Sunday, March 20, 2016

Locals Win Cabela's Master Walleye Circuit on Illinois River

Illinois RiverLocals Win Cabela's Master Walleye Circuit on Illinois River

When you hear of walleye fishing your first thought is probably Wisconsin or Minnesota, not Illinois.  However, walleye fishing on the Illinois River near Spring Valley and Starved Rock has always been a hot spot.  This fishery has been so productive that the Cabela's Master Walleyes Circuit has decided to launch their 2016 season yet again in Spring Valley, Illinois.

For more than 20 years the Cabela's MWC Tournament Schedule has returned to this stretch of the river which has been dubbed the "Sauger Capital of the World".  Is this some kind of joke I asked?  "No, it really is." said Thom from Illinois Valley Outdoors.  

Tournament Director Dan Palmer
“The Illinois River is a world-class fishery that has set the stage for many exciting MWC tournaments over the years, and this is prime time to be there,” explains Cabela’s Senior Tournament Director Dan Palmer. “In addition to big numbers of saugers—with a shot at trophy fish topping 5 pounds—there are also plenty of walleyes around to keep everyone on their toes.”

This year's tournament was held on March 18th -19th 2016 in Spring Valley, Illinois.

Some youngsters showing off their new rods and reels
With a tough bite during the first day more than half of the 88 teams blanked and didn't weigh in a fish. During the second day of the tournament things didn't any get better.  The water visibility was bad and the cool weather had anglers wearing double layers of clothes.  Throughout the late afternoon many anglers called it quits early, blanking yet again.  
Weigh-ins were held at the Spring Valley Boat Club and were open to the public. Before the weigh-in, the next generation of anglers were presented a rod and reel combo from Dan Palmer. 

The great thing about the MWC is that locals are able to fish this event in hopes of making a name for themselves while fishing against some of the best walleye anglers in the country.  Many of whom traveled from as far as Nebraska, and North Dakota.  That didn't deter many local anglers from entering in hopes of winning an $11,000 pot.  

This year Joe Perez (Spring Valley) and Troy Tregoning (Peru) won the two day tournament with 7 fish totaling 19 pounds.  Residents congratulated them by yelling out their names and whistling.  A big congrats to these two gentleman, what a great way to represent Illinois.  If you wish to check out the rest of the results click here.

Illinois River Winners

Questions were plentiful from the tournament director Dan Palmer, asking things such as: where did you go? what were you using? Not wanting to give too much away, they answered that they were fishing upriver and jigging.  The audience was giggling due to the vague answers.  They were tight lipped because they had a tournament the next day and didn't want to give out to much information.  

IDNR is seperating the males and females for collection
After these fish were weighed in, they were given directly to the IDNR Fishery Department that was standing by.  They were in charge of gathering sperm and eggs to help increase the walleye and sauger population on the Illinois River.  Illinois has an abundance of waterways that are usually over looked by residents for some reason or another.  If you are looking to go fishing for walleye or a different species such as white bass, be sure and check out this spot.  By traveling to other states, we are hurting Illinois' economy. 

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