Posted at: 05/28/2013 7:18 PM
Updated at: 05/30/2013 12:35 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
With the annual ALS Walleye Tournament on the horizon, anglers are getting their gear in order.
Scott VanValkenburg and his fishing partner, Phil Mannon, have competed in this tournament nearly every year. They love the challenge of Island Lake.
"There is so much body of water there and so many places that look good on the map but aren't good," VanValkenburg said. "It takes time to find the good spots. There is some dandy fishing there."
"You can go out there one day and catch a lot of fish and the next you'd swear they all packed up and left," Mannon said.
But this weekend, competitors may have the advantage. The ice melted off the lake just recently, and that could mean optimal fishing conditions.
"I said that right from the get go," Mannon said. "With the late ice, it could really do some good things for the catch in this tournament."
"I think it'll be better this year than in year's past," VanValkenburg said. "The fish spawn and then they go into a post spawn lull where the bigger female seem like they don't eat too much. But then they cut loose and I think it'll be just in time."
Because of the late winter, both anglers say pre-fishing will be critical for this year's tournament.
"The water is really really high. It gives the fish a lot more opportunity and places to be," Mannon said. "Until I get on the water and see what that water temp is, that'll dictate where I'm gonna go."
"I'm gonna try to fish shallow water because I've heard a lot of good things about that," VanValkenburg said.
The event is competitive, but when those boats launch on Saturday, the real focus is raising money for ALS.
"I don't want the tournament to stop, but I'd like for them to find a cure," Mannon said. "If we do find a cure, let's keep the tournament rolling for something else."