Brian Ney and Dan Stier know how to catch walleye. No doubt about that.
Fresh off a top 10 finish at the In-Fishermen Professional Walleye Trail the previous weekend, Stier (of Pierre, S.D.) and Ney (from Baudette, Mn.) easily captured top spot in the first-annual Rainy River and District Chamber of Commerce Live Release Walleye Tournament there Sunday afternoon.
After bringing in five walleye weighing 16.16 pounds on Saturday, they reeled in the tournament title—and the $10,000 first prize—with 15.58 pounds Sunday for a 31.74 total.
The pair, who fished about a mile downstream of the international bridge on Saturday and then moved around a bit more Sunday, also earned $1,000 for the tournament’s big fish—a 7.62-pounder they brought on the final day.
Mark Chapman and Wayne Carlson of Baudette were well back in second with a 24.32-pound total, earning $4,500, while Rainy River favourites Bill Yoki and Earl Ivall were third with 23.62 pounds, winning $2,000.
Yoki said they caught most of their fish about five-six miles upstream towards Fort Frances. On Saturday, most were brought in early in the day but they were catching fish throughout the day Sunday—despite the cold and wet conditions.
Yoki admitted it was difficult to aim for top spot after Ney/Stier had nearly a six-pound advantage over them after the first day.
“You would have to get two big ones. It was looking pretty bleak so we looked at finishing third or fourth,” he said, adding they used jigs and minnows to catch their fish.
Rounding out the top 10 were Vince Allan/Stan Horton (22.66 pounds for $1,500); Paul Jewiss/Dale Strachan (21.24 for $1,200); James Hartnell/Leslie Morson (21.08 for $900); Dave Oldakowski/Sean Westman (20.94 for $750); Gerry Jolicoeur/Robert Ottertail (19.62 for $700); Kevin Marchuk/Thatcher Haggberg (18.82 for $650); and Lorne Jonassen/Roy Sigurdson (18.64 for $600).
Winning $1,000 as the most improved team from day one to day two was Doug Moen/Colin Wood. After hauling in a meagre .74 pounds with one fish Saturday, they rebounded by reeling in five fish for 14.08 pounds Sunday.
Meanwhile, Don Marchuk/Deon McKenzie took home $1,000 for being the team closest to the hidden weight for the weekend. Their two-day catch of 9.94 pounds was just .04 pounds off the hidden weight (9.98).
The inaugural tournament attracted 43 teams, mostly from Rainy River District, Minnesota, and Manitoba. Entry fee was $600.