Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 7, 2023
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Welcome To The Rock: It’s Wisconsin’s ‘Lake Kosh’ and Rock River For AIM’s National Championship Shootout June 2-3
You certainly want challenges when a Warrior boat/trailer-Yamaha four-stroke-Garmin electronics combo is on the line, and Wisconsin’s Lake Koshkonong and the Rock River system that feeds it provides it in spades for the 30 teams who qualified for the 2023 AIM Weekend Walleye Series National Championship Shootout June 2 and 3.
“First off, it’s pronounced Kosh-ka-nong, and you’re going to have a ball figuring out where all those hefty post-spawn females are on this wider-than-wide spot in the Rock,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director.
“We told you, Fan Nation, that we’d be choosing places for the championship that not only makes the field even. This is a system that normally sees only local fishing pressure. It’s a good lake with good fishing. There are some local tournaments here, and it’s definitely big enough so teams can spread out and develop a program to win,” Fox added. “It’s also small enough that we won’t be affected by wind and weather. It’d have to be pure evil to not be able to get on this body of water.
“This is only one of the tweaks we’ve got in store for 2023’s schedule. All that and more will be announced soon. AIM aims to please, so to speak, and I think you’ll be more than pleased with what’s coming,” Fox said.
“What we’ll be telling you here and in team emails about will make the Shootout and the entire 2023 season even more exciting.”
Now, about Lake Kosh and the north-to-south flowing Rock River. Fox, along with the tourney’s two local co-sponsors, Brian Huser, owner of Bait Box on the Rock in Fort Atkinson, and Jim Bowen, owner of the Island Bar and Grill where teams will launch, and where one team will take the keys to that beautiful Warrior, gave a little preview. As Fox said, championships are supposed to be challenging, and this one will take some study time between now and June.
“There’s a good host of fish in the system, but it’s going to be a numbers game. Teams will have to find where those bigs will be sunning themselves and filling their bellies after spawning,” Fox said.
“A lot of it is just the sheer size of the lake. It’s a lot of ground to cover. The challenge will be figuring out the river and the lake. And with only 3-1/2 days of practice allowed, it doesn’t give’em long. Tournament limits will be two dams, downstream at Indianford about five miles from the lake, and up 13 miles at Jefferson, and you’ll be able to also get into the Crawfish River too.”
Bowen’s Island Bar and Grill is on the water a half-mile upriver at Fort Atkinson, with 50 slips available. Bowen describes Lake Kosh as a “wide spot” on the river, formed by a long-gone dam. “There’s not a lot of structure. There’s a sunken island in one bay and some rock bars. It’s like a big pie pan and it’s pretty much the same depth and grade underwater. We’ve got a state hatchery upriver, so we’ve done a lot of work to maintain our walleye population,” Bowen said. Bait Box On The Rock owner Brian Huser agreed.
“The lake will make things a little trickier. When you think about walleye fishing, you’re usually targeting water deeper than seven feet, and this lake, that would be in a wet season. I don’t know if we’ve had much over six the last two seasons, so it should make the tournament much more challenging,” Huser continued. “And in my memory, there’s never been a major fishing tournament that’s ever tapped this fishery.
“It’s an 11,000-acre lake. It’s a stained river and carries a lot of sediment,” he said. He also agrees with Bowen, who said you may find the same conditions here as in another AIM tournament regular, the system at Winneconne.
“I’d say Lake K and Poygan are like sister lakes. So they will be able to fish both the lake and river here, and because of that you could well be fishing several different techniques. Teams will be mostly fishing the lake, but we had a strong river bite last two years that went well into July, so vertical jigging with live bait, plastics or hair jigs and flies may still be in play,” he said.
That includes not only for walleye, but for the system’s strong sauger and saugeye population. If you lean towards live bait on bobbers or jigs, Huser recommends stocking up on some yummy blacktail chubs and magnum fathead minnows, aka “tuffies” up to three inches.
He also says that you’d also better have crawler harnesses aboard. If you cast, bring your Garmin LiveScope. And prepare to be impressed with sizes beyond what’s seen on recent TV shows, he added. “Already this winter there’s been a 28-1/2, a 26-1/2 and other upper 20-inchers, so the potential for big fish is there.”
We’ll have more previews of the coming season, including some changes that will make it easier and even more rewarding for you to compete in AIM events all the way into October in 2023. Just go to the AIM website, aimfishing.com, for details on how you can register to get in on the fun, both on the lakes, and in AIM’s new River Division. That starts with punching your season ticket beginning Jan. 15. Pick-and-choose individual events become available Feb. 1. And as always, watch for the latest at AIM’s Facebook site.
You know you want to. You know you can.
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.
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AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats inc.
AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Oconto WI, Off Shore Tackle, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, McQuoids Inn, JT Outdoors Products, Rosemore Outdoor Gear, Outdoor Authority MN, Island Bar and Grill, Bait Box on the Rock