UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Courts leads National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event on Leech Lake

WALKER, Minn. - National Guard pro Mark Courts of Harris, Minn., and co-angler Jimmy Cox of Bono, Ark., brought in five walleyes weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces Thursday to lead day one of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour tournament on Leech Lake presented by Mercury. The pair holds a mere, 7-ounce lead over their closest rivals in an event featuring 95 pros and 95 co-anglers representing 17 states fishing for top awards of $63,000 in the Pro Division and $10,500 in the Co-angler Division.

"The fishing is phenomenal on Leech Lake," said Courts, who finished in fifth place at the Walleye Championship held on Leech Lake last year. "We couldn't have hit this lake at a more perfect time. This is a first class fishery and I am just having a ball. The fishing is only going to get better and better the next couple of days.

"We got our two overs pretty early and finished the limit with some nice unders," Courts went on to say. "In order to win this tournament you have to bring in those two overs each day. I was mostly doing some typical Leech Lake rigging and jigging and spent a little time pulling spinners.

"The lake is really a wind driven lake and that's how I am fishing here, I am playing the wind," Courts added. "The biggest challenge on this lake is finding a spot that is not heavily pressured. I am just excited to go fishing tomorrow. The only thing I could wish for is some cloud cover and the fishing will be awesome."

According to Courts the cold front that came through yesterday has not impacted the big bite and believes it helped keep water temperatures constant. Courts was worried earlier in the week that the extreme heat wave that hit on Monday would warm the water up too fast and really scatter the fish. He indicated that tomorrow's predicted rain would only improve walleye fishing for him.

Rounding out the remainder of the top 10 pros and co-anglers after day one at Leech Lake are:

2nd: Paul Meleen, Isle, Minn., and Dave Smith, St. Joseph, Minn., five walleyes, 15-7

3rd: Duane Kriese Sr., Shakopee, Minn., and Dan Soehren, New Ulm, Minn., two walleyes, 13-14

4th: Kevin Carstensen, Merrill, Wis., and Brian Speckmann, Downers Grove, Ill., five walleyes, 13-5

5th: Matthew Ernst, North Oaks, Minn., and Randal Sterr, Oconomowoc, Wis., three walleyes, 12-10

6th: Richard Zachowski, Milwaukee, Wis., and Wallace Carter Jr., Lawrenceburg, Ky., five walleyes, 11-15

7th: Tom Keenan, Hatley, Wis., and Alan Wegleitner, Somerset, Wis., five walleyes, 11-14

8th: National Guard pro Bill Shimota, Londsdale, Minn., and Randy Kuchenmeister, Forest Lake, Minn., five walleyes, 11-13

9th: Scott Larson, Mayville, N.D., and Doug Weidenhammer, Ham Lake, Minn., five walleyes, 11-9

10th: David Kleszyk, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., and Tim Depooter, Rock Island, Ill., five walleyes, 11-8

Overall there were 270 walleyes weighing 515 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 95 boats Thursday. The catch included 29 five-walleye limits.

In Walleye Tour competition, pro and co-anglers are also competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the 2011 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship held on the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 22-25. Anglers are also vying for the coveted Angler of the Year title, which earns them a place in the 2012 Walleye Tour Championship, as well as $10,000 for the pro and $2,500 for the co-angler.

Anglers will take off from Walker City Park located at Highway 371 in Walker at 7 each morning. Friday's weigh-in will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Northern Lights Casino located at 6800 Y Frontage Road NW in Walker beginning at 4 p.m. Fans will have the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, ride Ranger boat simulators, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing. All activities are free and open to the public. Prior to the final weigh-in, there will be a free Family Fishing Clinic where children can get free rod and reels while supplies last, plus other great giveaways.

Coverage of the Leech Lake tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. "FLW Outdoors" will air Aug. 21 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper and Chip Leer, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com/LeechLake. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Walleye Tour on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWWalleyeTour and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.

About FLW Outdoors

FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world's richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player's Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, browse FLWOutdoors.com or visit FantasyFishing.com.

Tags: press-release  2011-06-09-leech-lake 

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