UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Lanier

National Guard FLW Walleye Tour kicks off 2012 season on Mississippi River

National Guard FLW Walleye Tour kicks off 2012 season on Mississippi River
National Guard FLW Walleye Tour boaters paitently await the start of the 2012 season.

RED WING, Minn. - After a nearly seven-month hiatus since the conclusion of the 2011 season, the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour is finally back in action. Facing off against the fickle and unpredictable waters of the Mississippi River, walleye anglers will certainly have their work cut out for them this week if they are to have any hope of walking away the tournament title and the top award of $63,000.

For starters, anglers will have to battle a recent cold snap and lower-than-normal water levels as well as a slow to lazy current - conditions that tend to spread out the walleyes as opposed to allowing them congregate around current breaks. As a result, it appears that this week's event might prove to one of the more difficult walleye tournaments on the mighty Mississippi in recent memory.

"I've fished here for years and I can honestly say that last week was the toughest week I've seen on this river in maybe my whole career," said FLW Walleye Tour pro James Adsem of Shorewood, Minn. "We're right in the middle of the spawn, the water is slowly starting to come up but there is very little flow. And you need flow because without it, the walleye scatter. With flow, they'll stack up on current breaks and it makes them a lot easier to catch."

Walleye Tour boaters head ot the starting line before opening takeoff.The good news for anglers is that the Mississippi - especially during this time of the season - provides the perfect template for anglers to fish to their strengths. With multiple viable techniques, anglers should have little trouble finding their own formula for landing the toothy warriors that have helped make the famous fishery what it is today.

"The beautiful thing about this river is that you can catch them a lot of different ways," said Adsem. "You're going to find guys doing pretty much everything - pitching riprap, fishing three-ways with crankbaits, vertical jigging and you might even see some guys hand-lining as well. And that's why I pretty much have every rod I own out on my boat today."

While Adsem's acknowledges the fishing will be tough, he also is pretty confident a few anglers in the field will produce some banner weights throughout the week.

"It's going to be tough, but I don't doubt they'll be a few guys who find the right bites," said Adsem. "And with the weather expected to warm up, every day should get better and better. But I think today, in order to stay in this tournament, you're going to need about 25 pounds. And I expect you're going to want to have north of 38 pounds after day two to make the cut. But then again, I could be wrong. The bite could turn out to be really, really tough."

Tournament logistics

Walleye Tour anglers get ready for the start of the opening round of tournament action on the Mississippi River.The full field will fish the first two days of competition. After Friday's weigh-in, both the pro and co-angler fields will be cut down to the top 10, based on the anglers overall accumulated weight during the first two days of tournament action. On Saturday, both the pro and co-angler champion will be crowned based on their three-day accumulated weight.

Anglers will take off from Ole' Miss Marina/Bay Point Park located at 1429 Levee Road in Red Wing at 6:30 each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at Ole' Miss Marina/Bay Point Park beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 295 Tyler Road S. in Red Wing beginning at 4 p.m.

Hosted by the Red Wing Visitors & Convention Bureau, the tournament will feature a full field of the world's best walleye anglers in each of the pro and co-angler divisions. They will be casting for top awards up to $63,000 in the Pro Division and $10,500 in the Co-angler Division.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-in. The Expo includes the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, a trout pond, and interactive games and activities. The NPAA will be offering a free Youth and Family Fishing Clinic beginning at 2:30 p.m. Prizes, including rods & reels, will be given away after the clinic. All activities are free and open to the public.

Walleye fishing fans take note

FLW Walleye Tour boaters kick off the start of the 2012 season by making their way out onto the open waters of the Mississippi River.Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 2:30 p.m. Central Time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 6:18 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 41 degrees
Expected high temperature: 46 degrees
Water temperature: 49-55 degrees
Wind: From the east-northeast at 6 to 12 mph
Humidity: 72 percent
Day's outlook: Mostly cloudy with 70 percent chance of rain

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2012-04-19-mississippi-river-red-wing 

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