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Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


Wolf River Walleyes Await AWWS Anglers, But

With Cooler Than Normal Weather, Where Will They Be?


Weather can be either the friend or foe of an angler, and this spring’s failure to load in Wisconsin leading up to the next AIM Weekend Walleye Series Nitro Boats Open on the Wolf River system in Winneconne will be certainly a challenge for the 100 teams taking to the water Sunday.

The main challenge being, where will the fish be that will win the event? Will they be up river? Will they be coming back down post-spawn, or will the water still be to darned cold for them to spawn, and the fish needed to win will be huddled in the river’s holes? That’s the puzzle that 200 anglers who have mulled over maps and plumbed the river during pre-fishing, and by launch, hope they’ve solved.

Heading onto the still-cold system will be boats like that manned by Sean Freund of nearby Fond du Lac. He’ll be there with his Mercury Verado 350-powered rig, dealing with the remnants of upwards of 30 inches of snow that fell in the week just prior to this weekend.

“The weather has drastically changed the entire system. We didn’t have a lot of snow this winter, so the runoff to fill up the marshes and the system might affect where these fish will position,” Freund said. Then in early to mid-April, winter returned by the front-end-loader-full.

If it warms, and predictions indicate it will, especially at night, Freund said the fish may spread out and a lot of teams may be searching far for those bigger fish that will earn them a podium position.

“A lot of these guys are some of the best anglers in the region. This year, everything is behind. The key for these anglers is to set up near spawning habitat. The deal is going to be finding where the fish are set up and going. I’m guessing it’s going to take a slow presentation. You’ll want to find some current and transition areas,” he added.

He’s guessing the best fishing will be upriver, through a long stretch of no-wake water, so jigging 1/8 to ¼-ounce jigs will definitely be a way to go or, even “pulling flies,” a unique setup that’s used on this system in spring, towing small squirrel tails and sparkle flies into the current.

“There will be some trolling on Winneconne and Poygan, but I don’t think that’s where the fish are going to be. The majority of teams will be running up the Wolf River to find fish. You’ll have to find a lot of areas because they’ll be moving. It may well go that a flurry of fish will come through, and then another,” he added.

He’s looking forward to fishing the remaining two Wisconsin tourneys after this, and hopefully the championship. “We had a good showing on the Fox. We have to be consistent to stay in the hunt for Team Of The Year,” he said.

Freund praised AIM’s Catch-Record-Release™ format for promoting the sport. “There are events that still do the live fish, but the AIM format eliminates a lot of the rules on bag limits and culling, which is not usually allowed in Wisconsin. So with AIM, the best fishermen can catch fish all day long. It creates a lot of opportunity for more anglers to be interested and betters the public’s view of tournaments.”

Another angler looking forward to Sunday is Louie Apitz, in his fourth season with AIM. He’s also hoping the big females are in the system, and cooperating.

“Unless we get a warm-up, they’ll stay up,” Apitz said. Meaning, up the Wolf. “The bite’s been great so far this year, and fishing the river, I’ve never seen it so good. We’ve had some real good spawns the last five or 10 years and the whole lake system has been great, so Winnebago may be definitely in play as well,” Apitz said. However, that depends on that weather factor.

“I would expect around the 20-pound range to win the tournament. I think there’s going to be a lot of limits of 17- to 18-inch fish. It’s who can get to the 22- and 24-inchers that will make the difference. But, we need some warmer weather.”

And the long-term forecast, it won’t be happening. A bit warmer, perhaps, but don’t break out those shorts just yet.

Get an idea of the Wolf’s clarity by visiting the Wolf River Cam, underwater cameras positioned on the upper river. Last year’s event was won about two hours and nearly 40 miles upstream from Winneconne. Will it take a team that long a run to win again? We’ll all find out Sunday, at the awards ceremony.

Here’s the skinny on the rules for Winnie: Upstream limit is the dam at Shawano, some 58 miles from the launch at Winneconne.

Team registration begins at 5 p.m. Saturday at Woodeyes Bar and Grill/Critters Wolf River Sports, with the rules meeting immediately following. Boat inspection begins at 5:30 a.m. Sunday at the Winneconne city dock. The first flight of boats leaves at 7 a.m., with the next following 15 minutes later. Teams must be back at the check-in location at 3 and 3:15 p.m., respectively. See who wins during the awards ceremony starting at 5 p.m. at Woodeyes/Critters, and catch the action on the water Sunday on Aim Pro walleye Series Facebook Page.

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, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Vibrations Tackle, Pro Chattrr, Gemini Sport Marketing, Treeland Resort, Anglers Avenue, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, Fox River Lures and Rods

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