Wet and Windy Start For FLW Walleye Tour on the Detroit River
With rain misting from gray skies this morning, 55 Pro anglers and their Co anglers, launched their boats into the Detroit River for the first day of a three day competition that allows them to fish the Michigan waters of the river and Lake Erie.
The last time the FLW Walleye Tour was here, it was 2007, and Mark Meravy won the event with just over 76 pounds for 4 days of fishing. This year, the FLW is only fishing a three day event, so looking at Mark's three days of fishing that year, his total still would have been just under 52 pounds of Walleye brought to the scales.
I found Mark this morning and asked him a few questions about that year and how things were shaping up for the event this year, and here is his response:
Juls: Morning Mark...you won this event a few years ago...So, how does it feel to be back here again this year?
Mark: It feels good! There's a lot of fish in the river. In '07 when I won, it was kind of a gamble, because we had a big blow that week, and I elected not to go to the lake. It was a good gamble, because the water was too dirty out there.
Juls: During that 07 event, were you guys restricted to the Michigan waters only like this event?
Mark: Yes. It's exactly the same deal...with a nice school of fish out there on the lake, ready to be caught, but this year there is a nicer quality of fish here in the river.
Juls: The wind direction looks like it's going to make the lake fishable today, and I suppose I can't really ask you if you're planning on going there or if you will fish the river, so....
Mark: (laughs) Well, I'd tell you if I knew! I'm really still thinking about it. I mean, I think I could do it in either place.
Juls: So, could you do some time on the lake and then come back in here if you need to?
Mark: Well, no...no...I think if you go out to the lake you need to make a commitment to the lake. Yeah, we're running pretty far, so there wouldn't be enough time to do both, and we would have to grind it out there. Plus, I'm too old! I don't beat myself up anymore. (laughs) Those days are gone!
Juls: Well, how about the rest of the week? Looks like it's going to be shaping up nicely as the days progress. By Saturday, they are saying it's going to be sunny and nice...
Mark: I couldn't get a good forecast. There seems to be too many different forecasts.
Juls: Well, this is Michigan...it's going to change hourly.(giggle)
Mark: Yeah, I think the lake is going to be fishable today...(he drifts off) I still haven't decided.
Juls: Well, what are your expectations going out today? What do you think you can do?
Mark: If you get to the lake and can get to those fish, I think 32-35 pounds is a reasonable expectation. If you stay in the river, I think if you get "lucky" you'll get over 30 pounds, but I think 25 pounds is something you can expect to see. The lake weights are still going to be better, like they have in the past.
Juls: Do you know what the water temperatures are on both the lake and the river right now?
Mark: I didn't see a big difference. Like 52 on the lake, and I saw about 51, or so, on the river. Further up North though, around Ambassador Bridge, it got down around 47-48 degrees.
Juls: For those who are chomping at the bit to run all their pretty special painted blades, are they starting to hit on crawler harnesses out on the lake yet?
Mark: Yes. During the week, after there was a little cold front, I was getting them on cranks. And, then they shut down, and they wanted the meat. Yeah, it changed...it changed. It could really be a good spinner bite, especially if they start shutting down on the crank bite. If it's going to get cooler...I suspect they will.
Juls: Do you think the thunderstorms that passed through here last night will do anything to the mood of the lake fish? It probably won't effect the river fish too much, but what about the lake?
Mark: Well, you know, I've heard that lightning shuts them down, and sends them to the bottom, but I've never really noticed a big difference like that. I think it's us more than it's them. (laughs)
Juls: Well, on that note, I'm going to wish you good luck, and good fishing today! Have fun whatever it is you decide to do today.
Mark: Thank you!
Brad Davis of Wisconsin was in the water bright and early this morning too. He shared his insight into the difference in conditions between the last time the FLW was here and this year.
Juls: Hey, "cuz", good morning! You fished here the last time the FLW was here too. How would you compare the conditions from that year to this year?
Brad: Actually, the bite is better this year than it was in 2007. We had some really muddy water conditions that year, and now we have the extreme opposite in the Detroit River this year. We have as clear of water as anybody has ever seen it this time of the year. That can hurt or hinder you too, because now the fish have no where to hide at all, or anything. Before, they would be there, but you would just have a little tougher time catching them.
The last couple days in the river here, the bite has lit up pretty good. It's not as good as maybe it was back in the heydays of the late 80's and early 90's, but it's a pretty fantastic bite. Just about anywhere you go in the river, you can catch a limit of fish.
Juls: What are your expectations going out today?
Brad: Well, weather providing, I'm going to go out on the lake. I had some bigger fish going out on the lake, and the only bad thing is it's a 23 mile run down to where I'm fishing, so if we can make it down there, I'll fish down in the lake. If not, we'll stay up in the river and jig in the river.
Another top FLW angler who fished back in 07 is Dean Arnoldussen.
Juls: Morning Dean, what do you think of the conditions this year compared to years past?
Dean: I think we're going to see a lot more fish caught this year. The waters clean, the river's clean...the lake should be a good bite. I just think that we're hitting it perfect, if the weather was great. I just don't know what the weather is going to do today and for the next two days. I don't know if that cold front is going to affect them, or not. It shouldn't affect the river fish, but it will probably affect the lake fish.
Juls: Do you think that thunderstorm last night will make any difference to the bite today?
Dean: I don't think it will affect those fish at all.
Juls: What are your expectations going out today?
Dean: I would love to actually bring in about 30-35 pounds. I think if I can sort through some fish I should be able to do it.
While no one seems to be able to nail down a forecast, here is the forecast from the NOAA site:
Today: Scattered showers, mainly before 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 46 by 5pm. Breezy, with a west southwest wind between 16 and 23 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Tonight: A 10 percent chance of showers before 8pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. Breezy, with a west wind between 14 and 21 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Friday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 52. West wind between 13 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
Friday Night: Areas of frost after 2am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 35. West northwest wind between 8 and 15 mph.
Saturday: Areas of frost before 8am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 62. Light wind becoming south between 12 and 15 mph.
Today's weigh in begins at 3PM Eastern Time at Elizabeth Park Marina in Trenton, MI. If you can't make it down to watch the weigh in in person, please join us here on Walleye Central's Live Leader Board for up the minute results, as the anglers weigh in.
You can also view pictures, videos, and daily articles at www.liveleaderboard.com by clicking on the links associated with this event.
For more information about fishing or attending future FLW Walleye Tour events, please see their website at www.flwoutdoors.com.