La Crosse's Monsoor grabs 1st place in FLW Qualifier

Tom Monsoor has a simple reason why he is leading the FLW Tour Qualifier on the Potomac River in Marbury, MD.
With a possible $125,000 paycheck within in his grasp, the veteran La Crosse professional bass fisherman says the reason for success so far is, "I'm just catching fish in a tourney rather than in practice. I haven't made any changes. I'm just fishing."
Monsoor may downplay his first two days of competition, but he is not "just fishing." He's fishing really well.
Monsoor is known for two things - his patented swim jigs and river fishing after growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River. Both may finally be coming together for him after two days of the FLW Tour on the Potomac River presented by Costa Sunglasses.
He's fished the Potomac many times, but has had trouble figuring out the tides. However, tied haven't been a problem so far this week.
On Day 1, Monsoor thought it finally clicked, as he utilized a pattern he felt was tide dependent. Helping the matter was his boat position of 149, which allowed him to capitalize on both key feeding windows brought on by the tide changes in the morning and afternoon.
However, being in the first flight Friday, and with the tides backing up an hour, he knew he really only had the morning window. He made the most of it, cracking 16 pounds, 14 ounces to take over the lead with 36 pounds, 4 ounces. Robert Behrle of Hoover, AL, is in second place with 35-2.
“I had a limit by 8 a.m. on the first spot, and then I culled out four of them in the second spot,” Monsoor told FLW officials. “I was done fishing by noon and just went looking after that.”
It was a good thing Monsoor was done so early, as his batteries went dead and his livewell began leaking, forcing him to stop and refill his livewell any time he ran so much as a mile.
He got both problems fixed late Friday.
"Yup, I'm ready to go," he said from his hotel room Friday night.
The 156-pro field was cut to the top 20 for Saturday's round. Only the top 20 advance to Sunday's final round.
"We'll found out tomorrow," Monsoor said after exiting a late night FLW meeting for semifinalists. "I'm just taking it one day at a time and see what happens."
Monsoor has won almost $750,000 during a 14-year career on the FLW Tour. However, he has failed to cash in any qualifier this year. A six-figure payday on Sunday would certainly fill his wallet.
"I'm just a fisherman, he chuckled. "I've led FLW tourneys after Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3, but never after Day 4. "We're not even close to that yet."


La Crosse's Monsoor 2nd in FLW Tour Qualifier

It was only Day 1, but La Crosse veteran bass pro Tom Monsoor is only 5 ounces away from leading the FLW Tour Qualifier on the Potomac River in Marbury, MD on Thursday.
Clark Wendlandt, from Leander, TX, claimed the lead thanks to a healthy 19-pound, 11-ounce limit. Though his lead is a mere 5 ounces ahead of Tom Monsoor, Wendlandt has reinforced the notion that he’s in tune with this tidal system.
“I have fished the Potomac for a long time, since 1996,” Wendlandt said. “My first three tournaments here were terrible. I couldn’t catch a bass. Then I just figured out how to catch them here and it’s hard to describe but I get a warm, fuzzy feeling fishing out here. Not that I think I am going to catch them, but I feel very confident."
Monsoor also caught a five fish limit, but it weighed 19-6.
Monsoor, born and raised in La Crosse, has won almost $750,000 during a 14-year career on the FLW Tour. However, he has failed to cash in any qualifier this year.
The field is cut to the top 20 anglers after Friday's second round. Sunday's final round is reserved for only the top 10 anglers.

Muskie season opens Saturday in Minnesota

Anglers can begin fishing for muskellunge on Saturday, June 3, in Minnesota – a state well known as a muskie fishing destination, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
While committed muskie anglers might cast large lures all season and be happy with a small number of encounters with trophy fish, casual anglers may not be in-the-know about muskies in Minnesota.
To help set the stage, Chris Kavanaugh, northeast region fisheries manager, discussed some muskie basics.   
Q: Where did muskies come from?
A: Muskie are native to Minnesota waters, and they were present historically in many lakes and rivers, mainly in the north-central and northeast part of the state in waters connected to each other in the Mississippi River watershed. They were actually found in all the major watersheds in the state.
Q: What different kinds of muskies are present in Minnesota?
A: Presently, the fish we consider pure-strain muskies are descended from the fish that lived here historically, and are referred to as the Mississippi River or Leech Lake strain. We also have a small number of waters with smaller-growing native muskie from Shoepack Lake in what’s now Voyageurs National Park, although this strain has not been stocked since the 1980s. Finally, tiger muskies are hybrids of northern pike and muskie.
Q: Where in Minnesota can you fish for muskie now?
A: Some well-known muskie lakes include Leech, Cass, Winnibigoshish, Vermilion and Mille Lacs, and the St. Louis River estuary. Muskies are also found on many smaller lakes. Contact a local area fisheries office to ask about local muskie fishing opportunities, and learn about lakes to fish on the DNR LakeFinder at
In all, there are 99 waters managed for muskie and they’ve also been found in small numbers in another 50 waters. The 99 waters make up 21 percent of the total surface area of all the waters managed for fishing in the state – which means they’re here in very low density considering we have 5,500 fishing lakes and several large rivers.
Q: Does the DNR stock muskies?
A: Yes, of the 99 waters where we manage for muskie fishing, we stock pure-strain muskie in 50 waters, and tiger muskie in 11 waters in the Twin Cities metro area. Some waters are stocked every year. Others may be stocked every other year or less frequently. The number stocked in any given water varies from as few as 63 fingerlings to 4,000 fingerlings. In any given year, about 30,000 fingerlings are stocked across the state.
Q: How many people fish for muskie?
A: Our estimates tell us that about one in six Minnesota resident anglers fish for muskie at least once per year. The popularity and interest in muskie fishing seems to continue to grow.
Q: Can people eat muskies?
A: Yes, although the minimum size to keep a muskie on inland waters is 54 inches. On specific lakes in the metro area, the minimum size is 40 inches for tiger muskies. There is a strong catch-and-release ethic among muskie anglers, so fewer anglers choose to harvest these large fish compared with some other species. That’s one reason we included muskie in the catch-and-release length category of our state record fish program. The record length for a caught-and-released muskie is 56-7/8 inches from Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Take a Kid Fishing Weekend begins June 9

During Take a Kid Fishing Weekend Friday, June 9, to Sunday, June 11, anglers in Minnesota can fish without licenses if they take children ages 15 or younger fishing, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“We encourage adults to get out on the water and introduce a new generation to the fun of fishing," said Jeff Ledermann, angler recruitment, retention and education supervisor. “Teaching a kid to fish can be as easy as rounding up some basic equipment and casting a line, and we have lots of helpful information on the DNR website for learning about fishing.”
In Minnesota, children ages 15 and younger don’t need fishing licenses any time of the year. Take a Kid Fishing Weekend is a way for adults and kids to fish together without the step of buying an adult license.
Minnesota has a strong fishing tradition, but the overall percentage of people who fish is declining mainly due to a smaller percentage of anglers in their 20s, 30s and early 40s.
“Millennials and young adults are interested in the outdoors, and fishing can be a great way to further that interest,” Ledermann said. “Fishing is a way to relax and unwind that doesn’t have to break the bank. It takes you to some incredibly scenic spots on Minnesota's lakes and rivers where you can get away from the everyday noise.”
The DNR’s Take a Kid Fishing Weekend page at includes links to a beginner’s guide to fishing. DNR’s Fish Minnesota page includes regulations and locations of easy-to-access fishing piers and shorefishing areas, and information about fishing in Minnesota state parks.
Minnesota state parks are a great place to spend Take a Kid Fishing Weekend. Fishing gear is available to borrow at state parks and the DNR’s I Can Fish! program teaches the basics of fishing and runs throughout the summer at state parks. Even when it’s not Take a Kid Fishing Weekend, Minnesota residents generally can fish in state parks without a fishing license if the body of water doesn’t require a trout stamp.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Schmitt wins FLW tourney in La Crosse

Pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, MD, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 10 ounces Sunday to win the FLW Tour at the Mississippi River in La Crosse presented by Evinrude.
Schmitt’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 61 pounds, 6 ounces, was enough to edge second-place pro Joshua Weaver of Macon, GA, and win the top prize of $125,000 in the four-day event that featured 160 of the world’s best bass anglers competing in La Crosse.
Already a well-known river expert, Schmitt built his career by picking apart the Potomac and James rivers. Schmitt was able to apply that expertise to Pools 7, 8 and 9 on the Mississippi River this week and earn his first career win on the FLW Tour.
“My knowledge of the rivers I fish back home was 100-percent key for me this week,” said Schmitt, a five-year Tour veteran who has amassed more than $680,000 in FLW competition. “I’ve never been here, but I fell in love with how it was setting up.”
Schmitt said his sweet spot this week was a barricaded pond on the lower end of Pool No. 8. He described it as a section of water near the main-river channel that was surrounded by sandbars which protected fish in multiple phases of the spawn.
“I don’t know if it was there from years and years of current building up the sandbars, but at some point local authorities may have added riprap to make it stay,” said Schmitt. “It had two main trenches that ran through it and had plenty of deep water. At the very top there was a hole in the rock jetty that let current flow in. It had all the right variables – just enough current to bring food in, grass and spawning habitat, and the deep water for when they were done.”
Schmitt said he spent the majority of his tournament in the area, noting that all but three of the fish he weighed in came from it.  
“I think the fish that I was catching were both prespawn and postspawn,” Schmitt said. “Fresh fish were moving in and the big ones that were done were moving out.”
Schmitt said that his primary lure this week was a black and blue-colored prototype Riot Baits Swim Jig with a swimming trailer. He also used a black and blue-skirted vibrating jig with a Riot T3 Tattle Tail Swimbait and a 5-inch Texas-rigged Riot Stick stickbait with a 1/2-ounce tungsten weight.
“Before my main pattern evolved, I caught quite a few by just pitching the stickbait to grass,” said Schmitt. “It got me a lot of key fish on the first two days, but the bigger ones wanted the moving baits.”
The final event on the FLW Tour schedule for the 2017 regular-season happens to be on the Potomac River – a place where Schmitt has three Costa FLW Series wins. Schmitt expressed that he is eager to finish the season on a high note.
“I’ve got the momentum now,” said Schmitt. “After all of this, words can’t describe how excited I am to get back out there and compete on the Potomac.”

1. Bryan Schmitt, Deale, MD, 20 bass, 61-6, $125,000.
2. Joshua Weaver, Macon, GA, 20 bass, 58-11, $30,700.
3. Andy Morgan, Dayton, TN, 20 bass, 58-10, $25,100.
4. Todd Auten, Lake Wylie, SC, 20 bass, 58-0, $20,000.
5. Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, AK, 20 bass, 57-9, $19,000.
6. Wesley Strader, Spring City, TN, 20 bass, 56-14, $18,000.
7. Austin Felix, Eden Prairie, MN, 20 bass, 56-8, $17,000.
8. Matt Stefan, Junction City, WI, 20 bass, 55-10, $16,000.
9. David Dudley, Lynchburg, VA, 20 bass, 54-10, $15,000.
10. Justin Atkins, Florence, AL, 20 bass, 53-3, $14,000.
For a full list of results visit


Minnesota DNR sees boatload of state record fish applications

Interest has ramped up this spring in the state record fish program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, with five applications for four species including everything from shortnose gar, lake sturgeon, golden redhorse and the quillback carpsucker.  
“This is by far the wildest, craziest spring we’ve ever had. We’ve never had so many record submissions and so much interest in such a short span of time,” said Mike Kurre, state record fish program coordinator. “They’re are all impressive catches and show interest in the program is growing and that there are some huge fish out there in Minnesota.”
There are two kinds of Minnesota state records - one for catching and keeping the biggest fish in each species based on certified weight, and the other for the length of a caught and released muskellunge, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.
A bump-up in applications for record fish shows interest in the state record fish program, but a bump in records tells little about an angler’s overall chances of catching a large fish.
Someone’s chances of catching a lunker depend on a variety of factors including the species and location. Anglers fishing for lake sturgeon, for example, now have better chances of catching large ones because of the recovery and restrictive harvest regulations have led to their numbers increasing.
On the level of individual fish, catch-and-release fishing often means large fish returned to the water can keep growing.
“Anglers are in some cases benefiting from good fisheries management decisions and environmental cleanup of past decades, especially when it comes to long-lived fish like sturgeon,” Kurre said. “In some cases, specific state record holders probably wouldn’t have the record without other anglers releasing that fish in the past.”  
Anglers also might be taking more of an interest in identifying and trying to catch obscure species – like golden redhorse or shortnose gar – and boosting their personal life-lists for species caught. Such was the goal in the case of one recent record.
“The newest record for the shortnose gar involved a cool story of a father and son who set out to fill out their life species list and were targeting some of the more obscure fish,” Kurre said. “They succeeded and not only are they up to 45 out of the recognized 62 state record fish on their list, they have a new state record with a shortnose gar.”
So far the record count this year stands at four: a 5-pound 4-ounce shortnose gar caught by Cayden Hutmacher; two caught and released lake sturgeon that were 70 inches long caught by Tim Deiman and Mark Minnick; and a 4-pound 7-ounce golden redhorse caught by Mathew Williams.
Social media even fueled some recent speculation that there would be two other candidates for flathead catfish records after photos surfaced of anglers who caught, photographed and released large catfish on the Minnesota River the same day on May 15, about 100 miles apart from each other. The fish may have ended up tied with the current 49-inch length record. However, one of the anglers didn’t have a witness and the DNR hasn’t received a record application for the other.
The largest catch-and-release record submitted for consideration this year came from the Minnesota-Canada border waters, a submission that stated it as a 72-inch lake sturgeon. Unfortunately, there was no photo of that fish on the ruler so it could not be certified as a record. There was also an application for a quillback carpsucker that turned out to be a bigmouth buffalo.
“Some of the potential records submitted for the catch-and-release category haven’t had a photo of the complete fish on a ruler,” Kurre said. “It’s understandable, since outside a cadre of top-level anglers, few go out fishing expecting to catch one of these huge fish. Or, in the other cases, solo anglers would have just needed to take someone else fishing with them.”
Kurre recommends anglers become familiar with the record-fish guidelines and be ready to take the required photos and go through the correct procedures for submitting the record – especially when equipped with the fishing tackle and on waters where they might catch record fish.
The DNR will in coming weeks announce new state records in news releases and online. Find current records and guidelines for each type of state record at

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Tom Monsoor

Monsoor misses cut, finishes 89th in FLW tourney

Professional angler Tom Monsoor failed to take advantage of his home waters, finishing in 89th place in the prestigious FLW Tour Qualifier in La Crosse.
Monsoor, born and raised in La Crosse, has won almost $750,000 during a 14-year career on the FLW Tour. However, he has failed to cash in any qualifier this year, including this week's four-day event in La Crosse. Monsoor was in 129th place with a five-fish limit weighing 9 pounds, 10 ounces on Thursday. He caught five more bass on Friday, weighing 12-15 for a total, two-day weight of 22-9.
Andy Morgan or Dalton, TN, tops the Pro Division with a total weight of 31-4. Saturday's semifinal round was cut to the top 20 pros. Sunday's final round is reserved for the top 10 pros.
Cole Herb of Cedar Rapids, IA, won the Co-Angler Division along with a $20,000 check. His two-day weight was 24-11.
Jeremiah Shaver of Holmen, WI, finished runner-up with 23-11 and earned $7,600.

1. ANDY MORGAN,    DAYTON, TN, 31-4 (10).        
2. BRYAN SCHMITT, DEALE, MD, 31-0 (10).        
3. MATTHEW STEFAN,    JUNCTION CITY, WI, 30-14 (10).        
4. JEFF SPRAGUE, POINT, TX    , 30-11 (10).        
5. AUSTIN FELIX, EDEN PRAIRIE, MN, 30-11 (10).        
6. JOSHUA WEAVER, MACON, GA, 30-0 (10).
7. TODD AUTEN    , LAKE WYLIE, SC, 29-12 (10).    
8. WESLEY STRADER, SPRING CITY, TN, 29-11 (10).        
9. MATT AREY, SHELBY, NC, 29-7 (10).        
10. DAVID DUDLEY, LYNCHBURG, VA, 29-5 (10).        
11. JIMMY HOUSTON, COOKSON, OK, 29-1 (10).        
12. SCOTT MARTIN, CLEWISTON, FL, 28-13 (10).        
13. ALEX DAVIS, ALBERTVILLE, AL, 28-12 (10).        
14. LARRY NIXON, BEE BRANCH, AR, 28-12 (10).        
15. JOEY CIFUENTES, CLINTON, AR, 28-6 (10).        
16. JIM MOULTON, MERCED, CA, 28-0 (10).        
17. JUSTIN ATKINS, FLORENCE, AL, 27-15 (10).        
18. CLARK REEHM, HUNTINGTON, TX, 27-14 (10).        
19. CODY MEYER, AUBURN, CA, 27-12 (10).        

1. COLE HERB, CEDAR RAPIDS, IA, 24-11 (10), $20,000.
2. JEREMIAH SHAVER, HOLMEN, WI, 23-11 (10), $7,600.
3. JAMIE JACOBUS, JOHNSTOWN, OH, 23-2 (10), $5,050.
4. CODY WISSINK, ARCADIA, WI, 22-10 (9), $4,000.
5. TIM BEALE, HERNANDO, MS, 21-4 (8), $3,000.
6. STEVE YORK, BRONSON, MI,    21-4 (9), $2,500.
7. ALAN BERNICKY    , JOLIET, IL, 20-14 (9), $2,000.
8. SHAWN FULMER    , MOUNT PLEASANT, WI, 20-2 (8), $1,800.
9. JEFFREY CLARK, HOOVER, AL, 19-15 (9), $1,700.
10. CARLTON THOMPKINS, MYRTLE BEACH, SC,    19-7 (8), $1,600.