular fish.”

McQuoid retains fourth

Despite increasing his weight from 10.01 pounds to 14.20 pounds, Isle, Minn., pro Kevin McQuoid never budged on the leaderboard. With a two-day total of 24.21 pounds, he sits fourth, just as he did at takeoff this morning.

“I was hoping I would climb a little bit, but I did close the overall margin,” he said. “The difference between yesterday and today was that today I got two nice 23-inchers. We had our fifth fish this morning at 10 a.m. and then we kind of struggled a bit. Then the second big fish bit at 2 p.m. and that was a really nice bonus.”

McQuoid has fished the same 1/2-mile stretch of water the entire tournament. He’s trolling crankbaits over water 10 to 20 feet, some of it breakline and some of it basin.

“We figured out the color program the last day of practice. I’m hoping it’s going to work for another day. Catching Courts is doable. What I need is his weight from day one. If I get a couple of those extra bites tomorrow things could change around.”

Skarlis fifth

Tommy Skarlis improved his day-one catch of 9.63 pounds to 13.07 pounds, giving him an opening-round total of 22.70 pounds. The Waukon, Iowa, pro will start the final day more than 5 pounds off the lead. Like Courts, Skarlis is no stranger to winning major walleye championships.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros at the 2014 Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Winnebago:

6th: Robert Cardenas of Gem Lake, Minn., nine walleyes, 22.60
7th: Ross Grothe of Northfield, Minn., 10 walleyes, 20.93
8th: Ted Takasaki of Sioux Falls, S.D., eight walleyes, 20.17
9th: Jason Doyon of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, eight walleyes, 19.07
10th: Tom Keenan of Hatley, Wis., 10 walleyes, 19.07

The final day of competition begins tomorrow at 7 a.m. Central time as the top 10 takes off from Menominee Park. The final weigh-in also takes place at Menominee Park, beginning at 3 p.m.

Evinrude Extends Partnership with Cabela’s National Walleye Tour

Agreement includes contingency at all events

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (February 11, 2015) – Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), makers of Evinrude E-TEC outboards, has re-joined the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (NWT) as an official sponsor for the 2015 season. The renewal was finalized as the NWT prepares for the upcoming season, scheduled to kick off May 7 on the Mississippi River at Lake City, Minnesota.

As part of the agreement, Evinrude will continue to reward anglers who power their boats with an Evinrude E-TEC outboard engine. A winning Evinrude angler at any one of the three regular season events will receive an engine upgrade from the standard 150 hp option to a 250 hp model. In addition, second through 15th place will receive a $1,000 cash bonus and 16th through 31st will receive a $500 payout. Co-anglers who finish on top of the leaderboard will receive an extra $1,500, while second through 10th receive $500 and 11th through 31st receive $250.

“Evinrude has been an integral part of the National Walleye Tour since the beginning,” said Anthony Wright, NWT tournament director. “They have such a rich history of supporting walleye anglers and we’re fortunate to have them as a partner. We’re excited about the upcoming season and proud to build on our relationship with Evinrude.”

BRP is a global leader in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and marketing of powersports vehicles and propulsion systems. Its portfolio includes Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, Sea-Doo watercraft, Can-Am all-terrain and side-by-side vehicles, Can-Am Spyder roadsters, Evinrude and Rotax marine propulsion systems as well as Rotax engines for karts, motorcycles and recreational aircraft.

BRP’s Evinrude engine line-up from 3.5 to 300 horsepower offers customers superior value across a full range of applications. The all-new Evinrude E-TEC G2 outboard delivers unrivaled performance with best-in-class torque and fuel efficiency and lowest total emissions.

“NWT events provide a great platform to promote the best-in-class performance of Evinrude E-TEC outboards,” said Evinrude Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning Chris Berg. “The all-new Evinrude E-TEC G2 is the perfect choice for walleye anglers looking for the next generation of power, performance, reliability and value with up to 20 percent more torque, 15 percent better fuel efficiency and 75 percent fewer total regulated emissions than leading four-stroke competitors.”

The National Walleye Tour will begin the 2015 season May 7 at Lake City, Minnesota, and will include a total of three qualifying events, plus a year-end championship. Official registration for all events will being Jan 5, 2015, both online and by phone. The NWT website offers numerous details on the circuit, including official rules, tournament structure, payout and incentives.

All 2015 NWT events feature 100% payback. A fully rigged Ranger Boat, plus cash, is guaranteed for first place at each event – a minimum total value of $61,000. Multiple contingency programs are available for even higher payout. Anglers that fish all three regular-season events, in addition to the top points leaders, will qualify for the three-day, entry-fee championship.

The Cabela’s National Walleye Tour also includes unmatched television and media coverage, allowing a national audience to watch the action unfold from each event throughout the season. Airing on multiple networks, the NWT will be seen on the Pursuit Channel, NBC Sports Network and Fox Sports Net North.

For more details, anglers are encouraged to call 612-424-0708 or visit the website at www.nationalwalleyetour.com. From here, site visitors can register for events, view the TV schedule and learn more about what’s in-store for 2015.

2015 NWT scheduled events:

May 7-8 – Mississippi River (Lake City, Minn.)
June 12-13 – Leech Lake (Walker, Minn.)
July 24-25 – Green Bay (Green Bay, Wis.)

Championship – September 17-19 – Devils Lake (Devils Lake, N.D.)