2011 Archive


NWT anglers gathered on Saturday evening for the Cabela’s State Championship Rules Meeting and the Champions Banquet and meal sponsored by Ranger Boats and Trailers, where Nebraska Walleye Trail “TEAM OF THE YEAR”, Travis Sanger and Terry Zimmerman and the top ten placing NWT teams received their cash and prizes. Over $9,000 in cash and prizes was paid out to the top ten teams. Sanger and Zimmerman finished the season with an incredible 585 points for 3 tournaments. For winning “TEAM OF THE YEAR” they were awarded $1000 in cash, a $2000 Ranger Boats Certificate and 2 MinnKota Jackets. They were also the “LOCATORS OF THE YEAR” for having most weight this season with 50.31 pounds and were awarded 2 Humminbird sonar units with GPS and 2 Humminbird sweatshirts. Sanger and Zimmerman were also the “SMOOTH MOVES TEAM OF THE YEAR” for having the most points in all 4 tournaments with 763, and received 2 Smooth Moves suspension seat mounts. When asked about winning Sanger Commented, “It is an unbelievable feeling to have taken the three end of the year awards against what we feel is the toughest competition in the region, fishing the NWT. Most of the tournaments were tough biters this year and the key was not making too many mistakes and some luck making the right decisions. Having said that, Terry and I talked on the way home about how Weber and DJ are just as deserving with a great year as well. With the Regional Championship just three weeks away, the top thirty in the NWT are certainly bringing some heavy hitters to the playing field.” Finishing the NWT season in second place was Todd Weber and Caleb Quinn. They also had an awesome year finishing with 580 points just 5 points behind the winners. Finishing in third place this year was the team of James Miller and Jason Cooper with 551 total points. Rounding out the top ten in points were 4th-Jeff Mekelburg and Ev Tarrell-548, 5th-Jeff Teleitz and Christy Buckland-548, 6th-Scott Willis and Marc Willis-543, 7th-Mike Polak and Steve Isom-540, 8th-Robert Purcell and Ken Jindra and 534, 9th –Bill Kunze and Gregg Belgum-529, 10th-Brian Regelin and Brett Vinzant- 529. See complete end of the Season points results at the Standings link.




The bite was as tough as it gets this week, but not for the team of John Nodolski and Linda Henkenias, who were the winners the final Nebraska Walleye Trail Tournament of the season Saturday, June 25th at Merritt Reservoir. The duo was live bait fishing for an impressive 5 fish basket that weighed 13.56 pounds to secure the win. John said he had been fishing tournaments at Merritt since 1987 and was thrilled that he finally ended up on top. Finishing in Second Place was the team of James Miller and Jason Cooper who weighed 4 fish for 7.99 pounds. They were jig fishing several areas on the lake to catch their fish. Ted Robinson and Mike Erhart finished in third place with 7.58 pounds for 1 fish, and also had the big fish of the tournament.

Jeff Telitz had a 3 fish basket that weighed in at 7.36 pounds for 4th Place. Finishing in fifth place with 3 fish for 6.92 pounds was the team of Brian Regelin and Brett Vinzant. Rounding out the top 10 were: 6th- Kevin Praeuner and Wayne Borchers- 1 fish 5.92 pounds, 7th- Deon and Dennis Quick- 3 fish 5.92 pounds, 8th- Mike Polak and Steve Isom- 2 fish 5.72 pounds, 9th- Ben Garver and Derek Wagner- 3 fish 5.52 pounds, 10th-Travis Sanger and Terry Zimmerman 2 fish-8.16 pounds.




Jason Erickson and John Hupfer of North Platte, NE were crowned the Cabela’s Nebraska Walleye Trail State Champions, on Sunday, June 26th, winning $2,000 in cash, and a $1,000 Ranger Boats Certificate for the win. The duo bested the elite field of 30 of the top fisherman in Nebraska and the surrounding states to take home the title of Cabela’s NWT State Champions. Their five fish winning weight topped the elite field at 11.83 pounds. Erickson and Hupfer were casting jigs to catch their fish. Thomas Bliven and Casey Sikes had 3 fish that weighed 6.93 pounds, and took home $1200 for finishing second place. They were fishing with live bait to catch their fish. Finishing in third place was James miller and Jason Cooper who cashed $800 for their 3 fish that weighed 6.32 pounds. Fourth place and $550 goes to Travis Sanger and Terry Zimmerman who weighed 5.99 pounds for three fish. Finishing in fifth place were NWT veterans Ev Tarrell and Jeff Mekelburg who weighed in 1 fish for an impressive 4.70 pounds and took home $450 for their finish, along with $300 for the big fish of the tournament. See the results link for complete results. Fishing methods included fishing jigs, casting spinner-baits, live bait rigging, and trolling cranks and spinners. That completes another great season on the Nebraska Walleye Trail. The top 30 teams qualify to fish the Cabela’s Regional Walleye Championship and can visit the regional page link for details.

A big thanks to all of the sponsors that supported the NWT this season: Cabela’s, Johnson Outdoors, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Ranger Boats, State Farm, Black Hawk Marine, TomKats, HippyBleeder Chains, and Smooth Moves. Also, a big thanks to Tim and Diane Hoffman and Scott and Kathy Placzek, Steve Isom, Darrell Morrow, and Teddy Robinson for running the tournaments and work on the NWT board. We hope to see everyone again next season!




Ogallala. NE— The father son duo of Blaine and Nick Presley landed $3,800 in cash after catching 5 walleyes and bringing a whopping 26.50 pounds to the scale during the Shut-up and Fish tournament May 17th at Lake McConaughy. Day two of the tournament was canceled due to 40 MPH winds. Nick and Blaine Presley had it dialed in as they dominated the field to win the Nebraska Walleye Trails 3rd tournament of the season. When Blaine was asked how it feels to win, he commented, “We are pumped! In my opinion, the Shut Up and Fish is the premier walleye tournament in Nebraska. To be able to fish with my son and come to the best walleye lake in Nebraska and get a win is just an awesome feeling. Nick is a great stick when it comes to pulling cranks and we felt like we really had these fish dialed in. It would have been fun to fish on Sunday, but with the incredible quality of fish in this lake (Big Mac is back!) and with the caliber of fishermen in the NWT, anything could have happened. We feel very fortunate to come away with the win. A big thank you to Darrell Morrow and the crew from Oregon Trail Trading Post. As usual, they ran a great tournament.” Presley and Presley topped the elite field by trolling crank-baits in 25-30 feet of water to catch their fish.

Anglers fished the entire lake, from the face of the dam to the west end, and found some walleyes relating to the new weeds with the higher water levels. Anglers caught the majority of the fish by trolling crank baits, pulling spinners, live bait rigging, and casting spinner baits. Some anglers found fish very shallow in 4 to 15 feet, and fished live bait, or threw jigs, while others fished in 20 to 30 feet for their fish.

Travis Sanger and Terry Zimmerman landed 4 walleyes weighing 21.06 pounds, and earned $2,500 for their second place finish. Sanger and Zimmerman are on fire this year with 3 straight 2nd place finishes. Third place and $1584 went to Curt Baker and Kerry Kleeb. They weighed 20.94 pounds for 3 fish. Fourth place went to Todd Weber and DJ Rieck with 4 fish for 20.86 pounds. Finishing in fifth place with 19.04 pounds for 4 fish was the team of Jim Childers and Ruben Garcia.

Rounding out the top ten finishers were:

6th Place- James Beisner ad Steve Mauer (4 walleye, 17.96 pounds,); 7th Place- Scott Willis and Kevin Jenny (3walleyes, 17.46 pounds); 8th Place- Ron Green and Seth Green (3 walleye, 17.42 pounds);
9th Place- Ev Terrell and Jeff Mekelburg (3walleyes, 15.94 pounds,);
10th Place- Dan and Mitch Rosencutter (3 walleye, 14.92 pounds,)

Overall, 45 teams participated and 31 teams caught fish giving their teams quality points needed for the cash awards and prizes at the end of the fishing season and a chance at earning “TEAM OF THE YEAR” honors.

The Nebraska Walleye Trail will wrap up its regular season at Merritt Reservoir on Saturday June 25th. This tournament will decide who will be crowned the 2011 “TEAM OF THE YEAR”, “SMOOTH MOVES ANGLERS OF THE YEAR”, and “LOCATORS OF THE YEAR”. The winners of these awards and the top placing teams will receive awards and cash prizes at the Championship Awards banquet on Saturday evening. Heading into the final tournament, several teams have a shot at winning and placing in the top for end of the season awards and earning a chance at fishing the 2011 Cabela’s Regional Championship.



Chamber Open- Merritt Reservoir

The Nebraska Walleye Trail will hold the final qualifying event on Merritt Reservoir Saturday, June 25th. The Merritt Tournament is an important one for those teams battling for top 10 awards and those vying for a berth to the 2011 Regional Team Walleye Championship. Teams only count 3 out of the 4 tournaments for total points which give a number of teams a legitimate shot at a strong finish. Teams that have a good finish at Merritt can really make a jump for end of the season awards, and the 2011 Regional invitations.

THE MERRITT TOURNAMENT IS AN OPEN TOURNAMENT- ANYONE CAN ENTER. Contestants candownload entry forms from this site. The Mandatory Rules Meeting will be Friday, June 24th at the Water’s Edge Bar at 6:30 p.m. CST located at Merritt Reservoir. REMEMBER ALL TIMES ARE CENTRAL TIME. Registration will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. CST at the Water’s Edge Bar. The Chamber Open tournament hours will be from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM CST on Saturday, June 25th




Merritt Reservoir will host the Cabela’s NWT State Championship walleye tournament on Sunday June 26th. To qualify for this one day event anglers must have fished in 3 regular season events. You may use a substitution as long it is the same person that was the substitute for the regular season event, or it is your first substitution of the year. Your team must send in the entry form and the $100 entry fee to participate. One hundred percent of the $100 entry fee and approximately $2000 will be added to the championship purse, making this a great paying event to fish. The Awards Banquet and rules meeting will start at 6:30 CST on Saturday, June 25th at Merritt Trading Post/Waters Edge. Ranger Boats and Trailers will be providing the Championship meal free of charge on Saturday evening for all anglers who are fishing the Championship. The Mandatory rules meeting and registration for the championship is from 5:30-6:30 CST. End of the season awards will be presented at the banquet. The State Championship tournament hours will be from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM CST on Sunday, June 26th.



Rose Placzek Memorial-Sponsored by State Farm Insurance

Dusty Mihm and Justin Zelbolsky captured the second Nebraska Walleye Trail Circuit victory of the year on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at Sherman Reservoir. The duo cashed in $2570 for the win as they produced a weight of 11.70 pounds for two fish, which included the big fish of the tournament, a 9.43 pound walleye. The pattern used for the winners was trolling and live bait fishing. Finishing in 2nd place two tournaments in a row was the team of Travis and Warren Sanger, who weighed in at 9.89 pounds for four fish. The duo used live bait fishing in shallow water to catch their fish. The father and son team was awarded $2100 for finishing second.

Third place went to Scott Willis and Marc Willis as they won $1500 for their 9.14 pounds for 4 fish. They were fishing the west end of the lake and were pulling crank-baits.

Fourth place went to Todd Weber and DJ Rieck with 4 fish for 9.02 pounds. Fifth place went to Jeff Mekelburg and Ev Tarrell who weighed in 4 fish for 8.97 pounds. Finishing in Sixth place was Chris Augustyn and Justin Weber for their 8.93 pounds of walleye for four fish. Rounding out the top ten teams were: 7th- Jason Erickson and John Hupfer, 8th-Tom Sokoll and Steve Fosbinder, 9th- James Miller and Jason Cooper, 10th-Bill Kunze and Greg Belgum.

The next stop for NWT Anglers will be Lake McConaughy, May 21 & 22 and the final event will be Merritt Reservoir, June 26th.

Remember you must fish 3 tournaments to qualify for the Cabela’s State Championship and end of the season awards. Teams that finish in the top 30 in points will also be invited to the Cabela’s Regional Walleye Championship at BIG MAC!



NWT Veteran Todd Weber and Partner DJ Rieck win $3680 and Trade Winds Ice Out @ Sherman Reservoir

The Nebraska Walleye Trail held the first event of the season at Sherman Reservoir, Saturday, April 16th, and Sunday, April 17th. The two day event started with 44 teams launching at Trade Winds Marina Bay. The weather conditions were good both days with temps in the mid 50’s. The weather seemed like a heat wave, as less than 12 hours before there were blizzard conditions and 50 MPH winds. Due to the “no-keep” slot of 20 to 28 inches, catching a walleye that exceeded 28 inches was huge. The winning team of Todd Weber and DJ Rieck was the only team able to catch a walleye over 28 inches, and with that kicker fish they were able to hold off the field weighing five fish over the two days with a total weight of 15.08 pounds, giving them a $3680 payday. When asked about the win and where and how they caught their fish Weber said, “We fished the Thunder Island area of the lake and our presentation consisted of pulling live bait rigs. It was great to win a tournament again, we were well overdue. It was DJ’s first tournament win and the biggest walleye he has ever caught. (29.5 inch 9.13lbs) He was thrilled!”

Finishing in second place and just .12 pounds less than the winners was Day 1 leaders Travis Sanger and Terry Zimmerman. They had a solid 8 fish two day total of 14.96 pounds, and were awarded $2650 for their impressive finish. Sanger commented, “Patience was the key, capitalizing on the few biters out there. We were fishing shiners in 10-20 feet of water.” Third place and $1750 went to Kevin Larkins and Jason Kort for their eight fish basket weighing 14.29 pounds. Fourth Place went to the team of Robert Purcell and Ken Jindra who weighed 7 fish for 12.15 pounds and earned them a nice $1200 check. Fifth place and $500 went to Jeff Telitz and Christy Buckland for their two day total of 6 fish for 11.14 pounds.

Rounding out the top ten were: 6th-Greg Mekelburg and Jason Owston (6 fish 10.82) 7th-Mike Polak and Steve Isom (7fish 10.31) 8th-Dennis Vance and Shelby Vance (7 fish- 10.25 pounds) 9th-Jeff Mekelburg and Ev Tarrell (7 fish- 10.09 pounds) 10th- James Beisner and Brian Brinkman (6 fish- 9.62 pounds).