MTT Anglers Find Lake of the Woods Gold at Championship
September 17 and 18 marked the championship for the MN Tournament Trail held at Border View Lodge at Lake of the Woods. 79 two person teams competed for the grand prize of a $40,000 Skeeter boat, Yamaha Motor and trailer, along with cash prizes and bragging rights.
Day 1 takeoff was meant with cloudy skies and two foot waves. Anglers put their prefishing knowledge to the test. Some anglers went after big walleyes right away with others choosing to go after the quality walleyes up to 19.5″. With Lake of the Woods having a walleye slot limit of 19.5″ – 28″ having to be returned to the water, anglers were able to weigh walleyes and saugers from 14″ (an MTT rule) to just under the 19.5″ slot as well as two over fish (a fish 28″ or larger) per the entire two day tournament. Anglers were allowed a six fish limit to the scales each day.
Anglers were spread out across the lake. Some anglers found a nice school of fish just west of the 9 footer, which is located on the eastern part of Big Traverse Bay at about mid lake. These fish were in about 34′ of water and most anglers went after them trolling crankbaits on leadcore line.
Other anglers found deep pods of walleyes in other parts of Big Traverse, that in it’s own right is the size of a great lake, about 30 miles across north/south and about 25 miles across east/west. These walleyes ranged from very small to over 30″.
Some anglers chose to fish structure. Both shallow and deep reefs kept anglers in the walleyes. Some trolled crankbaits over the tops as shallow as 6 feet. Others pulled crawler harnesses with others jigging the deeper water with frozen emerald shiners, a favorite of LOW walleyes.
All in all, anglers caught a lot of fish of all sizes, but as in most tournaments, it was the big girls that received most of the attention. Overall, 17 walleyes over 28″ were brought to the scales in the 2 day tournament. The big fish of the tournament was a monster 10.59 walleye caught by the team of Gordy Schreifels and Dave Kloeppner. The team caught their prize trolling crankbaits in deep water (which for LOW is 30-35′).
The winners of the tournament were Shawn Ulrich and Dave Determan. Often times anglers will say that on Lake of the Woods, because of the strong population of trophy walleyes, a team is never out of it. Ulrich and Determan are believers. On day 1, the duo came in with 7.80 lbs putting them in 61st place. “On day two, we knew we needed big fish so we put a plan together and stuck with it”. And boy did that plan come through. They trolled cranks until they found a nice pod of walleyes, in which they anchored up and jigged. Not long after dropping their jig, they saw some nice fish come through on the electronics. And then, “bang” the bite they needed. Minutes later, they had their first walleye over 28″. After sorting through fish jigging, they elected to spend the rest of the day pulling cranks and “boom” another monster.
They entered the scales on day two in 61st place. With a day two weight for 6 fish of 22.30 lbs, Ulrich and Determan held on by a narrow margin for the win. It was all smiles for the two as they leaned on their new Skeeter.
Also on the line was the MTT Lindy Team of the Year. Anglers who fish the MTT throughout the year accumulate points for their best 5 one day tournaments, their best two day tournament and the championship. The winners this year were Bob Nitti and Bryan Dunaiski (pictured below) . These talented anglers pulled off a 5th place finish at the LOW championship to help cement their team of the year win.
The top four teams for the MTT Championship are picture below. Click Here for complete tournament results.
(From left to right)… 2nd place, Ken Hunt and Jon Hunt. 3rd place, Stacy Forsberg and Dave Webeck. 4th place, Gordy Schreifels and Dave Kloeppner.
(Kneeling) 1st place finishers, Dave Ulrich and Shawn Determan.
As in traditional MTT fashion, the weigh in was capped off with a nice dinner for all participants provided by Wigwam Resort as well an an end of year party.