Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.



Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


Winds may be the key to lure choices and winning on Lake of the Woods for AWWS Yamaha Motors Minnesota Division Championship

The leaders, at least, are already out there. Five days before they get the green light to gun it out of Wigwam Resort in Baudette, teams entered in the AIM Weekend Walleye Series Yamaha Motor Corp. Minnesota Division Championship were already on the water, and so far it’s a toss-up, in both what the lake will throw at them weather-wise Friday and Saturday, and bait choices.

Some are reporting success with crawler harnesses as the lake prepares to transition to fall. Others, however, say crank baits are the way to produce the winning weights that will at least equal those in two tournaments last weekend, a special event held for Warrior Boat dealers, and the first David A. Andersen Memorial Warrior Boats Shootout, won by Andersen’s son Adam.

There is still a lot of water and time to cover between when the leaders in the Minnesota Division Team of the Year were interviewed, and when they and the rest of the field head out early Friday. Both admitted that the winds that can quickly whip up the lake to whitecaps from end to end may eventually determine the winner more than anything else.

In first place for divisional Team of the Year (TOY) by 18 points, Chad Bleeker and Carl Stayberg agreed, it all depends on the wind.

“There’s no telling. As of last week, the winning boat in the Warrior dealer tournament had 55 pounds, and in the Warrior Shootout, it took 35-plus. So it all depends on how the winds will be,” said Bleeker when reached at the lake, where they’ve been pre-fishing since Saturday, Aug. 20.

“This morning it was so big, you couldn’t get out, and now this afternoon it’s nice. It could be calm here or 8-footers and when you’ve got to pound to the north end of the lake near Knight Island, the Bridges area and Garden Island, that’s a two-hour trip. There’s really no secret there. I would assume that’s where the majority of the field will be.”

So far, Bleeker said, the pair was concentrating on trolling crank baits with lead, but the lake’s fish have been very accommodating. The two have even gone so far to rent a cabin at the lake’s north end so they wouldn’t have to crush the waves from the south during pre-fishing.

“A lot will be doing downriggers and cranks and spinners and crawlers are still working. We’ve caught fish on everything. It will probably be a combination, but we don’t know what we’re going to do yet. Somebody will find’em, they always do. Today we pulled lead for several miles with nothing and then we came into a pod of fish and bing, bang, boom, we caught four.”

Bleeker had kind words for Adam Andersen, who won the Warrior Boats-only David A. Andersen Memorial Shootout, named for his father, who was one of the co-owners of the Melrose, MN-based boat company. Adam also will be on the water competing in the Minnesota Division championship.

“My hat’s off to Adam. I’m proud of him and really happy for him,” Bleeker said, about Adam’s win. However, tournaments have a way of steeling an angler’s emotions to concentrate not on tournaments already won, but instead, focus on the present.

“We’ll be out if the weather permits or if it doesn’t permit. If the wind blows hopefully it will push some fish up shallow on top of the reefs,” Bleeker said. And if that happens, filling their card can happen quickly.

The second-place TOY team of Paul Reiland and Brady Mork who also run a Warrior 2090 Tiller may also choose cranks, because at this time of year, fish may be scattered after gorging all summer, and you’ve got to cover water to win. Right now, they’re probing the main lake’s mud.

“You can find smaller fish on the edges but in the mud basin is where the bigger fish are coming in from 32 to 34 feet of water,” Mork said. “I would say right now and everyone who’s up there are kind of tending towards crank baits so we can cover bigger bodies of water,” Mork said.

“Everyone’s using something a bit different. In two days I changed from Flicker Shads to Wally Divers and Shadraps. To me what works is anything that’s got more sound to it and a pronounced action. We’re now switching to find the right colors. Some guys were doing better on oranges, but for us, we’re in more of a silver, emerald shiner.”

Eighteen points out he said, may be a lot, or a little, depending on what the lake is willing to give.

“But we’re going to do our dangdest to do it. Anything’s possible, I wouldn’t say 18 points is definitely not out of the question in a two-day tournament. We’ll go out, and see what we can do.”

That’s what they’ll all do on Friday morning.

The rules meeting for the final tournament of the 2016 season takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Wigwam Resort in Baudette, which also will be the launch site both days. The awards ceremony also takes place Saturday at the Wigwam.

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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