DEVILS LAKE, N.D.- Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit pro Scott Hauge of Mahtomedi, Minn., and his day-two partner Dan Duvall of Shakopee, Minn., landed a five-walleye limit weighing 19 pounds, 15 ounces Thursday on Devils Lake to give Hauge the lead in his quest to win $50,000 cash plus a Mercury-powered Lund boat with GARMIN electronics.
Hauge will lead the top 60 pros competing in the $390,750 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit tournament into the semifinal round with a two-day, opening round total of 10 walleyes weighing 39 pounds, 6 ounces. Hauge and his day-one partner, Greg Abbott of Canton, S.D., weighed in five walleyes that registered 19 pounds, 7 ounces on Wednesday.
“We fished a stretch of timber probably 30 feet long and 15 feet wide,” said Hauge, who caught about 30 walleyes by vertically jigging 1/8-ounce green and blue jigs in 10 to 12 feet of water. “It was pretty thick stuff, and we lost a lot of fish because they would get wrapped around the trees. The trick was to get them up as fast as possible.”
Joe Dobos of Fargo, N.D., will lead the top 60 co-anglers into the semifinal round with a two-day total of 10 walleyes weighing 36 pounds, 1 ounce. He and his day-one partner, Michael Herrick of St. Louis Park, Minn., brought in five walleyes weighing 16 pound, 4 ounces. Dobos and his day-two partner, Mark Christianson of Walker, Minn., then caught five walleyes weighing 19 pounds, 13 ounces to give Dobos the lead in his quest to win $15,000 cash.
Rounding out the top five pros were Christianson with a two-day total of 10 walleyes weighing 36 pounds; Roife Behrend of Brookings, S.D., with eight walleyes weighing 32 pounds, 7 ounces; Duane Ten Cate of Sioux Falls, S.D., with 10 walleyes weighing 31 pounds, 8 ounces; and Steve Alverson of Chester, S.D., with 10 walleyes weighing 30 pounds, 6 ounces.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers were Russell McDonald of Canada with a two-day total of seven walleyes weighing 30 pounds, 11 ounces; Gary Fitch of Grand Island, Neb., with 10 walleyes weighing 29 pounds, 7 ounces; Abbott with 10 walleyes weighing 29 pounds, 1 ounce; and Mike Boppre of Roseau, Minn., with nine walleyes weighing 28 pounds, 7 ounces.
The Devils Lake tournament is the third and final regular season tournament of the 2001 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit-the world’s most lucrative walleye fishing series. It started Wednesday with 124 pros and 124 co-anglers from 17 states and Canada using a variety of tactics ranging from trolling spinners to jig fishing in weeds and trees. The field was cut to the top 60 pros and co-anglers Thursday and will be cut again to the top 12 pros and co-anglers after Friday’s action. Anglers in both divisions will start the semifinal and final rounds from zero and fish for the heaviest one-day catch.
Competition resumes at 7 a.m. Friday at Spirit Lake Marina located at 7889 Highway 20/57 in Spirit Lake, N.D., followed by a 3 p.m. weigh-in at the marina. The final takeoff starts at 7 a.m. Saturday followed by a 3 p.m. weigh-in at the Wal-Mart Supercenter located at 210 Highway 2 West in Devils Lake.
Run by Operation Walleye and named after Wal-Mart and boat manufacturers Ranger, Crestliner and Lund, the 2001 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit features three regular season tournaments each with a $390,750 purse and a championship with a $1.4 million purse.
Following the Devils Lake tournaments, 200 pros and 200 co-anglers will advance to the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship for a shot at top awards of up to $400,000 in the Pro Division and $150,000 in the Co-Angler Division. The championship will be held on the Fox River and Green Bay in Green Bay, Wis., Oct. 2-6. Green Bay hosted the inaugural Wal-Mart RCL Championship last year when Scott Glorvigen of Grand Rapids, Minn., won $300,000 and instantly joined the sport’s top all-time money winners.
Sponsors of the 2001 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit are Coleman, Conseco, Crestliner, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, GARMIN, Kellogg’s, Lund, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Wal-Mart, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards.