Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.






Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122


Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)




Local bros upstage pros on Lake Sak, take second AWWS Warrior Boats/Mondak Sports North Dakota qualifier


After a rocky start, local brothers Craig and Christopher Kolden taught the rest of the field a lesson in how to fish North Dakota’s Lake Sakakawea, landing 28.89 pounds to pick up first place and $3,750 in Sunday’s AIM Weekend Walleye Series Warrior Boats/Mondak Sports Open.


The pair trolled home waters of Garrison Bay about two miles from the start with Berkley Flicker Shads in 11 to 12 feet of water at brother Craig’s suggestion to take the win. But things didn’t start off the way they ended, Christopher said, in their Skeeter ZX2050, powered a 225 Yamaha Vmax, all sponsored by Ye Old Malt Shop in Garrison and Six Mile Corner Bait & Tackle.


“We started off not very good to be honest. We got on the lake, and my brand new graph broke. We were trying to mess with that and found out then that our radio was out, so we didn’t know what was going on when the start came.


“We had no game plan but we never really ended up where we wanted because of the wind. We knew we could get into Garrison Bay because it was close and out of the wind,” Christopher said. So, that’s what they did. They started pulling cranks in the deeper part of the bay, about 11 feet, and within 15 minutes had their first fish, a 22-incher.


“So we decided to stay back there all day. Later I told my brother the wind was picking up, and we need an hour to get back. He said, no, and I said we needed to go now, and he wouldn’t listen to me. He said, ‘let’s make this one more turn,’” Christopher said. Both said they wished they could net a nice fish. And you know what happened next.


“Once we made that turn we ended up pulling that 27-3/4-incher. We pretty much broke the poles down and made it back in 15 minutes, with 20 minutes to spare,” he said.


In other words, brother Craig talked brother Chris into giving it a bit longer, which made all the difference. This is home water for Team Kolden, and Christopher said they usually target 3 to 4 feet of water, but with mountain runoff still pouring into Lake Sak, both the main lake and bays were colder than usual, so, he said, Craig also recommended they go a bit deeper. Another good choice.


“Back there too it wasn’t super windy but it was really windy on the lake. We figured there were going to be a lot of boats there, and that everyone would go to their main spots first and then come back there for the rest of the day, but there were maybe 6 boats in and out of there all day.”


Their experience with AIM’s Catch-Record-Release™ format convinced them too, that they’ll be fishing all the Weekend Walleye Series tournaments next year.


“My brother’s always been wanting to fish it, and we heard about this tournament and figured it was our home town. He’s been wanting to try Devils Lake—site of AIM’s next qualifier tournament on July 10—but we’re not 100 percent sure. We like the fact that in AIM tournaments you let the fish go after you catch them. And we figured why not try this one out. We heard a lot of big-name teams were fishing it, so why not fish with the big boys,” Christopher said.


Why not, indeed. The hometown boys ended up showing the big-name teams how to do it, on Lake Sak.


Winning $2,000 for a 26.73-pound bag were Mike Gibbs of Glendive, Montana, and Larry Zimmerman of Napoleon, North Dakota.  “We were adjacent to the boat ramp pulling Flicker Shads too,” Gibbs said. “It’s where we found fish. It’s a main lake point in a rocky area where Highway 83 crosses. The whole east end I would consider the main lake. With that wind coming through, I figured any point that stuck out into the current would be a possible fish attractor. I came across that point and hooked up immediately pre-fishing, so I figured that would a good place to begin in the morning.” His hunch proved correct.


Third place went to Jesse Carter of Cole Harbor, ND, and Justin Selzler of Velva, ND, who boated 22.08 pounds for $1,500. Fourth-place winners of $1,200 for 20.91 pounds of ‘eyes were Mike Peluso and Jeff Enzminger of Bismarck, ND. Fifth place and $900 was awarded Garrett Wurgler and Albert Alm, of Minot, ND, who boated 20.56 pounds.


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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