Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.



Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


Up The Creek With A Win: O’Tooles Take St. Louis River/Superior AWWS Qualifier by 10 Pounds

It could have been 50 pounds instead, said Kelly O’Toole, if two beasts in the high 20s hadn’t made a self-release at the back of the boat. But, $5,000 more than eased the pain, as O’Toole and his 17-year-old son Collin, boated 39.68 pounds to win at Superior in this season’s last AIM Weekend Walleye Series Warrior Boats Open qualifier in the Minnesota Division.

It was their first AIM tournament. And, they took it not in Lake Superior, but in the river, once again going against what many teams in the 63-boat field thought. That lake bite was so two weeks ago, said Kelly O’Toole.

“I live here, so we knew the bite was on there about two weeks ago,” he said. “We did go out there Saturday just to go through the motions. We knew the channel was on, so we ran a little decoy trip,” O’Toole said coyly. “The lake bite just wasn’t there.

“Two weeks ago along the south shore we had nine fish in the first three hours from 24 to 29 inches. The next day we went back and got 17. When it’s on, it’s on, but if you go back the next day it’ll shut down,” O’Toole said, and shut you down. The recent rain there didn’t help either, muddying up the lake from water coming out of the St. Louis River.

So, the pair headed upriver Sunday instead, close to the Spirit Lake area, about five miles from the upstream limit. They towed Berkeley Flicker Minnows. No crawlers. “I hate pulling crawlers. It’s painfully slow,” he said.

“Our first pass, the first fish was a 20-3/4, so we knew they were hitting. The second was a 15 and the third was a 28-1/4, then the bite shut off on us for 2 or 3 hours,” O’Toole said.

On every pass, they pulled those Flickers upstream, into the current, tooling along about 1.6 mph. Didn’t get a hit going with the current.

“Every pass, we’d roll down a few blocks, set up, and troll into the current. They ended the day with seven fish on the card, the biggest around 29.

O’Toole said they were being conservative in recording lengths because they didn’t want to lose a miss-measured fish. They concentrated on suspended fish.

“There was a huge mayfly hatch the night before and when we got there Sunday, we said oh boy, here we go, but actually I think it got the fish more active,” he said. Their last two they lost 20 feet behind the boat. Those were the two high-20s.

“It was an awesome day. The best day we’ve ever had on the river. Those big ones we lost at the back, that was just nuts. If we would have landed those we would have had close to 50 pounds,” O’Toole estimated.

The second place team of Kyle and Josh Berg also from Duluth, also eschewed the advice to hit the lake, and also ran upriver to the Spirit Lake area, earning $2,000 for 29.01 pounds. They tried the big lake during pre-fishing, and didn’t get anything to go. That’s when they decided the river was for them.

This was also their first AIM tournament, entering because they wanted to see how it compared with local events, which also use a format similar to AIM’s Catch-Record-Release™.

“We were in the shallows, three feet and less for the first half, then made a change and decided to go downriver and found some weeds, pulling spinners in three feet of water,” Kyle Berg said. “You’re right over the tops, flat lining with no weight, 30 feet behind the boat, at about 1.3 mph on our electric.”

“In Spirit we got a 15-1/4 and a 24-1/2, then our first fish downriver was a 26-3/4, and we kept upgrading from there, with 22- to 24-inchers,” Kyle said. ““We absolutely love the AIM format. We will be back, that’s for certain.”

In 3rd Place Mike Lillemo and Ryan Sheldon with 26.99# and a check for $1,500.00. 4th Went to another Berg, Don Berg and Tom Foldesi with 24.83# and $1,300.00 and 5th is jason Pitts and Pat (Shooter) Brookshaw with 23.30# and $1,100.00

Next up, head with us as the AWWS season reaches its climax with AIM’s version of the playoffs. It starts this weekend with all the action as teams try to figure out the bite amidst the sunken farm machinery, telephone poles, roads, and whatever else Devils Lake can throw at North Dakota anglers, on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 4-5. Watch for a preview of that event coming up later this week. And, catch all the action on “game day” 1 and 2 at AIM’s Facebook site, and Prochattrr.

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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