Steir started off by the Beaver Creek Bridge. “I caught one right away that gave me a spark, then 20 minutes later I caught another one. Then I lost one, but I had the two nice keepers I was looking for, so anything above that was a bonus. So I thought I would tough it out until 10 o’clock, then make a move.”
However, at 10am, Stier caught his third one and knew he had around 15lbs and decided to stick it out there. About an hour later he got his fourth one. He was about to get ready to move at 1pm when he got a hit on a jig and a chub.
Earlier he had taken a rod out the rod locker and he didn’t notice that a corner of the net had become caught in it. While trying to get the net free and bring in the fish, the walleye got off. “My heart went into my stomach, and I thought, oh my God, I just gave it away,” he said.
Stier was working a 20 yard area. “The crown of the rock pile is about 13 feet. It has a shelf at 18 feet and then drops down to 30 feet,” he said. “The bait fish and walleyes were sliding up and down the rock pile all day.”
When asked about the tears in his eyes earlier, he commented, “this is one of the greatest moments of my life. I have always dreamt about this, and now it is reality. Even now I have a hard time holding tears back. I’m speechless. It’s just an awesome, awesome feeling.”
His four fish today weighed 18lbs and 14oz. His four day total weight was 69lbs 4oz. He took home winnings of $70,000.
“Today was a great day,” said Dean Arnoldussen who weighed four fish for 11lbs 13oz today and slid into second place with 64lbs and 15oz overall. “I started at my number one spot and caught some small ones and lost a good one. I moved to my second spot and caught some small ones and kept a 17 and a half.”
As soon as he dropped down at his third spot he hooked into a 21 incher. After a short drift he came back and got a 23 incher followed by a fat 17 and a half. He questioned if he should keep the chubby eye, but tossed it back saying, “I want to win.”
He then bounced around and ended up back at spot number one where he picked up another 20 incher. His best presentation was jigging with orange or yellow jigs and minnows. He took home a check for $29,000.
Third place and $18,000 went to Chris Gilman, who had a fantastic day catching legals. At 9am he kept a 21 incher on his big fish spot from the day before. He added a 19 and 20 incher to the box at his second spot and ran back to his first spot to end the day with an 18 and 19 and a half. By 12:30pm he was done. He was trolling near Mary College, primarily with orange or chartreuse #13 floaters, but they didn’t seem too particular about color, as he switched it up. His 13lbs 2oz today brought his tournament total up to 63lbs 8oz.
David Andersen was fishing in front of Apple Creek, then moved to another area three miles north with no luck. After running a total of 33 miles north, he ended up catching his fish right in front of the launch site pulling lead with #7 gold Flicker Shads. His five fish today weighed 11lbs 5oz, bringing his total weight to 62lbs 12oz. Andersen took home a check for $8,000.
For Bill Shimota, even before the tournament started, the plan was to weigh 15-18lbs a day, which he did. Today he just didn’t get as many bites as he had been. “They were all decent fish that I kept and I probably threw back ten legals. That probably cost me thousands of dollars, but you have to fish to win when you get the chance and I don’t regret it,” Shimota said.
“The water dropped at least another 6-8inches and the current actually increased, so I had to learn it all over again,” he commented. He was hand lining in two spots. One was four miles north of the ramp, and the other right in front of the ramp. He was fishing anywhere from 7-25 feet deep, using a pound and a quarter weight and shallow running orange cranks on 15-30 foot leads. He weighed three fish for 8lbs 9oz and 61lbs 1oz over the past four days. His winnings were$10,000.
Leader Tommy Skarlis was excited when he got to the Beaver Creek Bridge this morning and saw that there were only two locals there. “One was on the key spot and I knew each day the school was getting smaller and smaller, so I started looking for the school instead of working the break.” The only fish that Skarlis was able to land during the day was a 14.25 incher that weighed just under a pound. He ended the tournament in sixth place with 58lbs 15oz and took home a check for $7,750.
Rounding out the top ten were Mark Courts, Tom Kemos, Keith Kavajecz and Kevin Carstensen.