North Dakota’s Lake Audubon Oughta Produce Big, Say Teams Entered For Sunday’s Second Duel of 2021

Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.


Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


North Dakota’s Lake Audubon Oughta Produce Big,

Say Teams Entered For Sunday’s Second Duel of 2021


North Dakota’s Lake Audubon is the little brother of Lake Sakakawea, just a hop and a jump over the U.S. 83 embankment, and it’s no slouch when big fish are the target, as teams from across ND are about to find out when the AIM Weekend Walleye Series/Mild2Wild Motorsports Open throws out its anchor here Sunday (May 23) in this season’s second state qualifier.

 “We were here last in 2019, gave away a pile of cash to some great state anglers, and thought it was time to return and see how the walleye our teams shook hands with and released two years ago are faring,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director.  

Among the teams that will be probing the 23-square-mile lake is Cody Cerkoney of Belfield, who will be making the northeast drive to the lake on Friday with his 300-Yamaha-powered boat in tow. It’ll be interesting, because he’s never been there, he said.

“I’ll be working until Thursday and me and my partner Jay Northrop (a South Heart resident), will hit the water Friday and Saturday and swing for the fence. I plan on bringing everything to throw at’em and using my electronics, drive, drive, drive until I find spots that hold fish and go from there,” Cerkoney said.

That’s actually one of the things he loves about AIM and its Catch-Record-Release format. He said he’s a long-time Lake Sakakwea angler and fishing AIM broadens his horizons to both techniques and new water. Fishing AIM events last season allowed him to see different parts of Lake Sak for the first time.

“I’ve scouted the lake on my Navionics and we’re supposed to have a consistent north wind, not heavy but just enough to maybe push fish to the south side around the weed lines and sunken islands. I’ve been told to find the weed lines and if you’re catching bass and muskie, just keep fishing because the walleyes will be there. A guy has to trust his electronics,” Cerkoney said. Rain, he added, also is in the current forecast, and he said he doesn’t care if his boat has two inches of water in it, the state needs it.

“I’ve also been talking with a few friends and I’m thinking just from previous tournaments and the fish I’ve been seeing, I’m thinking if a guy’s got in the mid-20 pound range he’s going to do quite well. I’d be plumb tickled with that. That’s what I like about AIM. It forces me to fish areas I don’t have much experience in. I’m trying to advocate for AIM as much as I can here in North Dakota. We like doing it because we love the format of releasing the fish. That and the other reason we got in was to compete against the best. It’s the comradery and being able to stack ourselves against others.”

At age 28, Craig Kolden of Garrison could be considered part of the vanguard of the new guard of AIM tournament anglers. He and Shaeli Ekstein of Linton will be on the water in Kolden’s Mercury 225 Optimax-run rig, and he says it’s going to be an interesting tournament with rain and that cold front moving in.

“Audubon is a different lake, not the same as Sakakawea. The fish are not going to be piled up. They’re scattered. There isn’t one place where someone knows that will win it, and that buoy line dictates what we can fish. You can’t go past the buoys,” Kolden said.

Wait, what? Buoys? That’s right. A buoy line setting the boundary for the national wildlife refuge there denotes where you can, and can’t, wander. It cuts out a considerable amount of water. But, flip the lens. It means less water to eliminate.

“I’m more of a jig fisherman,” Kolden said. “That’s what I’d use out there but even spinners work, anything that flashes, even an underspin jig. Audubon likes that. But we’ll have to slow down with that cold front. I’m going in ready for a tough bite, so I have to slow down, and my electronics will tell me where the weeds are and the bait fish and the fish. But people will have to slow down.”

Slow down, or drive, drive, drive? Which will be the deciding factor in who wins at Audubon will come to the fore Sunday afternoon at the East Totten Trail ramp in Coleharbor, ND starting at 5 p.m. The team registration and rules meeting, including rules about that buoy line, takes place online at 8 p.m. Saturday. Boat inspections for all teams start at 5:30 a.m. Sunday at the ramp, and the first wave of boats clear the ramp starting at 7 a.m., returning starting at 3 p.m. Good luck, all teams.

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 inc.   


AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Berkley, X2Power by Batteries Plus, Abu-Garcia, Fenwick, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Quality Flow Systems, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, McQuoids Inn, Marinette, WI