Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 14, 2018
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Lake Sakakawea Is Fish-Filled, Water-Filled And Waiting
For Sunday’s AWWS Warrior Boats/Woodland Marine Open
North Dakota’s Lake Sakakawea is well into its June rise, pooling winter’s runoff from snows in Montana’s mountains, and the walleye are cooperating with an absolutely amazing bite, as two locals who will fish Sunday’s AIM Weekend Walleye Series Warrior Boats/Woodland Marine Open call it. The only questions will be, who’s going to lock in on it, and where, in this third-largest manmade lake in the nation.
“Word is the lake has a boatload of 19-to 28-inch fish waiting, and the lake is rising about three inches a day, so NoDak teams, be locked and loaded with your favorite presentations,” said Denny Fox, AIM National Tournament Director.
One of two locals who may know is Lenny Eubanks of Williston, North Dakota (ND) at the lake’s western end, who’ll be piloting a Warrior V208 to his spots come Sunday from 4Bears Casino, across the bridge from New Town, ND.
“Right now the water’s as high as its been since 2011, during our last flood. We’re six feet below flood stage and we’re rising on average three or four inches a day for about a month now,” Eubanks says.
“The fish are moving, and coming into Van Hook Arm, which they always do this time of the year,” he adds. Van Hook is a short car-ride from New Town, but a longer boat ride south around the corner, then north. A recent two-day tournament was won there with 63 pounds, however at last year’s AIM event about the same date as this, two won it using Berkley Flicker Minnows and Pro Shads 15 minutes from the launch site.
“A lot will be running there, I guarantee it, but I stay away from big crowds and we’ve got a spot away from everybody, quite a big run. We won’t be fishing this end because it’s really muddy, so we’ll be going east quite a ways,” he says. That muddy water is from snowmelt coming in from the main rivers feeding Lake Sak, the Missouri, and before it, the Yellowstone.
The lake temperature has been conducive to feeding fish, and despite cold fronts moving through earlier in the week, he’s expecting fish to be up shallow Sunday. And deeper, too, depending on your presentation preference.
“You can catch fish in two feet of water or 40. This time of year a lot will be pulling crawlers. Chubs will be in big play right now and of course pitching jigs and cranks,” Eubanks says.
“I think to win it you’re going to find someone that has a 35-pound bag. If you get 25, you’ll be in the money. Since 2011 the walleye population has been coming up so much that if you don’t get a limit this time of year, you did something wrong. We’ve got a very, very strong fishery. It’s amazing,” he says.
Agreeing with Eubanks is Tory Hill, who says he’s fished his entire life out of New Town.
“This year it’ll be one of the top five water years on record. But it doesn’t appear to affect the bite, which has been absolutely phenomenal since ice-out. There’s just so many 19- to 21-inch fish in the system it’s insane. You can one after the other and there’s also a lot of 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30-inch fish, too,” Hill adds.
Hill is also telling teams to come prepared. “You can get them doing just about anything. Guys are still pitching jigs, trolling cranks shallow, live-baiting minnows to crawlers, to leeches, and there are some getting them deeper with the rising water, from 30 to one foot,” he says. ”Any presentation could potentially win. And it’s whoever happens to land on the right pod of fish.” He’ll take that bit of luck over skill any time, he adds.
Although Eubanks adds that you’d better bring your own leeches, as they’re few and far between here. “Better bring some of those good Devils Lake leeches,” he jokes.
Hill confirms that there is a migration, and fish this time of year seem to be following a typical pattern. “There’s a migration from the river stretch from White Earth Bay to New Town towards Van Hook Arm. With the water coming in, it seems to be muddier north of the bridge towards White Earth Bay,” Hill says. “So if I had to guess, a lot will be trying to get out of that mud. Obviously Van Hook Arm seems to put out a lot of big fish. But I would suspect there will be a lot heading south.”
Whether the field will be running from that muddier snowmelt water to the north or no, they’ll be all leaving Sunday morning from the 4Bears Casino boat launch, where all tournament activities take place.
Team registration and the rules meeting takes place at the casino starting at 5 p.m. Saturday. Boat inspections at the casino launch Sunday begin at 5:30 a.m., and boats get the “go” sign starting at 7 a.m. Teams must be back at the launch beginning at 3 p.m., with the awards ceremony starting at 5 p.m.
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 www.aimfishing.com.
AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats, LLC.
AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Vibrations Tackle, Pro Chattrr, Gemini Sport Marketing, Treeland Resort, Anglers Avenue, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, Fox River Lures and Rods, Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau