Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.



Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)

Bobbers, trollers, pitchers: Count on Minnesota’s Big Stone Lake to produce ‘big’ for Sunday’s AIM Warrior Boats Open

Minnesota’s Big Stone Lake is long, more than 26 miles. And, it’s shallow, 16 feet at its deepest. But, it’s got more than enough 25-inch-plus walleye for three competitors to predict it’ll take upwards of 25 pounds to win Sunday’s AIM Weekend Walleye Series Warrior Boats open.

Anglers Jimmy Bell, Nate Gilkey and Stephen Picht all say that when they and others head out Sunday morning, the lake’s rising water temperatures will mean more active fish than in the past couple of weeks, setting up to make a great tournament.

“I really believe that we’re setting up to have a very good bite,” Bell said, when reached on the water. “We’ve had water temps in the 60s, then a cold front came through and it dropped into the 50s, and now it’s heading up, so it’s setting up to be really good, and the state fisheries guys say there’s a tremendous number of 25 to 30-inch fish in the system.”

And, with good reason. The lake is stocked with millions of walleye every other year, and with a limit of one over 20 inches for catch-and-keep anglers, that adds to their numbers. And of course, with AIM’s Catch-Record-Release™ format, the lake’s slot limit isn’t an issue.

“There’s not a lot of structure in the lake, so it’s more about forage. Wherever the forage will be that’s where the fish will be. There is a mid-lake trolling bite that happens this time of year, and that might be taking place this weekend with better weather.  Bell predicts that crankbaits including No. 5 Berkley Flicker Shads may be the lure of choice.

“There’s also a corking bite that’s in the shallows and there also is pitching jigs into the rock piles,” he said.

“The key is the water temperature. When it dropped from the mid-60s into the low 50s it shut down a lot of the bite, but with the weather we’ve got showing up, those fish will get more active,” said Bell, who partners with his pregnant daughter, Chelsea.

Angler Nate Gilkey also said that the improving weather will be a positive factor.

“We had a cold front roll through last week and we fished a tournament last Saturday and the bite was off. Limits were hard to come by, but the big fish were not. If the weather stabilizes and water temperature warms up I think we’ll see some good bags,” Gilkey said.

“There’s a good year-class of 20- to 22-inch fish and a pretty good class of 25- to 27-inch fish, so if a team can put a pattern together to find some you’re going to see bags of 20 to 25 pounds pretty easily. Bobbers with leeches and trolling are the two go-to methods there. Trolling hasn’t hit its stride, but it could if that turns on. Both may come into play with water temps coming back into the low 60s.”

Entrant Steven Picht said the lake’s northern half is already seeing a bloom of invasive curly leaf pondweed. “It’s taking about half the lake out of play for tournament fishing, and the lake has its own breed of farmland bloom green slime that’s lure fouling like nothing you’ve ever seen. It depends on the wind, but when it’s present, it’ll keep one person busy nonstop cleaning lures and boards.

But he said, that work’s worth it. “There are big, beautiful fish, quite an abundance of 26- to 30-inch fish, and there’s always an area of the lake for them to work.

Like Bell and Gilkey, Picht is a huge fan of C-R-R™. “We’re on the board of another tournament and we adopted it eight years or so ago after AIM first came up with it, so we’ve been heavily involved with it. I’m absolutely 100 percent a huge fan.”

Team rules meeting for the tournament takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Sioux Historic Pavilion/Lakewood Supper Club in Ortonville, Minnesota. Sunday’s launch is at Ortonville City Park, where the awards ceremony also takes place.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed