The Cabela’s Master Walleye Circuit Spring Valley Tournament will launch from Barto Landing this weekend.
Starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, 66 boats will take off for their honey hole in which they will attempt to bring back the winning number of walleyes/sauger to put them in first place in the annual Spring Valley Walleye Tournament. They will fish until 3 p.m. the first day. The second day, that first group will start at 7:30 a.m. and fish until 4 p.m.
Another group of 66 will fish the opposite time schedule.
One of the concerns now will be weather. We know that it will be cooler than we would like, but these fishermen are a hardy group, and they will prepare for the cold with proper gear. What we hope is that possible rain or snow showers on Sunday will hold off until the tourney is over. The cold weather we have had this week has cut down the practice time for several teams, but last Sunday, the fishermen in the IWT tourney did pretty good. Let us hope it carries over to this weekend.
Bill Guerrini, president of the SVWC, said the river is slowly dropping and cleaning up. On Tuesday, he said he has been told there was 10 inches of clear water.
“Fishing should be just about right ‘if’ the water continues its slow drop and ‘if’ we don’t get any large rain storm and ‘if’ ... I think you get the picture,” he said.
This tourney marks the 27th consecutive time the Cabela’s MWC has opened its season in Illinois. With 132 teams in the tourney, the payout will be more than $67,000 with about $18,000 going to the winning team. Sponsor bonuses will add to the total. If you take away the weather at times, the Spring Valley Walleye Tournament is very popular with the fishermen.
It is extremely well organized, and the hundreds of volunteers make it run smoothly.
The public is invited to the weigh-ins which begin at 3 p.m. at Barto Landing each day. The Cabela MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoor Brands will present a Youth and Family Fishing Clinic immediately after Saturday’s weigh-in.
The first 50 youths will receive rod and reel combos courtesy of NPAA.
On location at Barto Landing will be a well-stocked food tent. You can bet there will be a large supply of coffee and cocoa available.
Those who wish to watch the weigh-in are reminded to park at Hall High School and take the shuttle, as there will be no parking available at Barto Landing. The shuttles will operate until the weigh-in is over.
Come and enjoy the Spring Valley Walleye Tournament.
• Last Friday, the Illinois Valley Whitetails Unlimited had its annual banquet at Wise Guys in Princeton. The food was great, but the atmosphere was even better. The deer hunting in Bureau County and the surrounding area was good this year, so there seemed to be a lot to talk about. The prizes and raffle items were of high quality this year, so that always makes for an interesting evening.
The highlight of the evening had to be the presentation of the Gordon Shipp Memorial Scholarship. The award is given in the memory of Gordon Shipp, a long-time friend and member of our local chapter. Gordy was very active in the founding of IVWU. This year the award went to Jacob Hofer, a senior at Henry-Senachawine High School and was presented to him by State Rep. Don Moffitt. Jacob plans to study to become a conservation police officer for the Department of Natural Resources.
Bob Stevens, president of the Illinois Valley Whitetails, pointed out during the evening that their chapter has been quite active in the four counties that make up the chapter. He informed the group they had purchased some maintenance equipment and a kiosk at Buffalo Rock State Park. They donated money to “Hunt of a Lifetime” for terminally ill children. They purchased equipment for the DNR educational program. They donated planting and tillage equipment for food plots at Hennepin Canal Parkway, and finally, they will be involved in assisting the 4-H shooting program.
This is why I feel we should all support IV Whitetails Unlimited and our other outdoor organizations. They give back to the local area, and they support youth.
Congratulations Jacob Hofer and thank you Rep Don Moffitt for your participation.
• The next important date to put on your calendar is April 6. This is the opening for the Illinois Inland Trout season. Fishing will start at 6 a.m. at the canal parkway lagoon.
Fishermen will need an Illinois fishing license unless they are 15 or under. They will also need a current Inland trout stamp. Neither are sold at the Parkway office. Your personal limit of trout is five per day. Come get your rainbows.
Another April 6 event is the D.U. Gun Bash. Every 10 tickets will see a winner. I think last year, there were about 20 guns won that day, More information to come.
• PHS students that are going to Canada this June are getting signed up this week. We still have openings for six more if any area fishermen are interested. Call me for details.
• Finally, there is an effort in Bureau County to recruit shooters for 4-H and FFA. I don’t have any information on this topic yet but will publish it as soon as I get it. We have some excellent shooters in our county, and I hope this soon becomes a reality.
Lee Wahlgren is the BCR Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.