UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Shimota slams 31-pound stringer

Shimota slams 31-pound stringer
Pro leader Bill Shimota is all smiles after placing a 31-pound stringer on the scale.

WELCH, Minn. - An interesting situation is brewing on Pool 3 of the Mississippi River - the host fishery for the FLW Walleye Tour Western Division season opener. The top three pros - Bill Shimota, Dusty Minke and Toby Kvalevog are friends and teammates - meaning they practice together and share information. But they're also competing for themselves. Thus far, Shimota leads after catching limits of 23-11 and 31-1.

Since Shimota, Minke and Kvalevog are teammates, it would be logical to assume they're fishing the same location, but they're not. Each angler has their own water and is doing their own thing with remarkable results. And the fourth member of their team, Tour rookie Nick Fautsch, is in fifth place. Shimota appears to have the strongest pattern going as he caught both quality and quantity today.

"It was one of those days; I'm almost speechless," said Shimota. "We probably caught 30 to 40 fish; it was sick. Yesterday we made the mistake of throwing some smaller ones in. Today we set the bar a little higher. Now we're looking for the win tomorrow."
Pro Bill Shimota and co-angler Dave Hennings caught a five-fish limit Friday weighing 31 pounds, 1 ounce.
With two spots left in his livewell at noon, (anglers can keep can keep eight and weigh their best five) Shimota had roughly 25 pounds already boxed. From there, he basically went prefishing and was able to make two upgrades. His final fish sounded almost fluky. But sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

"I caught that 28-incher trolling in the middle of nowhere with 30 minutes to go."

Trolling wasn't the only method the Lonsdale, Minn., native used. He also rigged with live bait and casted crankbaits. He's mainly fishing one area in Pool 3 and surprisingly has had almost no company.

"It's a fairly big area, but there are a few key spots where I've been getting the big bites."

Although he's happy for his teammates, Shimota clearly wants his first tour-level win tomorrow. Walleye fans may remember Shimota won the League Finals back in 2007 downstream in Moline, Ill.

"I'm very nervous. The difference between first and second is a lot of money so I'm going to be hungry for it."

Shimota said the plan is box any fish longer than 20 inches tomorrow.

"We'll start that way and then reevaluate at noon. I plan to wait out the big ones."

Minke up to second

Pro Dusty Minke sits in second place with a two-day total of 50 pounds, 9 ounces.After catching 29 pounds Friday, Forest Lake, Minn., pro Dusty Minke rose from fifth to second. Like Shimota, he boxed some fish early yesterday and was done by 11 a.m. Today he was more patient. He had a limit by 10, but didn't complete his stringer until 1 p.m.

"We fished the same spot we did yesterday," he said. "There were probably twice as many boats in there but that was to be expected. We're doing something different - basically keying right on the spot. Instead of taking long swipes, we're taking short 50-yard swipes."

To give a better idea how good Minke's day was, he had a 23-incher in his livewell that he never weighed. That happens occasionally on Lake Erie, but it's unheard of on the Mississippi River.

"We just put on a clinic. My co-angler was awesome; having someone that can reel, net and re-tie helps a lot."

Minke's area is receiving tons of pressure, but he's got a second area that he's barely touched. He tried it today briefly and immediately caught a 25-incher.

"Tomorrow is going to be a shootout. Whoever does win, we're going to be happy with this outcome."

Kvalevog slips to third
Pro Toby Kvalevog and co-angler William Drake caught five walleyes Friday weighing 21 pounds, 4 ounces.
After catching 27 pounds, 7 ounces yesterday, Toby Kvalevog made the same mistake Minke and Shimota made on day one (putting small fish in the livewell early). He still managed a nice 21-pound, 4-ounce stringer, especially considering he didn't get to fish his best spot.

"My big-fish spot was already taken, so I kind of snuck around into some seams," said the Brainerd, Minn., teacher. "I basically ended up putting my boat where I was casting to yesterday."

He caught more fish today, but the bite was softer. He put three 19s in the box and then the fish got bigger.

"At 11:59 I boxed No. 8 and was done. Not having the big-fish spot really cost me. But considering that, I'm really happy with how it turned out. I was hoping for 14 or 15 pounds this morning."

Lotz falls to fourth

Lena, Ill., pro Steve Lotz fell two spots to fourth after catching a 20-pound, 14-ounce limit Friday. Lotz finished the opening round with a total weight of 46 pounds, 3 ounces. Yesterday Lotz fished Pool 3 from end to end, stopping at over a dozen spots. Today he focused on five of his more productive areas.

"That's a good bag; we're happy with that," Lotz said of 20-14. "I just never got the two big fish we got yesterday."
Lotz experienced a strong morning bite and a late flurry. He plans to swing for the fence tomorrow.

"I'd be really happy with anything over 20 pounds. You can't really count on the big fish; you've just got to be happy when they come."

Fautsch fifth

In his first Walleye Tour event, Fautsch has made the top-10 cutoff and is looking for more. After catching limits of 14-8 and 26-12 respectively, Fautsch has a two-day total of 41 pounds, 4 ounces.

"Victor (Wood, his co-angler partner) caught the biggest one; that was a huge help," said the Maddock, N.D., pro. "I went to my first spot this morning and it wasn't happening. But everything worked perfect at spot No. 2."

Fautsch said he didn't catch many fish on the day, but nearly every fish that bit was a big one. His two biggest today were a 28 1/2 and a 27 1/4.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros who made the cutoff after day two:

6th: Paul Meleen of Isle, Minn., two-day total of 38-4
7th: Chad Nissen of White Bear Township, Minn., 33-6
8th: Richard Lowe of Soldiers Grove, Wis., 31-9
9th: Byron Peterson of Blair, Neb., 28-3
10th: Brian Bjorkman of Fargo, N.D., 27-7

Van Cleve retains co-angler lead

Co-angler Cal Van Cleve popped a huge sack of river fish on day one with pro Toby Kvalevog. Today, while fishing with Terry Filkins, he managed another solid limit weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces. With one day of competition remaining, Van Cleve has a total weight of 44 pounds, 4 ounces and a 1-pound, 1-ounce lead. This is the Wilmot, S.D., native's third season on Tour and second top-10 finish.

Tomorrow he'll head out with Shimota as boat No. 1.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers who made the cutoff after day two:

2nd: Dave Hennings of Hartley, Iowa, two-day total of 43-3
3rd: Robert Dube of Williston, N.D., 42-11
4th: Victor Wood of Rapid City, S.D., 35-10
5th: Lance Bainville of Mounds View, Minn., 33-15
6th: Christopher Hanson of New Hope, Minn., 31-8
7th: Daniel Halan of Rochester, Minn., 31-5
8th: William Drake of Horace, N.D., 31-3
9th: Daniel Meisner of Merrill, Wis., 30-6
10th: Bryan Bayerkohler of Eagan, Minn., 30-1

The final day of FLW Walleye Tour competition on the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers begins as the top-10 pros and top-10 co-anglers take off from Treasure Island Resort Marina in Welch at 7 a.m. Central time Saturday.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2010-05-20-miss-river-pool-3-lake-st-croix 

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