Kristine Houtman/MWC Chat

Chatman- Ladies and Gentlemen, a warm Walleye Central welcome for Kristine Houtman of the MWC!!!
Driftr- Welcome Kristine Houtman!!!!!!
Warren MN- Clap, clap, clap!
Driftr- Clap, clap, clap!!
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Yeah Kristine.
Chatman- As always Kristine, it is a pleasure to have you here.
Kristine Houtman- I love that part, it's so much fun! :-)
Driftr- LOL!!
Chatman- Kinda makes ya all goose bumpy?
Chatman- LOL!!
Warren MN- Air conditioner too high.
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- So, the 2004 MWC news is the Eastern Division.
Kristine Houtman- It's so good to be here. We've made some big announcements lately and I wanted to be able to talk about it with the anglers. So here goes! And yes, it's nice to feel loved! LOL!
Driftr- I am so happy to hear that too.
Chatman- Announcements!! Tell us! I love being able to bring new info to the walleye world!
Kristine Houtman- Kaz is right, the big news is the East Division. But there's plenty for the Central Division anglers to be excited about too.
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Also, there's the MWC Challenge for 2004.
Kristine Houtman- As most of you know, as it had a lot of coverage on Walleye Central, we have moved to two divisions for 2004. A Central Division and an East Division. And we've added the MWC Challenge. It only takes three tournaments to fish a full division. And division points will just be the three tournaments, based on the number of boats in the field. If there are 220 boats, 1st place gets 220 points. If there are 180 boats, 180 points for 1st and so on.
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Less travel for the 2004 teams, same money and then some!
Kristine Houtman- But we also heard from the anglers that some really liked four tournaments, so we added this MWC Challenge. You can still get team of the year money and honors within your division with just three tournaments. And even that will probably have a bigger payback. It will be based on $30 per boat in the division.
Chatman- I like the idea of new waters. Although, in all honesty, I am sad that the tourney is not going be in Ortonville this year. I love that area and the people are tops.
Tourney Fan- I like the concept, East and West. Plus a team can cross over if they need points...Correct?
Kristine Houtman- And all the team of the year payouts will pay 65% to 1st place and the remaining 35% to 2nd-5th place.
Kristine Houtman- I thought the people were VERY TOPS at Big Stone Lake. Absolutely. I would love to take a tournament back there again. Just need to spice it up with some new options.
Kristine Houtman- Tourney Fan, crossing over doesn't help the team for the division race. But there's another $20,000 incentive to take the Challenge. Plus 20% of the Challenge will be invited to the Championship. So another way to earn your way there.
Bass man- Big Stone is some mighty fine bassin water, and there are a few eyes to be had. But then I know about some of the new waters as well. There are some fine sites this upcoming year.
Chatman- Can you explain the challenge Kristine?
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- The circuit needs to move around from year to year. Fresh water and new faces.
Kristine Houtman- We are a little bit worried about the slot for Leach that's pending. My contacts at the Minnesota DNR tell me that if there's not widespread public support, the slot limit probably won't happen. But if it does there will probably be 18-22 inch throw back. The tournament is do-able if it's like that.
Kristine Houtman- To qualify for the challenge you have to fish all three tournaments in one division. Then you can add one more tourney. Points will be based on a special formula. The special formula is just for calculating Challenge points, not regular Division points. (That's because the divisions need to have some fairness in the Challenge race.) So the formula will be your finishing position divided by the number of boats in the tournament times 100 and taken to the 100th decimal. Sounds complicated but it's not.
Tourney Fan- The Challenge sounds interesting.
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- A good fit for the Central Division teams would be to fish Saginaw Bay.
Kristine Houtman- For example: 5th place at Spring Valley with 220 boats would be 2.27 points. 5/220*100 = 2.27272
Chatman- That is over and above the championship?
Kristine Houtman- Yes that's the EXTRA $20,000 purse for team of the year. We still have $30 per team in the division for the division team of the year. It probably will be $9000 for Central and who knows for East. But then an extra $20K on deck plus more opportunity for the championship. We'll take the top 10% from each division to the Championship (the following year) plus 20% of the Challenge.
Bass man- Um........take your place, divide by, uh........5/2290 of 220.....ah, oh heck, you figure it out and tell me how I do!! I fish bass on the side, I'm no mathematician
Chatman- LOL!!
Kristine Houtman- Bass man, I don't want you to hurt yourself, now! :-)
Bass man- LOL!
Kristine Houtman- I've always said these walleye guys really got their act together!
Driftr- OK Kristine, I can't wait any longer! Tell us about the Eastern Division!
Kristine Houtman- What's nice about some of these changes is that it makes it EASIER for teams to fish a full division. Three tournaments are do-able for people's vacation schedule, etc.
Tourney Fan- I think its SUPER that the MWC has set the schedule already! Heck it's August with another half of the current season to go.
Kristine Houtman- OK, more about the East. I made a couple trips this summer to scope everything out and I must say, I'm SO excited about this. The towns, the waters, and the people, everything looks good for MWC East.
Driftr- We have some fine walleye water over here!
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Driftr, where's over here?
Kristine Houtman- First we'll start out on the Eastern Basin of Lake Ontario at Henderson Harbor. The folks from the Chamber of Commerce there are VERY excited about hosting this. They have some BIG walleye on those waters. Their big fish contest this May took 11 + lbs to get on the board!
Driftr- Kaz, I live in NW Pennsylvania.
Kristine Houtman- The Henderson Harbor tourney will be May 22 & 23. PRIME TIME for catching some nice BIG baskets. Lots of protected waters, inlets and bays. Easy water to fish even if there's a bit of a blow. Lots of protected areas to work.
Driftr- Ontario doesn't blow like Erie either.
Kristine Houtman- Most people fish for salmon and trout up there, so the quality of the walleye fishery is a bit of a well kept secret. But we're about to let it out of the bag!
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Henderson will probably produce the heaviest MWC catch ever!
Kristine Houtman- It should make for a great tourney, good television coverage and all. 2nd stop for East will be in July on Lake Chautauqua. What a beautiful area an awesome fishery. 5 lbs average. Very good quality lake. Then 3rd stop for MWC East will be Saginaw Bay in early August. That should be a GREAT bite and an easy to get to location for the MWC central anglers that want to take the challenge. The tournaments all fit nicely for next year. March, May, June, July, August & September. Nice and even. Only Chautauqua and Saginaw are a little tight, but they are still 3 weeks apart.
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Chatman will remember when 70 lbs. on Saginaw was an also ran.
Chatman- I sure do Kaz, that was my finish position there too many times!!! LOL!!
Bass man- LOL!!!
Driftr- LOL!!
Driftr- Chautaqua is the only close one to me Kristine.
Kristine Houtman- Driftr, you won't mind the drive for the three tournaments for MWC East, will you? It can't be too bad.
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Driftr, have you fished Chautauqua?
SUPERTROLLER- I've got 3 hours to Saginaw Bay and I'm already in Michigan!
Driftr- Chautauqua is 2 hours, Saginaw is at least a 6 hour drive.
Chatman- Saginaw bay was only 9 1/2 hours for me when I fished it.
Kristine Houtman- The MWC is a circuit, not a local tournament. Anglers should expect to drive 3 - 8 hours for a circuit stop. Don't you think? Otherwise, it would only appeal to the folks in that local area? What do you think?
Driftr- Maybe 7?
Driftr- That's true.
Chris G- Kristine, where will the Winnebago tourney be run out of?
Kristine Houtman- Henderson Harbor is 4 hours from the Buffalo area. I drove it in July. Not a bad drive at all, and nice interstate.
Kristine Houtman- We're going out of Oshkosh. But I have to tell you, I just got a little bit of bad news.
Driftr- That is 6 hours from me.
Chris G- Oh No!
Chatman- If it took you 4 hours from Buffalo, I know guys who can do it in 3 hours....dang tournament fishermen...LOL!!
Driftr- I didn't expect Saginaw Bay, that's all!
Kristine Houtman- The Chamber/CVB called me that after we booked our event with them, a country music festival came in the area for the same weekend. It doesn't affect the tournament/park, etc. But the price of the hotel rooms? All the motels/hotels will bump up their rates because of the concert that weekend. 
Chris G- Oh, I thought it was something serious! :) 
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- There are plenty of motels within 25 miles of Oshkosh.
Chris G- I don't think it will be that bad. 
Kristine Houtman- So it might take a little more driving to get a good rate, otherwise pay more to stay right in Oshkosh.
Chris G- By the way, Hi Kaz, glad to see you will be back with us!
Kristine Houtman- It's not the end of the world, but I was disappointed. One of the hazards of doing all this so early this year. 
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Everyone can stay at Chris's house.
Kristine Houtman- Gina's a good cook, right?!
Bass man- I will be staying in Appleton or Fond du Lac. I won't give the price gougers any of my money. 
SUPERTROLLER- It's good to get your information out.
Chris G- Well, look at the bright side, the spouses coming along will have something to do.
SUPERTROLLER- This will make it easier for people to plan ahead on their schedules.
Driftr- Kaz, yes I have been to Chautauqua.
Kristine Houtman- Yes, I'm glad our schedule is out early. Helps everyone plan. There will be a few conflicts with PWT, but we don't have much crossover between PWT & MWC.
Bass man- Eh, I would expect nothing less from Oshkosh.
Chris G- If you stay by us, I will make you cut the grass!
Bass man- I do not like places that have situational rates. 
Driftr- We get huge slab crappie through the ice there.
Kristine Houtman- That's what we have teenagers for, isn't it?
Chris G- You got that right! :) Plus the tax deductions!
SUPERTROLLER- Can I bring my goat instead?
Chris G- :)
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Drift'r, we only have slab crappies in Georgia. We throw the 2 pounders back.
Driftr- LOL!!
Chatman- Some people just have to deal with bein happy with the little 2 pound fish, eh Jim??
Chatman- LOL!!!
Bass man- There are some real dandy specks In Missouri, let me tell you!
Chatman- Crappie Central? LOL!
Chris G- How is the championship looking for this year?
Kristine Houtman- With a 14, 16 and 21 year old, I haven't mowed in years! But back to tournament walleye fishing, any questions?
Driftr- Chautauqua is a nice lake in the spring.
Chatman- Have you got the dates handy for the two divisions?
Kristine Houtman- Format wise, a LOT the same as last year. Hopefully, which is true right now, the water levels are more normal so the bite should be a little better. We'll see how the fall rains end up. 
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Has anyone fished the Henderson Harbor area?
Kristine Houtman- The 2004 MWC Central Division: March 27 & 28: the Illinois River at Spring Valley, IL. June 26 & 27: Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, WI. September 18 & 19: Leech Lake at Walker, MN. 
Driftr- I have only been on Ontario for Kings.
Chatman- Nothing wrong with Chinooks Jim!
Kristine Houtman- 2004 MWC East Division: May 22 & 23: Lake Ontario at Henderson Harbor, NY. July 17 & 18: Lake Chautauqua at Jamestown, NY. August 7 & 8: Saginaw Bay at Linwood, MI. 
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Drift'r, I have a photo of myself with 3 kings over 30 lbs. from that area.
Kristine Houtman- The 2004 Cabela's MWC World Walleye Championship is October 13-16: Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien, WI.
Driftr- They are so much fun Kaz!
SUPERTROLLER- Why do you want anglers to fish a cross-over tournament to qualify for the Championship?
Kristine Houtman- I caught a nice 7 lber when I was there in July, and they kinda turned their nose up at it! It was the largest walleye I had caught and they weren't impressed a bit. LOL.
Chatman- When a 7 pound fish is a non head turner, you have one heck of a fishery on your hands!
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Drift'r, When I lived in the Milwaukee area I fished for kings a lot on Lake Michigan.
Chatman- Me too! I cut my teeth fishing the late summer and fall run.
Driftr- Kaz, have you ever fished Chautauqua?
Kristine Houtman- They don't have to Supertroller. They can still fish either division, finish in the top 10% and go to the championship. We just wanted a way to add some incentive to the anglers, to make it bigger and better, ya know?
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Drift'r, never fished Chautauqua.
Kristine Houtman- What else? Questions? How do you like the Challenge? Does it seem do-able, or too hard?
SUPERTROLLER- If I don't finish top 10%, then how do I qualify?
Driftr- Kristine, Jamestown NY is a very depressed area. This must be a welcomed event for them!
Chris G- I think it is good except it will cause a lot of work on your end.
Chris G- All we have to do is fish.
Kristine Houtman- The top 20% from the Challenge group will be invited to the Championship, but last. So if 50 teams take the challenge; 10 go to the championship. If the top 10 already qualified through their division, we keep working our way down the list. 
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Fishing is the easiest part of tournament fishing.
SUPERTROLLER- Okay, thank you.
Kristine Houtman- For sure it's more work. But hopefully spaced the way it is we will be okay. And we're pushing hard for more sponsors so we can bring on another employee. We're spread pretty thin. Everybody's plate's pretty full.
Chris G- Kristine, what does it mean that the preference is east, central then challenge?
Chris G- Qualifying for the championship that is.
Kristine Houtman- That we take the top 10% of MWC East first. Then we move to MWC Central and take the top 10% there. But if someone fished both divisions and qualified we'd skip over that team's name and take the next in MWC Central. Likewise, you can only qualify once so there is some advantage to the Challenge being taken last.
Chris G- I got it, thanks
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Running the MWC is an unending job!
John Balla- Everyone I've talked to is excited about next year and the challenge, including me.
Kristine Houtman- Fun, great people, but yes, it keeps everybody busy! But we've got a great team of people working on it.
Slip_Bobber- Kristine, is there going to be a limit on the number of boats at Saginaw?
SUPERTROLLER- Limit at Spring Valley???
Kristine Houtman- In fact, I have to tell everyone that John helped me figure out the Challenge points issue. One day we were talking and I explained how "unfair" it would be to the East anglers in the Challenge because chances are, their tournaments won't be as big, so they won't be able to accumulate as many points. He came up with this 'formula.' thanks JB
John Balla- I predict Saginaw will draw most of the Central division Challenge takers, and thus fill the tournament.
Kristine Houtman- Yes, 200 teams. But we can 'overbook' up to 10%, so 220 would be full.
Kristine Houtman- I predict it will fill as well. 
Chatman- Is overbooking a possibility at every site?
Slip_Bobber- Will a deposit cover the "Challenge"?
Driftr- I think Saginaw is central, that is why I was surprised.
Kristine Houtman- I don't know, I've heard so much excitement over Lake Winnebago that I have to wonder if that will fill too. And then wouldn't Leech, in part, because teams would have to take all 3 to take the Challenge?
Slip_Bobber- Saginaw bay is East.
Kristine Houtman- Saginaw Bay is MWC East.
Kristine Houtman- We wanted to put one tournament a little further west to make it so doable for MWC Central anglers. And the MWC East anglers in Ohio & Pennsylvania will find it very do-able. Even New York anglers can drive across Ontario.
Driftr- It is great Hot N Tot water though!
John Balla- Spring Valley and Winnebago are certain to fill, and with all of the money and qualifying possibilities, Leech will follow. At least that's how I see it.
Kristine Houtman- I was glad to hear from my DNR contact that there still is a great possibility that there will be NO slot for Leech Lake. 
Slip_Bobber- Will a deposit cover the Challenge?
SUPERTROLLER- A slot lakes take the skill out of it. Those slot tournaments fall to luck as to when you catch your big fish.
Kristine Houtman- I just don't want to see anything too severe. Everyone got rather frustrated with a tournament with a challenging slot. What's the likelihood that you'd put the big one in the boat. If it's too remote, then the slot doesn't work for a tournament.
Kristine Houtman- I'm thinking of coming up to Bay de Noc a day early so I can have a day on the water. Any body willing to take me out with them pre-fishing? Wednesday?
John Balla- Slots appear on all tournament circuits and part of the game. Everyone is playing by the same rules. 
Slip_Bobber- I will, I'll be there most of the week.
John Balla- I may be busy taking Kaz's money on the golf course!!
Driftr- Have the entry fees been established for the east?
Kristine Houtman- Or, we could play golf. But I've done a lot more fishing than golf this year and I'm having more fun. Much less frustrating!
kemo- Kristine Thank-You for bringing tournaments East. I will be there!
Chatman- Has Kristine missed any questions so far?
John Balla- Everyone getting excited for Bay de Noc? It's been a while and we are anxious to go at it again.
Kristine Houtman- Talk it up amongst your east buddies, get their teams organized and make plans to do this. We need the support to make this work. So get the word out.
Chatman- I am going fishing there next week Thursday. I'm Helping a Team mate and friend pre-fish. And I get to ride in a 20 foot Patriot again!! :-)
Driftr- Kristine, are the entry fees established for the East?
John Balla- The more teams out East, the better their chances for cashing in on the Challenge.
Kristine Houtman- Yes, it's $600 entry fee per team per tournament. Same as MWC Central. Plus $30 per person dues per year.
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Kaz is on the phone (surprise!!), so I'm here....hello y'all, this is Bev.
Chatman- Hi Bev, it has been a long time since we last spoke....LOL!!
Kristine Houtman- Actually, the more teams the more money for team of the year, too. $30 per team goes to division team of the year payout.
Driftr- Is there a family dues?
Kristine Houtman- Hi Beverly! Glad to have you join us. 
Kristine Houtman- Yes, it's still just $35 for family dues.
Driftr- My son & I will be a team.
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Family teams are great.
Slip_Bobber- Driftr, your a lucky man!
Kristine Houtman- That's great. And talk it up with your clubs. Talk it up at the sports shows next winter!
Driftr- Thank you.
Kristine Houtman- Any other questions on the MWC, or the format, or the future?
John Balla- I'd like to add that the schedule is very manageable for those of us with limited vacation time. Like I said, interest has been high amongst my friends and fishing colleagues.
Slip_Bobber- Kaz, You got an extra room when the MWC south comes?
Kristine Houtman- Glad to hear that, JB. 
Driftr- There will be lots of happy campers over here in the east too!
Chatman- We will wrap up in a minute or two.
Kristine Houtman- LOL!! Party at Kaz & Bev's in 2005? or 2006? LOL.
Chatman- And for you golfer types, Kaz and Bev live practically on the fairway of the local golf course! It is right out their back door!
Chatman- Any missed or last questions for Kristine?
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Kaz is still on the phone, but we're here, look us up.
Slip_Bobber- I'm there!!
Chatman- If Kaz isn't out golfing that is...
Driftr- I will add too that Chautauqua has huge eyes there too!
Kristine Houtman- They are all strong sites for 2004. It's taken shape nicely. And every community is so "gung-ho" on having MWC come in.
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- My hats off to all the hard work Kristine and her crew has done, she's remarkable, Bev.
Kristine Houtman- Thank you Beverly. That means a lot coming from someone who knows it inside and out like you do!
Chatman- Here, here!!
Slip_Bobber- Clap, clap!!
John Balla- There are more opportunities for those of us fishing the circuit than ever before. It is up to us to take advantage of them. Thanks for the hard work.
Chatman- Well the hour has come to an end all too soon. As the sun pulls away from the shore and our boat sinks slowly in the west....
John Balla- Thanks for the chat....
Chatman- Let's have a hearty round of applause for Kristine Houtmann and Bob and Bev Kaczkowski of the MWC!!!!
Kristine Houtman- In fact, time for me to catch the beautiful sunset across the lake outside my house. 
Driftr- Thanks Kristine!!
Driftr- Clap, clap, clap!!!!
Kristine Houtman- Thanks, everyone. I appreciate all the support and encouragement. We're looking forward to a busy fall and an exciting 2004!
Bob Kaz Kaczkowski- Kaz and I appreciate your words.
Kristine Houtman- G'night all. And God bless.
John Balla- Kaz, Kristine, see you in Esky!
Chatman- Another great time Kristine! Thank you for joining us today.
walleyechaser24- Thank you, Kristine.
Slip_Bobber- Ready to go to the Bay!
Kristine Houtman- Thank you, Ralph, and Scott & Dave & Jim for all the help. Bye now. See you in just a few weeks in Gladstone/Escanaba. Can't wait. The break has been too long. (I won't be saying that next year, will I!)
Chatman- Nope!
Driftr- Bye Kristine!
Chatman- Thanks again Kristine!
Kristine Houtman- Bye Driftr, see you in '04 for MWC East!
Driftr- it will be nice to meet you!
Kristine Houtman- Good night all. TTFN! The sunset awaits!
Chatman- TTFN--LOL!!!

Chatman's Note - TTFN = Ta Ta For Now.