Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.



Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


River Or Lake? Sunday’s 100-boat Field May Be Split For AWWS Winneconne Nitro Boats Open

What would you do? Here’s your chance, like the 100 teams wondering the same thing, to decide: do you go for the walleye still hanging in the Wolf River’s current, or, “no-wake-it” down as far as Oshkosh and Lake Winnebago, where the big females that would ensure a win may be?

Your decision, and that of the teams launching Sunday at Winneconne’s city docks, may determine whether you and your partner will go home with an $8,000 check, or nothing to show for hours of on-water time, during the AIM Weekend Walleye Series Nitro Boats Open, on the Wolf River system.

Unlike last year’s event which saw wind, rain and cold play a factor, water temperatures in the Wolf River near Winneconne are already climbing to the 50s, says Brian Daun, of Hilbert, who with his partner Joe Schneider, of North Fond du Lac, are 52nd in Wisconsin Team of the Year standings after one event, and are looking to move up to the top tier with a good showing Sunday in his Nitro ZV21, rocketed by a get-there-fast Merc 350 Verado.

“I fished a little bit last weekend and the water is about 51 right now so I think they’re pretty much done spawning and are dropping back to the upper lakes,” Daun said.

For now, that means lakes Poygan and Winneconne, near the town of Winneconne, basically the same water separated by a narrows, and Butte Des Morts, downstream of the Winneconne Bridge. From there, it becomes the Fox River before emptying into Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh. Many locals fish the spawning run along the Wolf River upstream of Winneconne from unique rafts. Think floating cabin-size ice shacks, and you’ve got the picture.

“Last year it was extremely cold and wet. The fish usually spawn around the 14th here so it’s not too early,” he continued. Those rafts are still occupied, but they haven’t been producing that many females, he said, meaning they may already be spawned out and dropping back. That’s what he’s hoping.

“There was a tournament last weekend way up on the river, and 13 pounds won it, so I think it’s going to take a pretty good bag to win it Sunday. If it warms up another couple of degrees, it should be game on in the lakes,” he said.

Of course, going all the way to Winnebago brings up another problem, he said. That no-wake ride nearly all the way to Oshkosh.

“It’s a 45-minute ride just to go to Winnebago so you’d better have good fishing. I’m pretty sure the satellite images (there are daily NOAA satellite images available) looks like Poygan is dirtied up. But if it warms up, trolling will be good. I think the mouth of the Wolf will be good. The key is going to be a couple of big fish to win it. Trolling and finding warmer water will be key,” he said.

Mercury pro-staffer John McArdle and son Casey, both from Fond du Lac, also are pondering that warming water. He’s thinking that with fish possibly pushing into Winnebago, that long idle to the big water may be the ticket. Or, maybe not.

“I had 55 degrees for water yesterday (Tuesday), and we’re seeing a few fish in Poygan and Winneconne. They should be making their push into Winnebago, so it could come into play,” he speculated.

“The hard thing this time of year is staying on the females, but there’s a lot of feed in the river, so I think a lot are there. We’re at an all-time high for trout perch minnows and gizzard shad there. Last year they were catching fish on the main lake but the guys I’ve talked to say it’s pretty slow there yet. But if they flush by Sunday, you’ll see guys choosing to fish the Fox at Oshkosh. It’s a full field and the weather has been constantly changing. Some stable weather will greatly improve the bite.”

Popular spring setups at Oshkosh include Flicker Shads, No. 4 Salmo Hornets and pulling fly rigs.

“There will be plenty of males left in the Wolf and you’ll see lots of limits, but there will be just a few who will find those pods of females that will boost their weights,” McArdle said.

Saturday’s team registration and rules meeting takes place at Woodeye’s Bar and Grill in Winneconne, with Sunday’s inspection and launch starting at 5:30 a.m. Boats will leave in two flights of 50 starting at 7 a.m., and must be back starting at 3 p.m. Keep up with the action all day with team interviews at AIM’s Facebook page and through ProChattrr.

The awards ceremony will take place at Woodeye’s 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

AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats, LLC.

AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Navionics, Garmin, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Vibrations Tackle, Pro Chattrr, National Fleet Graphics, Gemini Sport Marketing, Warrior Boat Center.

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