Carlos husband and wife duo roll in Osakis Lions Walleye Tournament after good morning bite
Tyler and Cate Wolden won the 41st Osakis Lions Walleye Tournament on Lake Osakis on June 18 by more than nine pounds despite falling one fish short of their allowed six-fish limit. That was due to a big fish of 29.25 inches and three more good ones by 9:30 a.m. before high winds made things difficult going into the afternoon.
OSAKIS — Tyler Wolden of Carlos has fished in competitive tournaments since 2012, and that experience helped Wolden and his wife, Cate, in some challenging weather conditions as they won the 41st annual Osakis Lions Walleye Tournament on Lake Osakis on June 18.
A total of 61 two-person teams kicked off at the start of the tournament at 7 a.m. By mid-morning, winds were gusting to over 30 miles-per-hour, but the Woldens had done most of their damage with big fish in the boat by 9:30 a.m.
That proved to be enough even without catching the allowed six-fish limit. Their five walleyes weighed in at an estimated 31.07 pounds. The second-place team of Nick Bialka and John Hartung came in with 21.89 pounds.
“(Wind) is part of the reason why things didn’t go as well and not as many big fish were caught,” Tyler said. “You couldn’t get out of the wind. It was blowing so hard after 10, 11 a.m. Even if you were in a calm spot, it was still tough to control the boat. I run a big tiller boat, and I have great boat control skills with it, so it helped in that sense, but the wind was miserable.”
The tournament on Lake Osakis was run through the FishDonkey App to get fish back in the water instead of bringing them into a weigh-in at the end of the day. Anglers take a picture of their fish on a ruler, another image holding the fish, and then a video of them releasing it.
All of it gets entered into the app for tournament organizers to review and verify that lengths are correct. The app then converts an estimated weight for each fish based on its length.
Leading up to the tournament, Tyler had done some pre-fishing on Lake Osakis where he had found walleyes as big as 27 and 28 inches, with a lot of fish caught between 23 and 25 inches. But the hot bite during pre-fishing had come in the afternoon.
That flipped entirely on tournament day.
The Woldens got to their first spot and caught a 25.25-incher by 7:20 a.m. Cate then caught a 29.25-incher at 8:30 that proved to be the biggest walleye of the entire tournament. The fourth-place finishing team of Adam Mahowald and Joe Bricko caught the second biggest walleye of the event that measured 28.75 inches.
By 9:30, the Woldens had added two more walleyes measuring 25.75 and 21.50 inches.
“That’s four by 9:30, and I’m thinking we have all day to catch two mid-20-inchers, which shouldn’t be a problem based on how practice went,” Tyler said. “The fish just died. I went over multiple, multiple fish that were big fish, and they would not eat anymore.
“I was getting nervous. We’re sitting there with four fish. They’re great fish, but I’m thinking to myself, ‘What if other guys found these same nice fish?’ There’s other guys in the area. I thought we needed to scratch together two more fish.”
Cate caught a fifth walleye at about 2:30 p.m. almost right in front of the access. That one measured 19.25 inches. Tyler felt better about things at that point, but it proved to really be a moot point as they ended up winning by more than nine pounds.
“I practiced a couple evenings and just scouted things out and stumbled upon big fish,” Tyler said of his preparation for the event. “This was just a spur of the moment tournament for us, but we’ll probably make it a tradition now…we just really enjoyed ourselves. That was our whole motto going into it. Just go and have fun fishing. The fish didn’t cooperate the way we thought they would, but it worked out great and it was really fun.”
Live-bait rigging on weed edges
The Woldens were fishing on weed edges in depths of 16-21 feet.
“We were live-bait rigging between slip bobbers and leeches, to live-bait rigging minnows,” Tyler said. “It was kind of a 50/50 mix.”
Tyler, 36, works at Quick Attach Attachments between Alexandria and Carlos, but his free time in the summer is filled with fishing. He does some local guide trips as time allows, and he also fishes events on the AIM Pro Walleye Series and Masters Walleye Circuit, along with others.
The rest of his summer this year will include tournaments on some of Minnesota’s top waters such as Leech Lake, Vermilion, Cass Lake and Lake Superior.
“With the experience I’ve had in fishing over the years and just working hard, it’s not so much about the lake specifically,” Tyler said. “It’s the understanding of timing of the year and what the walleyes are doing and what they want to eat. I can go to a lot of lakes and kind of figure them out by looking at maps and research and studying. Then some past knowledge does help the cause, but you need to come in with a clean slate and think like a fish. How are they going to be set up this time of year? Then use your electronics to figure them out.”
Tyler said that the bite around the Alexandria area has been really good through much of June. He anticipates walleyes will start transitioning away from weed edges and start working basins and deeper water soon, but he is confident anglers have much to look forward on area lakes.
“There’s tons of good fishing to look forward to the rest of the summer,” he said. “Alexandria lakes, the walleyes always bite. It’s more so a matter of finding them and understanding how to present your bait in front of them so they’ll eat. The Alexandria area is doing very well right now, and it’s going to be a great summer. It’s just a matter of getting out there and figuring them out.”
OSAKIS LIONS WALLEYE TOURNAMENT ON LAKE OSAKIS
TOTALS — 61 teams, 233 fish registered
TOP-10 FINISHERS (Six-fish limit) - Tyler Wolden and Cate Wolden - 31.07 pounds; Nick Bialka and John Hartung - 21.89 pounds; Dan Jochum and Rick Jenneke - 21.72 pounds; Adam Mahowald and Joe Bricko - 20.61 pounds; Tim Green and Larry Long - 18.45 pounds; Riley Miller and Josh Dyrstad - 18.45 pounds; Steve Boraas and partner - 16.97 pounds; Barry Mielke and Jeff Trende - 16.29 pounds; Jon Donabauer and partner - 16.25 pounds; Brice Gillman and partner - 15.27 pounds