Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 1st, 2022
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
AIM 2022 Wisconsin Season Opens Sunday; Ice on
Green Bay, Spawners In River: Where Would You Go?
While you can inch your way into the still-icy Bay of Green Bay, chances are the AIM Weekend Walleye Series 2022 season opener for both the entire series and the Wisconsin Division Navionics Open could be dependent on the Fox River. Will it be crowded with the full 100-boat field Sunday morning, or will a chance run into the icy bay do it?
“Weather is predicted to be sunny and in the mid-40s after some snowy/sleety/rainy days, so I say what a fantastic way to kick off our season,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “What the teams we’ve talked to also are saying is, you may find some potential mammas and papas in the bay waiting to enter the river, but that $9,000 first place check, those first Yamaha Team Of The Year points, and that potential Side Pot pot may just go again to a river rat plumbing the Fox’s holding holes. Or will it? Everybody’s ready for this one, teams and Fan Nation, so here we go! Let’s see what the run-up week holds.”
The husband-wife team of Michael and Cassidy Denis from Krakow, running a Mercury 250 Optimax with Garmin electronics looked around last weekend and they’re reporting that you can go a “little ways” out of the mouth where fish are still staging, and near where teams will launch at Green Bay Metro launch, but a lot of fins also are heading into the Fox River proper.
“You can catch the big fish there, and smaller ones if you need to,” Michael Denis reports. And, he’s expecting A LOT of fish to be caught.
“Whether it’s us? Hopefully,” Denis laughed. “There’s enough big fish where someone can find at least a couple and stay on’em.”
“The fish bite here pretty much all day and even just moving around finding one here or there may be the ticket. There were two gates open (at De Pere dam) and quite a bit of current when we were there last Saturday.”
Denis was the first of the bunch to predict a weight.
“I think they’ll be in the upper 30s, and maybe someone will bring in a 40-pound bag. There was a tournament Saturday and the winner was in the upper 30s,” he said. Mike and Cassidy prefer AIM’s Catch-Record-Release™ format. AIM was the first major tournament to debut C-R-R, and more are getting smart and going AIM’s way each year.
“I’m not a huge keep person. I just like fishing and once in a while, keeping a meal. One hundred boats catching five fish each would put a little bit of a dent on the population, and for the bigger fish, it’s so much easier on them to have them in the water released right away. When you’re fishing in August and it’s 80 degrees in your livewell and you have to take a boat ride for miles, they get pretty beat up. A lot of tournaments are going to this.”
The father-son team of Mark and Jacob Garrelts has been on the water three times and will head out again mid-week to fish. Mark, the father, is from Armstrong Creek and Jacob (Jake) hails from Niagara. They’ll be on the water under Mercury 300 Pro XS-power.
Jake has been fishing the Fox and lower Bay of Green Bay since college, and the pair is entering their second year with AIM. He’s only been on the river so far this year.
“I’ve not been on the bay, but the river has been muddy. There’s been a lot of runoff, making the water super dirty. So a lot of loud flashing baits is what we’ve been finding that works well.” But, he added, the river has been clearing up a bit, so he’s expecting good conditions Sunday.
“It’s looking like lower winds because if you get any sort of north wind, it stalls the current. Usually when you’ve got that little bit of current, the bite is a lot better.
“There’s definitely big females coming in. The big hit hasn’t come in yet. With the sunny weather, it’s going to heat up the water and they’re going to start pouring in. The last two times I’ve been out I’ve caught a few really nice females. They’re in there. It’s trying to get them to bite that’s the hard part. I think a 30- to 40-pound mark will take the cake,” he added.
Team Garrelts is heading for the river, Jake said. “If the bay is open, historically there have been guys going out and using their electronics in the sand flats. It just depends if the ice has moved out far enough. But if there’s a north wind a lot gets driven back down and you just can’t get out there.”
Hey folks, here’s another father-son team, Eric Akey, with potential future pro 18-year-old Caden, from Neenah, running a 400 Merc Verado with Garmin Livescope.
“We’re familiar with it; I do a lot of river fishing,” Eric Akey said, referring to the Fox, since they live fairly close.
“The water’s cold, with all this weather,” he added. Meaning, snow and sleet. “This morning (Monday) it was 17. The water is still cold. Fish aren’t going to be spawned out. Maybe a few, but not many.”
“I’m going to try to locate the fish and then stick around and keep fishing pods. They’ll be on the move with new groups coming throughout the day if you’re spot-locked. That’s how I do it. I don’t know if that’s a good way or bad. There’s some skill in fishing but there’s also some good luck. You’ve got to throw everything at’em to find’em,” Eric continued. “I’ll probably end up fishing hopefully the rest of this week, but I’ve got a thing called a job that interferes with my fishing.”
He’s also saying the bay may be a no-go for a lot of teams. “It’s pretty iced in but we’re supposed to get rain Wednesday (National Weather Service predicts rain, then “wintry mix”, then rain/snow—hmm, isn’t that the same thing?–then sun, so…), will it be enough to push it out, I don’t know. Saturday, it (the ice) blew in and it was jammed up in there.”
Akey’s also saying there will be a range of presentations that the 100 teams will be trying. “You’ll see them trolling, casting and jigging. A walleye’s like a female; you never know what type of mood they’ll be in.” Okay Eric, hope your wife’s not listening.
Checking in also are Richard Caryl of Eagle, and partner Tim Immel, of Greenville. They’ll be running a Yamaha 300 four-stroke, with Garmin Livescope. And, they’re signed up for that sweet Yamaha incentive cash. All you teams running Yamaha, take note. Free money. Just sitting there, waiting. Caryl just rejoined the hunt after a couple decade hiatus to spend time with the family. He started the AIM circuit last year.
Caryl said he’ll be heading to the river Thursday morning and has looked at the satellite global imaging of the bay, and it ain’t promising.
“If the ice isn’t off everybody’s going to be crowded in, and the first few boats that can get to the dam, they’ll probably be pretty happy,” Caryl said. “The bay is frozen over, and the water can’t be more than 38, otherwise the bay would be more open.”
“I’ve got a feeling a lot of females will be stationed in that deeper river water and transitioning as the water warms. But, if the bay opens, a lot of teams will be looking there,” he said.
“It could be a live bait bite but after this front moves through Wednesday and Thursday. Blade baits, jigs, plastics and live bait will probably be really good. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be interesting depending how muddy the river gets.”
That it will be, Richard. It’s always especially interesting, that first dip into the April water. That first engine crank and throttle push, that first rush of cold air on cheeks when you get the “go” sign, and that first subtle little tug of what could be a monster pre-spawn female or two that takes it all this Sunday.
Teams, you’re ready. Fan Nation, you’ve waited long enough. Let’s get this one rolling. You know the drill: Online team registration and rules meeting, 7 p.m. Saturday, April 2. Boat inspection starts 5:30 a.m. at the Green Bay Metro launch. First flight is released at 7 a.m., and second, 7:15 a.m. First flight returns by 3, the second by 3:15. Awards start at 5 p.m. at the boat launch.
Check out AIM’s Facebook page, then register at AIM’s website to get in on the next events. You know you want to. You know you can.
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™) is a unique tournament organization created and owned by many of the most accomplished and recognizable professional walleye anglers, along with others who share the mission of advancing competitive walleye fishing and making it sustainable into the future.
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AIM is also committed to maintaining healthy fisheries across the nation by the development of the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format which is integral to its dynamic events and unparalleled consumer engagement. For more information about AIM™, AIM Pro Walleye Series™, AIM Weekend Walleye Series, AIM sponsors and AIM anglers, visit www.aimfishing.com.
AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats inc.
AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, Off Shore Tackle, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, McQuoids Inn, Marinette, WI, Explore Alexandria, Rosemore Outdoor Gear