Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.



Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)

 AIM Mississippi River Warrior Boats Open: Welcome to

the world of locks and river current to find those spawners

Several things are for certain when you’re fishing the Mississippi River on Sunday’s AIM Warrior Boats/Southside Marine Open: Prepare for just about any weather, and myriad presentations, and if you do make a run between Pools 3 and 4, make sure you don’t get pinched in a “tow jam.”

Other than those variables, and finding finicky spawners and post-spawn fish that will put on the feedbag, winning should be “easy” for the Minnesota Division’s opener.  But, enough tongue-in cheek references. Fishing here in a river that has everything from lakes to current, flooded timber, to those ever-present and popular wing dams, this event will hold lots of challenges when the assembled field takes off at Hager City, on the river’s Wisconsin side from Everts Resort.

First, says entrant Jim Adsem, there’s the distance, and where to fish: Pool 4 from dam to dam is about 38 miles of water, and Pool 3 is another 24.

“If you’re locking through, you’ve got to be aware of the barge traffic,” Adsem said. When the tournament is going out of 4, and you’re up in 3, and you get stuck behind a tow of river barges, it may take a couple of hours to put one of those tows through while you wait your turn. “And he’s seen teams disqualified because of it in other tournaments.

“Then there’s the water level. The water had been dropping, but now with rain recently my sense is it should be rising. That can be both good and bad. The river changes constantly and when the water rises it means more flow which affects where the fish will be,” Adsem said.

“They’re spawning right now so there should be some big fish caught if you find the right spot. So, I think the timing’s going to be excellent for this tournament,” he continued. “It’s not uncommon to weigh five fish for 30 pounds here.

Presentation choices? Worry about that, too, he said. “There’s going to be so many ways to fish these fish. There’ll be a lot of pitching rubber. Jigs with paddle tails and rings up shallow. There will be guys with creek chubs, vertical jigging with fathead minnows, and others pulling cranks up and downstream with lead core. The problem lies that this time of year there are maybe a half-dozen spots where fish will stack up and if you’re lucky enough with your draw number, that can make the difference in your whole day.”

Katey Vedeja agreed. She and team captain Kara Wattunen will also be in the hunt Sunday. Vedeja, who’ll be second chair in Wattunen’s Mercury Verado-powered Nitro ZV 18, says, like Adsem, that the size of the water, the potential for both spawning and post-spawn fish, and falling, or rising, river levels, are all challenges.

“If we get a lot of rain, the flow can change anytime,” she said. “I don’t know if I’m going to jig with plastics, which might be effective with post-spawn fish, or troll cranks, but that may not pay off if they’re not too active.”

It’s the team’s second AIM event, and they’re also signed up to fish all contests in the Minnesota division. “We fished our first AIM event on Mille Lacs,” she said. “We like the size of the event and the competition, and it’s a good group to fish with. And, with Catch-Record-Release™, it was a huge draw for us.”

Wattunen, who teaches 3rd through 6th grades at Hopkins School District in Minnetonka, hopes to provide the others a lesson, but admits she’s still learning the vagaries of the river.

“I’ve been working hard at learning the river. It’s definitely a different beast,” she said. She feels that, like Adsem, there’ll be plenty of active fish.

“Honestly I think the bite’s going to be whatever your strongest at, and you’ll find fish. Katey and I tend to troll, so I think we’ll be able to find them trolling, or pulling three-ways. The biggest thing is, if you’re not prepared for the strength of that current, people are going to struggle.”

Water temps in the river and vast Lake Pepin where she’s been pre-fishing are between 42 and 45.  The bite, she said, has been a bit odd because of the constant weather changes. “But I think they’re just coming off spawn, and others might be still spawning. We’re going to be looking at active feeders compared with the past few weeks when it’s been a grind to put a single fish in the boat,” Wattunen said.

Even though this is only their second AIM event, Wattunen’s sold on C-R-R. “It’s an awesome way to show that tournament fishing can still have that conservation aspect. A lot of people think of tournament anglers as water poachers, and this dispels that myth. It’s really well-run, and AIM has the highest level of professionalism you can get in Minnesota. It’s fun to be a part of that and be a part of conservation of the sport as well.”

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. AIM is committed to marketing excellence on behalf of its tournament competitors, the tournament host communities, and the brands that partner with it. 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

AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats.

AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Navionics, Powrtran, Power-Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, Off Shore Tackle, Team Lodge, Vibrations Tackle, Pro Chattrr, National Fleet Graphics, Gemini Sport Marketing, 4 Bears Casino North Dakota.

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