Slow-Trolled Chubs, Crawlers, Take North Dakota Father’s Day On Lake Sakakawea Qualifier Before July Fourth Break

Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.


Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


Slow-Trolled Chubs, Crawlers, Take North Dakota Father’s Day On Lake Sakakawea Qualifier Before July Fourth Break


Knowing at least a little about such a huge lake like Sakakawea is important for a one-day event, and that and catching that all-important last and biggest proved to be the difference for Justin Krieger and Rick Ellingson, who left Garrison with $4,200 as winners of the Father’s Day AIM Weekend Walleye Series/Pure Powersports Open Sunday, June 20.

“It was a little sporty out there at times, but the pair stuck it out on a typical Lake Sak gravel point and stuck that last mega-‘eye for the win,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “That also put them in a great spot for Team Of The Year going into the last qualifier that is set for July 11, on Lake Sak at New Town.”

Krieger and Ellingson, both from Williston, didn’t have to go too far either, just west of the launch at Fort Stevenson Sate Park by about five miles.

“We know the lake fairly well. We found fish Friday to the west about 20 miles, but we didn’t ever see anything really big,” Krieger said. “We didn’t go back there Saturday. We stayed closer and fished Douglas and Garrison (bays). We didn’t catch a whole lot Saturday, either.”

They decided to fish that gravel point that’s typical of this lake. Which one of the literally hundreds? He’d rather not say as there’s another tourney coming up that they’d like to have it to themselves. But it’s about five miles west. Or so.

Krieger said they used their Warrior V2090 Backtroller (and before you ask, no, they didn’t register it for that extra grand in Warrior Cash for  anyone winning in one, shame on them) and 150 Mercury as it was intended, slowly backtrolling into the wind-kicked waves with live bait, large chubs on Lindy Rigs so the ‘eye candy would be splayed out on the bow end, all nice and yummy-like, in 10 to 11 feet of water.

“Lake Sak is a wind-blown lake and when we got there, there were a few other boats. We fell in where we fit in and started going up the point, and managed to catch two right away, a 21-3/4 and a 22-14-incher,” Krieger said.

Then the typical break between breakfast and lunch set in, he said. At least for the fish. That ended with a mini-flourish, and two more fish, a 21-3/4 and a 20-3/4-incher. After yet another pause, the pair decided to pick up and head east to another point, where they found no competition.

“We got there and started backtrolling and we didn’t even have our second line in when we popped a 23-3/4-incher. We thought we got into some, but about 1:30 we decided to head back to where we started,” he said. All the previous company was gone. They had the area to themselves. That was the move that did it.

“We crawled up the point and bam, Rich caught that 29-3/4. He fed that chub to that fish for probably 20 seconds and from the back I saw that fish smack it. He set the hook and said ‘this is a good one. I got up front with the net, and he’s behind me. It surfaced and my eyes must have been like saucers. I said, it’s a good one, it’s a really good one. We were high-five-ing. It was pretty exciting.” That made their weight 28.94 pounds for the win.

The pair will get chance to do it all over when AIM slides west on Lake Sak for the next NoDak event July 11 at New Town.

Krieger said he actually likes working backward, and into the waves. “I think it turns’em on, gets’em biting. Our lake level is a little lower than it has been. I personally think the lake’s at a perfect level,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to coming back to New Town, as that’s the one where we blew up Rick’s motor last year. So we’re looking for a little redemption,” Krieger said.

In second place with 28.06 pounds was Jordan Binstock and Jacob Miller of Bismarck in their 300 Yamaha-powered rig.

After pre-fishing west and finding a lot of fish but not the right ones, and pre-fishing east, where the fish were right but it was tough to get’em to bite, they “didn’t go far from the ramp, only about eight gallons worth,” Binstock revealed, to find their fish.

Also using Lindy rigs and bottom bouncers with live bait and purposely drifting from .4 to .8 mph, they concentrated on 15 to 20-foot depths. They used an assortment, minnows, chubs, leeches, crawlers, depending on the fish’s mood and menu.

“We went to our first spot and it was packed with boats, and we gave it about an hour to realize we probably need something more to ourselves,” Binstock sad. “We moved to our second, and never left it.” But, they almost did.

“We started with a 19-incher, and they kept getting bigger right in order, a 21, a 23, another 21 and next there were two 24s and a 26.

“Our next spot was maybe 15 miles away and we didn’t want to give up that much fishing time for what we figured was the one bite that we needed,” he added.

Back at the dock, they didn’t have a guess where they stood. “We heard Ellingson and Krieger had a bag heavier and we found out like a minute before at the weigh-in when third place was announced.

This was Binstock’s first AIM event in a while, and he hopes to get back in when work, home and fishing schedules converge. He’s a big fan of AIM’s Catch-Record-Release.

“I like that the fish go back to live. Everything went well other than getting nervous taking photos,” he added.

The third-place team of Jeremy Wentz, of Washburn, ND, and Wyatt Wahl of Mandan, came in with 27.61 pounds and went home with $1,500. Fourth place and $1,300 went to Dennis Bense, Bismarck, and Bryan Holen, Hazen, for boating 26.89 pounds. Christ Scouten, Spiritwood, and Evan Reimers, Wimbledon, finished fifth with 24.28 pounds, earning them $1,100.

Just like pro baseball, basketball and others, AIM’s teams are taking a break from a packed two weeks to enjoy the Fourth. They’ll be back at it starting July 11, on Sakakawea, on Minnesota’s Leech Lake the same day. See you then and enjoy the holiday fishing!

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 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