Who’s Fishing Genoa, Wisconsin Sunday April 2nd, 2017
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GENOA, Wis. — The Walleye Anglers Trail returns to the Mississippi River and Genoa, Wis., Sunday, April 2 for the second qualifying tournament of the season.
A field of 30 teams or more is expected to compete for a first-place payout that could top $3,000 with the addition of the W.A.T.’s new optional side pot.
The W.A.T. kicked off the 2017 season March 12 on the Illinois River at Spring Valley, Ill., in a combined venture with the Illinois Walleye Trail that drew a field of 61 two-person teams. The circuit returns to its traditional format when it visits Genoa for the sixth straight spring.
Five different teams have captured victories at Genoa the past five seasons using a wide range of techniques ranging from trolling stickbaits and crankbaits to rigging, vertical jigging, pitching jigs and dragging jigs.
Last April, Harry Miller and grandson Mason Jackson carded a five-fish limit of 26.97 pounds in the catch-record-release format, including an 11.03-pound trophy, to win. In 2015, Tommy Skarlis and Jeff Lahr put together a 20.23-pound catch for the victory. Gerry Oberbroeckling and Tim Ware were the winners in 2014 with 24.04 pounds, Maury Schmerback and Mike Glynn finished at the top in 2013 with 21.15 pounds, and Kevin Oyen and Steve Kopp were the 2012 champions with 15.90 pounds.
The video weigh-in for the tournament will take place at Tuna’s Bar in Genoa at 4:30 p.m. April 2. The public is also invited to Tuna’s Friday, March 31 for a 6:30 p.m. social and seminar with many of the W.A.T. anglers.
Spring Valley Preview Below
Who’s Fishing Spring Valley Sunday March 12th, 2017
SPRING VALLEY, Ill. — The Walleye Anglers Trail kicks off its 2017 season Sunday on the Illinois River.
A field of approximately 50 teams is expected for the one-day event that will be a joint venture between the Illinois Walleye Trail and the Iowa-based W.A.T. A second combined tournament is scheduled for June 25 on the Mississippi River at Clinton.
As one of the premier sauger fisheries in the world, the Illinois River has long been a popular destination for many of the W.A.T. anglers, although the Iowa trail hasn’t visited Spring Valley in years.
“I like fishing it,” notes W.A.T. veteran Maury Schmerbach of Dubuque, who has fished the Illinois River since the late 1980s. “Things have got to go right, but you can have days when you catch 30, 40, 50 fish. It’s always a challenge because conditions can change so fast.
“You can also do a lot of different things to catch fish down there. You can rig, pull Rapalas, jig … Some years one thing is hot and the next year it’s something else. You don’t want to leave anything at home.”
Harry Miller, the W.A.T.’s original founder and a nine-time winner, also has years of experience on the Illinois River. He’s seen the fishery at its best, and he’s seen it during a recent cycle of tougher times.
“I would say 15 years ago it was a monster sauger fishery where you had to average close to four pounds to win it,” Miller relates. “For some reason, there were a few years since then when you could win there with less than a two-pound average. Now it seems to be rebounding again and it’s taking closer to a 2 1/2- or 3-pound average to win.
“It’s very challenging. There’s really not much structure, and it seems like the fish move hourly. You could be on them at 1 p.m. and at 2 p.m. things just dry up. They could be 200 yards up or down the river, and you’ve just got to chase them.”
Schmerbach and Miller have also seen more walleyes showing up in their catches and those of other anglers the last couple of years.
“Twenty years ago, maybe 1 percent of the fish were walleyes,” notes Miller. “Now, I would guess that number is more like 5 to 10 percent. That’s awesome.”
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