After an exciting season spanning three divisions, seven states and millions of acres of prime walleye water, all eyes will be on Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, for the grand finale of the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit season—the 2011 World Walleye Championship.
Slated for Oct. 13-15 on Pools 9 and 10 of the Mississippi River, the Championship will see 37 elite two-person teams from nine states compete for more than $100,000 in cash—including $25,000 for first place—plus thousands more in sponsor bonuses from Cabela’s Angler Cash, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Berkley, Worldwide Marine Insurance, U2/The Oxygenator and the MWC’s Big Fish Pot.
Teams qualified for the 2011 World Walleye Championship by earning points during the 2010 Cabela’s MWC season at world-class walleye destinations from Lake Oahe at Mobridge, South Dakota, to Lake Erie out of Sandusky, Ohio. Each spot in the field is by invitation-only, carries no entry fee, and is coveted amongst tournament anglers.
Rich in fishing talent, the field is led by the 2010 Team of the Year, Ohioans Mike Knippenberg, of Hiram, and Ryan Buddie, of Lakewood. Reigning Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Champions Johnnie Candle, of Devils Lake, North Dakota, and Dave Noble, of Dixon, Illinois, will also be on hand to defend their title.
The Championship returns to Prairie du Chien for a second consecutive season. Last fall, 27 teams enjoyed great fishing despite high-water conditions. Candle and Noble pulled three limit catches weighing a total of 34.94 pounds off a rock jetty protecting the Wyalusing Boat Launch. The pair pitched crankbaits, including size 5 Berkley Flicker Shads, on rods rigged with Berkley FireLine and Nanofil. The Championship also ran for five consecutive seasons at Prairie du Chien, from 2002 to 2006, and if past history is any indication, it could take more than 55 pounds in total weight to win this prestigious event.
Championship qualifiers will compete three days for the largest total weight. Teams are allowed to bring five walleyes, saugers or saugeyes to the MWC scale each day, and the fish will be released back into the Mississippi River.
Weigh-ins all three days begin at 4 p.m. at Winneshiek Marina just north of Prairie du Chien, and are free and open to the public. Each day, raffles will be held for free Cabela’s gift cards. Immediately following Friday’s weigh-in, kids are invited to attend a free Youth and Family Fishing Clinic presented by Cabela’s, the MWC and the National Professional Anglers Association. The clinic will be held at the MWC tent outside the Cabela’s store, where the first 50 kids will receive a new rod-and-reel combo courtesy of the NPAA, plus a free tackle kit from Northland Fishing Tackle. In addition, MWC anglers will teach the youngsters how to tie a slip bobber rig, and will assist them in getting their new rods ready for fishing. There will also be a special raffle for additional prizes donated by Cabela’s.
The catch-and-release tournament is co-hosted by the Prairie du Chien Cabela’s store and Falling Rock Walleye Club. The event will be filmed for airing later this year on Versus Television Network. At press time air dates had not been set; check versus.com for showtimes.
Walleyes are winners in the equation as well. Since 1984, the MWC Conservation Fund has donated more than $300,000 to fisheries-enhancement projects in states where our tournaments are held. At the Championship, a $15-per-boat donation from each team’s entry fee will benefit efforts to protect the local fishery.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is wrapping up its tenth season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, Lowrance, Fishouflage, Versus (Vs.) Television Network and North American Fishing Club. Associate Sponsors include: Berkley Trilene, Energizer, O2 Marine Technologies, Northland Fishing Tackle, Ryjus, Reflections, Worldwide Marine Insurance, The Walleye Federation, RPM Outdoor Sports, Sea Grant and Wildlife Forever.
Concluding its 27th season, the Cabela’s MWC is the oldest team circuit in walleye fishing. The Circuit’s proven team format lets competitors choose their partner and double their fun, all while splitting expenses. For more information, call (877) 893-7947, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.masterswalleyecircuit