Alexandria's Seidl, Knutson fourth in Chain of Lakes Walleye TournamentWinterfeld, Herd win first walleye tournament on the chain
The first annual Warrior Boats Alexandria Chain of Lakes Spring Walleye Classic turned out to be a virtual slugfest for some of the 43 teams competing.
Despite a major cold front that saw temperatures drop some 25 degrees, Alexandria’s Chain of Lakes produced some eye-popping weights and impressive walleyes both days on June 5-6.
Bryan Winterfeldt of Dassel and Darrin Herd of Hutchinson put up a whopping 20.20 pound, six-walleye limit on day one to enter the final day in second place. They withstood a day two run by several teams to capture the 2009 Warrior Boats Alexandria Chain of Lakes Spring Walleye Classic title, with a two-day, 12-walleye total of 34.70 lbs.
“We knew there was a big bite going and that many of the teams were seeing some really impressive fish during pre-fishing,” said tournament director Corey Bohn. “Given the rapidly changing weather patterns and the big drop in temperature, it was a tremendous bite and really shows everyone what a quality walleye fishery the Alexandria chain of lakes truly is.”
When it was all said and done, four teams would surpass the 20-pound mark with monster bags of fish. Bob and Mike Becker of North Mankato sat in the top spot on the day one LakeMaster leaderboard with a six-walleye, 21.48-lb. limit, followed closely by Winterfeldt and Herd.
Josh Dyrstad and Riley Miller of Alexandria would sit in third place after day one with a six-walleye, 16.68-pound limit, followed by Phillip Mittag of Clara City and Ron Shatek of Lakeville in fourth with a five-walleye weight of 15.70-lbs.
“With the Alexandria chain’s big fish producing capability, there were a number of teams still in the running heading into day two if they could get on big fish,” Bohn said. “Typically, you will see a lot of movement on the leader board on day two, and while some of the top teams from day one struggled on the second day, there were teams who vaulted up the leader board on day two with big bags of fish.”
Scott Seidl and Troy Knutson of Alexandria were one of those teams. After weighing three walleyes for 10.58 pounds to sit in 16th place on day one, Seidl and Knutson put up a six-walleye, 20.84-pound limit, including an 8.08-pound walleye, to take the lead midway through the day two weigh-ins, with a total weight of 31.42 pounds, Seidl and Knutson would finish in fourth place with a $1,000 payday.
Dan Herd of Hutchinson and Mark Brinkman of Glencoe jumped from 14th place on the first day to third place on day two after bringing the biggest basket of the tournament to the scale. Herd and Brinkman’s six-walleye, 21.68-pound limit included a 7.49-pound walleye, for a two-day total of 32.86 pounds. That earned them a $1,200 third place check.
Herd and Brinkman spent the entire tournament fishing on Lake Darling while using nightcrawlers on a Lindy Rig with a seven-foot snell.
“We fished the same spots that I fished the previous weekend pre-fishing,” Herd said. “We were working the weed edge in 10-14 feet and were moving anywhere from .8 to 1.2 miles per hour to stay above the weed tops and out of the weeds, and the fish were just smokin’ it. Too bad we couldn’t have done a little better on day one, because the fish were really there on day two.”
“The Alexandria chain is a tremendous walleye fishery and is really a lot of fun to fish. Pre-fishing was a blast as we saw a lot of fish and a considerable number of big fish. If this fishery isn’t on every angler’s radar list, it should be.”
Consistency would prove to be a near-winning combination for Phillip Mittag and Ron Shatek, who were fishing from one of two eligible Warrior boats for an added $7,500 in Warrior Boats Manufacturer Contingency Cash. Mittag and Shatek finished with a second place total of 33.26 pounds ($1,400).
Fishing from a 2008 1890 BT Tournament series Warrior backtroller, powered by a 140 horsepower Suzuki four-stroke tiller motor, Mittag and Shatek were also fishing with nightcrawlers, and were fishing 12 to 15 feet of water next to a sharp break on Lake Geneva.
“We decided on Geneva because it was producing our best fish during pre-fishing,” Shatek said. “We were catching numbers of fish on L’Homme Dieu during pre-fishing, but we weren’t seeing the size we were seeing on Geneva, so we stuck it out on Geneva both days.”
“This was some of the best walleye fishing I’ve ever seen during a tournament,” Mittag said. “What a great fishery the Alexandria chain really is. It isn’t very often you see fishing like this and the big fish that were being caught. Too bad we couldn’t have pulled one that was a little bigger, because it could have put us in the winners circle.”
Mittag and Shatek both commented on the quality of the fishery overall, noting they had boated upwards of 30-35 measurable walleyes the day before the tournament.
The winning group of Winterfeldt and Herd were pulling nightcrawlers on a Lindy Rig in 10 to 15 feet of water, while fishing on Lakes Darling, L’Homme Dieu and Lake Victoria.
“Pre-fishing was just unbelievable,” Herd said. “We got here the weekend before and probably caught and released upwards of 50 walleyes, including two 29-inchers our first day on the water. During the tournament we caught a big fish each day on Darling and Victoria, so we just kept running from spot to spot and actually weighed in early at 1:30 p.m. on day one, because we didn’t want to beat up our spots for day two.”
“Some spots there was weed growth and along some of them there wasn’t any weed growth,” added Winterfeldt. “The key was being close to deep water, because it seemed like the fish would just move up to feed and then slide back down to the deeper water. That’s what we saw during pre-fishing and it held up during the tournament.”
Winning the father/son/daughter division were Rich and Ryan Nodland of Alexandria with a two-day, five-walleye total of 22.66 pounds. Glen and Belinda Wink, also of Alexandria, won the husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend division, with a two-day, 12-walleye total of 24.09 pounds. Division winners fished only against teams within their division for an added $250 and were eligible to win the overall cash and prize payouts.
Day one biggest walleye winner was Bob and Mike Becker of North Mankato with a 7.80-pound walleye. Day two biggest walleye winner was Seidl and Knutson with their 8.08-pound fish. Both big fish winners received $380 for their efforts.
To view the complete leaderboard for the tournament, go to http://www.walleyeclassics.com.