The past 2 weeks have been extremely busy with the ND Governors Cup and the Dakota Walleye Classic fishing tournaments! These are 2 of the biggest fishing tournaments you will find anywhere and they are both very well run tournaments!
The ND Governors Cup was held July 19th and 20th out of Fort Stevenson State Park. The weather was pretty consistent throughout the week prefishing with temperatures in the 80's, but come tournament day we had cooler temps which changed the fishing for many people and it proved to be a very tough tournament. We started out Friday morning in the old coal min they call Garrison Bay. 45 minutes into fishing we hooked a nice 22 inch walleye on a #9 shallow Shad Rap. After a few more passes we moved to a steep point on an island and pulled live bait and Tory caught a 26.5in walleye right away! Then a few minutes later i pulled in a 23.5 in walleye! It's now 10:30 and we have 3 good fish in the boat! We then caught a 15 inch walleye and a 18 inch sauger but since it was early and we only needed 2 more good fish we let them both go... Then our bite died. We fished all over in Garrison Bay trying to get 2 more bites... We finally left and ran over Douglas Bay to our Plan B spots and found that our fish there had moved as well... No marks on the HDS-8 anywhere. So we had about 75 minutes of fishing time remaining, we blast back to Garrison Bay and put the cranks down to try and find any active fish that wanted to bite. After 2 big northerns tricked us into thinking we had a big walleye, we finally caught a small sauger that had to go in the well. We ended the day with 4 fish and a total of 14.93 pounds and in 15th place.
Day 2 once again had cooler temperature and some scattered rain showers. We decided we were going to try and grind out 5 good bites out of Garrison Bay. We had the first flight and hoped to catch some before all the boats made it back there, but that plan failed... We only had one decent fish at noon, we then moved out towards the mouth of the coal mine and managed to catch another decent 21 inch walleye and 3 other small fish to make our 5 fish limit. We then searched hard to find 3 upgrades but we couldn't manage to get the right bites. We had 8.22 pounds for day 2 and ended up in 19th place out of 252 teams. That finish earned us a $750 check! The bite was alot more difficult than most people expected, especially with how good the fishing has been all year on the lake. Congratulations to the team of Bethke and Power, they managed to find 43 pounds of fish and run away with the ND Governors Cup Title! A great effort when you look at the difficulty most of the teams had!
The Dakota Walleye Classic was held July 26th and 27th out of Beulah Bay. 177 teams set out trying to find 10 walleyes big enough to bring home the $12,000 first place prize! I fished this tournament with my brother Nick, and we had a great time! Prefishing we had found a good crankbait bite in 28-32 feet of water, we lots of smelt along with many big arches nearby! So we decided that there was no need to fish live bait, even with another big cold front coming through. On day 1 the fishing was good for smaller fish in the 16 inch range but we knew we would need bigger fish to win, so we kept trolling away trying to find some bigger bites. We ended up getting 2 good fish in the afternoon and ended the day with 12.74 pounds and in 19th place. Day 2 we had the same game plan knowing that the leaders were in the same area, and still seeing many fish on the HDS-8. The fish were alot more scattered day 2 and didn't cooperate as well. We made a couple moves and found one good walleye along with 4 smaller fish and ended the day with 10.22 pounds and moved up 2 place to finish 17th and take home a $350 check! Congrats again to the team of Foss and Arndt for their efforts, pulling in 34 pounds of walleye to take home the first place prize!
Coming up this weekend is the 4Bears Casino Tournament held out of New Town, ND! The bite up on the west end of the lake has been good! It will be interesting to see what the weather does and how the fish react!
I have to throw out a big thank you to Mike Russell and Concord Energy for sponsoring us in these fishing tournaments! It is very much appreciated!
The summer is starting to wind down with school starting in less than a month so dates are becoming limited, especially weekend dates. My next open weekend date is August 17th and 18th! If you're looking for a guide trip on Lake Sakakawea give me a call ASAP!!!