What else can you ask for? A picture-perfect day and a chance to compete with some of the best walleye fishermen in the area. This year’s Walleye Tournament held by the South-Lancaster Fish and Game Club was a total success. With a slightly higher than expected 23 boats enrolled, the stakes were high and the competition proved to be solid. This year’s tournament took place near Mac’s Marina at the old Lancaster-Inn point, which works perfectly as a both a neutral starting point between the islands and the big lake and at offering an absolutely breathtaking view of the Carin and Lake St-Francis.
First and foremost. I would like to personally thank Glen Patton, Gene Picard, Shawn St-Pierre and Wayne Woods for volunteering and handling the leg-work that day. The event can’t happen without the help of volunteers and I know these guys would have loved to be fishing too. So a huge thank you goes out to them.
The day began with a speech for the ages from tournament co-organizer, local legend and fellow angler, Derek Leroux. As the dead calm waters betrayed the fiery battle that was about to take place, he spoke wisely, stoically sending competitors off with finely chosen words of wisdom. Engines purred as anxious moments finally led to a long anticipated shot-gun start on a beautiful Saturday morning. Well, Derek’s version of a shot-gun anyway. All was set for the makings of a memorable day…which in the end definitely did not disappoint.
It’s no secret that it’s been tough fishing this year, so we figured our best option early on was to cover a lot of water and get the minimum 3 fish in the boat first. We made it to our first spot, and began covering water from deep to shallow. It didn’t take long until Derek said “fish on” and we had officially broken the proverbial ice. The first fish was solid, and gave me high hopes for the day. We hit 2-3 more spots and by 9:07am we had our 3 fish swimming in the livewell, as happy as can be. The pressure was off. It was now time to go after big fish. That first fish however, unfortunately for us, ultimately ended up being the biggest of the 8 we put in the boat before the 3pm deadline. Our day ended with a total weight of 10.75lbs, good enough for a tie in the 8th position. Considering the competition at hand, I was more than happy with the result. Enough about me though…
Tournament honours this year went to none other than Ryan Flaro who earned his stripes for the win with 15.35lbs. Ryan puts in as many hours on the river as anyone I know and his hard work and relentless pre-fishing paid off. And when I say paid off, I mean with a 1,035$ pay off to be exact. Not bad for a day’s fishing! From speaking with Ryan I know he experiments a lot and absolutely loves to fish. Congratulations on the W Mr. Flaro! Fully deserved.
Coming in close second, in what ended up being a fierce battle that culminated into an exciting photo-finish, are the brother duo of Kris and Mike Rousseau who weighed in at 15.25lbs. Did I mention how close a finish that is? I’ve been lucky enough to fish with both of these guys and I can testify that they are incredibly knowledgeable anglers. These two together in a boat have to be considered as favourites to win any tournament. Kris and Mike’s run-and-gun approach earned them not only 2nd place and a nice chunk of change at 575$, but also biggest fish of the tournament prize with a beauty 6.6lbs beast, worth an extra 150 bucks. Great job guys! One couldn’t possibly come up with a better one-two finish.
Next, coming in at the 3rd position, is the team of Alain Larocque who weighed in a solid 14.35 lbs. That is an average of 4.78lbs per fish! Their efforts earned them 345$ which definitely covers gas money.
The next two money positions were awarded to the famed Laframboise family. Chris’s and Adrien’s boat finished 4th and 5th respectively, earning 230$ and 115$ with total weights of 12.10lbs and 11.75lbs. The final position with earnings went to Mike Quinn’s team, who pocketed 100$.
Unfortunately there were no real monsters caught this year. And by that I mean fish over 8 pounds. In talking with many of the fisherman after the tournament opinions vary on why that is, but most agree that predominantly cool and rainy conditions this year did not help fishing quality. There were still some beauties caught however, and more importantly, to quote Miss Stevie Smith, a good time was had by all. We hope that this year’s success encourages even more people to take part in the next one.
Can’t wait til next year!
Until next time, Stay Outside! Jigger.