California's Monroe wins Mississippi River Bassmaster Elite tourney

Ish Monroe

Notching his fifth Bassmaster victory, Ish Monroe of Hughson, CA, produced a solid limit of largemouth bass that weighed 16 pounds, 2 ounces to collect his first victory in six years at the 2018 Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Go RVing.
Monroe’s four-day total was 65-7, edging out Jacob Powroznik of North Prince George, VA, who produced a four-day limit of 64-12. Powroznik finished in second place.
Across the four official competition days, there were four different leaders, which kept the event very exciting until the final weigh-in.
Monroe started in 20th place on Thursday’s opening round, moved up to sixth on Friday, third following Saturday’s semifinal round of competition and then into the top spot on Championship Sunday.
The impressive victory earned the 44-year-old pro valuable Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points and a $100,000 payday.“Everybody knew that the rising river levels would affect the fish and how they positioned on the structure,” Monroe said. “I had a plan, but early on Day 1, I got stuck on a sandbar, and that was as stuck as I’ve ever been in a bass boat. I freed my boat, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
Monroe said that after he got stuck, he was hesitant to run the Mississippi River backwaters too quickly, so he decided to fish his way into the area he had originally intended to start the tournament.
“I noticed some very similar grass and duckweed not too far from where I got stuck, so I decided to start there,” he said. “I ended up catching a solid limit of bass before I ever got to my original destination. That taught me a lot about where the fish were located and how they were set up.”
As the tournament went on, and the river levels continued to rise, the fish moved further back into the shallow backwaters that were covered in grass, lily pads, duckweed and other types of aquatic vegetation.
“Today, the larger bass were as far back into the slop as they could be, but once I found them this afternoon, I caught plenty of very nice bass. It was important to understand where the bass moved as the water rose, and that was the key component to my victory this week,” he said. “Every fish I brought to the scales this week came on my Ish Monroe Phat Mat Daddy frog by River2Sea,” he said. “It’s a heavier frog with a larger profile, which was critical to bust through the dense duckweed that covered most of the water where my fish came from.”
Monroe used his signature series 7-foot, 4-inch Daiwa Tatula Elite Series frog rod paired with a Daiwa Zillion SV baitcaster that was spooled with 65-pound Maxima braided line.
The combo was critical to hooking fish and pulling them from the dense cover that covers much of the Upper Mississippi River.
The last time Monroe won was in 2012 on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, which made this win all the sweeter.
“Every time I win, it means more than the last,” he said. “The competition on the Elite Series is getting tougher and tougher, especially with all the young anglers on the scene doing so well. Winning on such a fantastic fishery means the world to me.”
Rounding out the Top 5 were Randall Tharp with 64-5, Gerald Spohrer with 64-0 and Jacob Wheeler with 62-3.
Monroe also won the Toyota Bonus Bucks Award of $3,000 for being the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program, and the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash Award of $1,000 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.
The second-highest-placing eligible entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, Powroznik, received $2,000.
Brent Chapman was awarded $1,000 for leading the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race at the end of the event.

Sunday's Final Results
Each day's weight, total weight
1. Ish Monroe, 5/15- 6, 5/16-11, 5/17- 4, 5/16-2, 20/65-7.
2. Jacob Powroznik, 5/16-14, 5/15-8, 5/15-11, 5/16-11, 20/64-12.
3. Randall Tharp, 5/16-6, 5/17-12, 5/15-10, 5/14-9, 20/64-5.
4. Gerald Spohrer, 5/16-7, 5/16-6, 5/16-5, 5/14-14, 20/64-0.
5. Jacob Wheeler, 5/15-15, 5/14-10, 5/15-0, 5/16-10, 20/62-3.
6. Keith Poche 5/14-3, 5/15-14, 5/16-3, 5/15-12, 20/62-0.
7. Cliff Pace, 5/16-14, 5/12-15, 5/14-12, 5/16-1, 20/60-10.
8. Aaron Martens, 5/16-5, 5/17-14, 5/15-8, 5/10-14, 20/60-9.
9. Casey Ashley, 5/16-7, 5/13-6, 5/18-4, 5/12- 5, 20/60-6.
10. Gary Klein, 5/15-13, 5/15-0, 5/15-6, 5/13-15, 20/60-2.
11. Justin Lucas, 5/14-10, 5/14-2,    5/16-6, 5/13-5, 20/58-7.
12. Wesley Strader, 5/16-4, 5/14-11, 5/14- 0, 5/13-7, 20/58-6.

SOURCE: B.A.S.S.


Tharp takes control in Bassmaster Elite on Mississippi River

Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, FL, scrapped his fish catching game plan because floodwaters washed out his primary hot spot and forced him to find a place to catch bass on the upper Mississippi River.
That adjustment might earn him a second Bassmaster Elite Series title and a healthy $100,000 payday.Tharp’s efforts produced 15 pounds, 10 ounces of bass on Saturday, giving him the lead going into Championship Sunday at the 2018 Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Go RVing.
His two-day total is 49-12, only 1 ounce ahead of Aaron Martens of Leeds, AL.Martens will start the final round Sunday in second place with 49-11.
Moderate flooding of the Upper Mississippi has been a hot topic in La Crosse this week. It’s affected the fishing for most of the field — some good and some bad. For Tharp, it’s kept him on his toes.
“I knew my pattern was falling apart. The more the water levels increased, the more concerned I’ve been that my bass would move,” he said. “And they did. I started out in the same area I have been over the past couple of days, and after an hour or so I knew the fish weren’t there anymore. I decided to call an audible, and it paid off.”
The 49-year-old pro said he was catching bass right along a section of the bank that is now under water, and the bass are no longer positioned on the same structure.
“I probably stayed too long this morning,” Tharp said. “Decisions are critical in this game, and today I made the right ones after changing my plan and moving to a different spot. Hopefully tomorrow I can keep the momentum rolling and win this thing.”
Tharp won a Bassmaster event in 2016 that was played out on two Arkansas lakes - Bull Shoals and Norfork. A second Elite Series title would mean a lot to the former Forrest Wood Cup champion.
“I know what it means to win one of these, and that would be great. But right now I’m focusing on staying on top of the fish,” he said. “The standings are very tight, and it could come down to a single big bite for one of us tomorrow. One ounce ahead of Aaron Martens isn’t enough to be comfortable.”
Martens was sharing water for the past three days with California pro Chris Zaldain, who finished in 28th place with a final three-day total of 42-7. That means Martens will be fishing his favorite spots all by himself during the final round of competition.
“I’m not worried about catching a limit at my spot. I’m confident I can do that,” he said. “The fish are there, but finding a big fish that weighs 4 pounds or better is the challenge. I know they are there because I caught two during practice. To have a shot at winning tomorrow, I’m going to need a couple of bigger bass like that.”
Ish Monroe of Hughson, CA, begins Championship Sunday in third place, only 7 ounces out of the lead.“It’s always great to spend a week fishing here,” Monroe said. “I love tournaments where I can fish my strengths, and I’ve only got one rod on my front deck. It’s rigged up with Ish’s Phat Matt Daddy Frog from River2Sea, and my best spots only seem to be getting better, even with the high water. Tomorrow is going to be exciting.”
Rounding out the Top 5 are Gerald Spohrer of Gonzales, LA, with 49-2 and Casey Ashley of Donalds, SC, with 48-1.
Takeoff is at Veterans Freedom Park on French Island at 6 a.m., and final weigh-in will be at Valley View Mall at 3 p.m.

Saturday's weight, three-day weight
1. Randall Tharp, 5/16-6, 15/49-12
2. Aaron Martens, 5/16-5, 15/49-11
3. Ish Monroe, 5/15-6, 15/49-5
4. Gerald Spohrer, 5/16-7, 15/49-2
5. Casey Ashley, 5/16-7, 15/48-1
6. Jacob Powroznik, 5/16-14, 14/48-1
7. Keith Poche, 5/14-3, 15/46-4
8. Gary Klein, 5/15-13, 15/46-3
9. Jacob Wheeler, 5/15-15, 15/45-9
10. Justin Lucas, 5/14-10, 15/45-2
11. Wesley Strader, 5/16-4, 15/44-15
12. Cliff Pace, 5/16-14, 15/44-9

SOURCE: B.A.S.S.

Bassmaster Elite Series invades Mississippi River

Anglers who have fished the Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa portions of the Mississippi River will tell you that the so-called “postspawn funk” is a very real thing.
The bass in that section of the mighty waterway are voracious as they prepare for the spawn during late winter and early spring. Then they work tirelessly building and protecting their beds while the spawn is underway.
When it’s over, they need a moment to catch their breath - and they seem to have caught it just in time for the Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Go RVing.
The tournament is Thursday though Sunday, with takeoffs at 6 a.m. each day from Veterans Freedom Park on French Island. The weigh-ins the first two days will be held at the park at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday weigh-ins are also at 3 p.m., but near the JC Penney parking lot at Valley View Mall, the same venue for the fourth annual Rotary Rock-N-Ribs event.
With the late-spring doldrums over, the weights could be impressive. However, recent heavy rainfall, especially in northern areas above La Crosse, are sending local rivers to predicted flood stage by this weekend.
Ott DeFoe, a four-time B.A.S.S. winner who won the last time the Elite Series visited the Mississippi River in 2016, said numerous patterns could work well and fans should expect to see both largemouth and smallmouth brought to the scales.
“When I won in 2016, I think I only weighed in one smallmouth out of the 20 bass I brought in,” said DeFoe, who also had a 15th place finish in La Crosse in 2013 and a 27th place showing in 2012. “But Seth Feider finished in second place in 2016, and the majority of the fish he weighed in were smallmouth. “I think both species are definitely going to play.”
DeFoe expects it will take 65-67 pounds to win the event. In 2016, DeFoe had a 6-pound, 1-ounce largemouth that earned Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors as the largest of the tournament.
Competitors are allowed to fish both sides of the river, as usual, but this time they won’t have to worry about differing restrictions on the practice of culling, or releasing a small bass in their creel and replacing it with a heavier one. In 2013 Elite Series angler Brandon Palaniuk had a commanding lead in an Elite event on the river when he inadvertently culled a bass while just inside Minnesota waters. His catch was disqualified, and Palaniuk fell from first to 77th.
“Minnesota changed their regulations regarding culling last year so that tournaments permitted in Minnesota or in Wisconsin now have the same rules on the pools of the Mississippi River that these two states share,” said B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland. “This levels the playing field for our anglers and removes confusion and uncertainty. Thanks go to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for recognizing the need to be responsive to their anglers and remove troublesome and unnecessary regulations.”
A field of 108 anglers is vying for the $100,000 first-place prize and valuable points in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.After five of nine regular-season Elite events, Kansas angler Brent Chapman currently leads the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race with 456 points, followed by Bradley Roy of Kentucky with 427 and Louisiana angler Greg Hackney with 422.
The Bassmaster Elite Series Outdoors Expo is also being held in conjunction with the tournament. The first two days are at Freedom Park and then it moves to Valley View Mall on Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon. The event features boat demo rides, an aquarium, free prizes and the latest fishing products on the market. The Rock-N-Ribs Festival will also be happening at Valley View Mall along with concerts, food and the barbecue competition. All activities are free and open to the public. For more information, visit Bassmaster.com.

SOURCE: B.A.S.S.


Martens takes lead in Bassmaster Elite Series tourney

With this tournament being his fourth visit to the legendary Upper Mississippi River, Aaron Martens of Leeds, AL, is now eyeballing the $100,000 payday as he took the lead in the 2018 Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Go RVing on Friday.
The water is rising in La Crosse, but it hasn't stopped big largemouth and smallmouth bass from eating with regularity. River levels are expected to remain within the forecast range: 12 feet high by Sunday, and cresting sometime Monday. Twelve feet is considered flood stage, which will certainly impact fishing from day to day.
Regardless of challenging river conditions, Martens posted a fine five-bass limit that weighed 17 pounds, 14 ounces to push him to the top of the official leaderboard with a two-day total of 34-3.
The three-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year finished in fifth place in 2012 when the Elite Series visited La Crosse, second in 2013 and 30th in 2016.
“I know the winning limit of fish is swimming where I'm fishing,” he said. “I want to prove it this time. But a number of factors are going to have to go my way for that to happen.”
Over the years, Martens has spent a lot of time across this vast fishery, and he said it’s an amazing place to come and catch a lot of bass. But his location continues to produce quality fish year after year.
“I keep coming back to the same location when we compete here. I’ve done well fishing in that area every single time, and I see no reason to change my approach,” he said. “It might bite me this time, but right now I'm confident the fish I need to win are there to be caught.”
Martens is sharing water with California angler Chris Zaldain.Zaldain put together an impressive limit that weighed 17-11 pushing his two-day total to 32-7, which was good enough for the fourth-place spot on the leaderboard.
“Chris and I are both fishing for the same fish, but we’re being respectful of each other, and that’s important,” Martens said. “We both want to win, and fishing so closely together will make things interesting for sure.”
The impending floodwaters do not seem to be affecting Martens or Zaldain, but for Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, FL, that might be a different story.
Tharp caught 17-12 the second round for a two-day total of 34-2, and is starting the semifinals on Saturday in second place.
“During practice, and even today, I thought the rising water would hurt my pattern,” Tharp said. “But surprisingly, the fishing was better today. I caught what I weighed in early enough to sit down and eat lunch, a luxury that I don’t often take advantage of during a tournament. I hope my luck continues tomorrow.”
Rounding out the Top 5 are Gerald Spohrer with 32-13, Zaldain with 32-7 and Jacob Powroznik with 32-6.
Saturday's takeoff is at Veterans Freedom Park on French Island at 6 a.m., and weigh-in moves to Valley View Mall at 3 p.m.
The Bassmaster Elite Series Outdoors Expo is also being held in conjunction with the tournament. It is also at Valley View Mall on Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon. The event features boat demo rides, an aquarium, free prizes and the latest fishing products on the market.
The Rotary Rock-N-Ribs Festival is also scheduled at Valley View Mall along with concerts, food and the barbecue competition. All activities are free and open to the public. For more information, visit Bassmaster.com.

Top 12 leaders
(Friday's fish caught and weight, total fish caught and weight)
1. Aaron Martens, 5/16- 5, 10/34-3
2. Randall Tharp, 5/16- 6, 10/34-2
3. Gerald Spohrer, 5/16-7, 10/32-13
4. Chris Zaldain, 5/14-12, 10/32-7
5. Jacob Powroznik, 5/16-14, 10/32-6
6. Ish Monroe, 5/15-6, 10/32- 1
7. Wesley Strader, 5/16-4 10/30-15
8. Dave Lefebre, 5/16-9, 10/30-14
9. Gary Klein, 5/15-13, 10/30-13
10. Jacob Wheeler, 5/15-15, 10/30-9
11. Chad Pipkens, 5/17-15, 10/30-5
12. Hunter Shryock, 5/15-13, 10/30- 5

SOURCE: B.A.S.S.

DNR considers changes to Lake of Woods walleye, sauger regulations

Angling regulations on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River in northern Minnesota would change under a proposal being considered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to reduce the number of walleye and sauger allowed to be kept in the winter on the lake, and on the river allowing only catch-and-release fishing for those fish in the spring.
“We recently went through a public process of updating the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Management Plan and identified several potential areas of concern with regard to current levels of harvest,” said Phil Talmage, Baudette fisheries supervisor. “That’s why we’re discussing these potential changes.”
The proposed changes would reduce the aggregate limit of walleye and sauger in the winter to align with the summer regulations on Lake of the Woods, and make spring angling on the Rainy River catch-and-release for walleye and sauger. The changes would go into effect starting March 1, 2019.
Anglers will see yellow signs at public water accesses around Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River later this month notifying the public of the proposal. Future news releases will provide the details of a formal public comment period during the fall, and will include ways to provide comment to the DNR on the proposal.
For more information on Lake of the Woods management go to mndnr.gov/lakeofthewoods.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Pipkens takes lead in Bassmaster Elitie Series event

Chad Pipkens of Holt, MI, grabbed the first-round lead in the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament in La Crosse on Thursday.
The event, as presented by Go RVing, heads into today's second round on the Mississippi River. The top 50 anglers from the 106 starting field advance to Saturday's semifinal round. Sunday's final round is reserved for only the top 12 fishermen.Pipkens brought in five bass tipping the scale at 17 pounds, 15 ounces. Cliff Pace, from Petal, MS, and Jacob Powroznik of Hayward, VA, are tied for second place with identical 16-14 bags.
Today's weigh-in begins at 3 p.m., at Veterans Freedom Park on French Island.
Saturday and Sunday weigh-ins are also at 3 p.m., but near the JC Penney parking lot at Valley View Mall, the same venue for the fourth annual Rotary Rock-N-Ribs event.The Bassmaster Elite Series Outdoors Expo is also being held in conjunction with the tournament. The first two days are at Freedom Park and then it moves to Valley View Mall on Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon. The event features boat demo rides, an aquarium, free prizes and the latest fishing products on the market. The Rock-N-Ribs Festival will also be happening at Valley View Mall along with concerts, food and the barbecue competition. All activities are free and open to the public. For more information, visit Bassmaster.com.

Thursday's top 12 leaders
1. Chad Pipkens 5 / 17-15    
2. Cliff Pace 5 / 16-14
2. Jacob Powroznik 5 / 16-14
4. Dave Lefebre 5 / 16- 9
5. Casey Ashley 5 / 16- 7    
5. Gerald Spohrer 5 / 16- 7    
7. Randall Tharp 5 / 16- 6
8. Cliff Crochet 5 / 16- 5
8. Aaron Martens 5 / 16- 5
10. Wesley Strader    5 / 16- 4
11. Darrell Ocamica 5 / 16- 2    
12. Jacob Wheeler 5 / 15-15

SOURCE: B.A.S.S.

Take a Kid Fishing Weekend June 8-10

Minnesotans can fish without licenses if they take children 15 or younger fishing on Take a Kid Fishing Weekend from Friday, June 8, through Sunday, June 10.
“Fishing together with kids can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and have some memorable experiences,” said Jeff Ledermann, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
angler recruitment, retention and education supervisor. “We encourage people to give it a try. It’s fairly easy to buy or borrow fishing poles, and one good way to start is by fishing for bluegills with small hooks, bobbers and live bait.”
Minnesotans 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 a license.
The DNR’s Take a Kid Fishing Weekend page at mndnr.gov/takeakidfishing includes links to a beginner’s guide to fishing. The 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.
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 does not require a trout stamp.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR