2017 Merritt Open

The Nebraska Walleye Trail finished up the points season with the Merritt Open on July 9th.  54 teams braved the July heat and headed to Merritt reservoir.  We definitely owe a big thank you to the folks that helped us out with the rules meeting and weigh-in.

The NWT decided to start a Hall of Fame and the at the rules meeting Saturday evening the first inductee, Steve Isom was on hand to receive the award.  Thank you Steve for all your hard work and what you’ve done fort the NWT.

The weather was HOT and the winds were light which made for challenging conditions.  Most teams didn’t get many bites and the teams that capitalized on those few bites were rewarded for their efforts.  Most fish came out of shallow water on a variety of presentations which included jigs, live bait, and crankbaits.  When the weigh-in concluded it was the team of Bill Kunze and Brad Dush that weighed 5 walleyes for 20.74 lbs.  They were trolling crankbaits in the Snake arm of the lake.  2nd place was taken by James Miller and Jason Copper who also had 5 walleyes that weighed 18.19 lbs.  They were pitching jigs to the few remaining weeds in the lake.  Dennis and Shelby Vance took 3rd place with 3 quality fish that weighed 15.65 lbs.  4th place was Dustin Favinger and Zane Vapenik, they had 4 walleyes for 14.36 lbs.  Rounding out the top five was father/son team of Baker and Baker.  They caught 5 walleyes that weighed 14.08 lbs.  Big fish of the tournament was an 8.83 lb Merritt beauty caught by Sam Dondlinger and Chris Elliot.

1st place – Bill Kunze and Brad Dush

1st place – Bill Kunze and Brad Dush

2nd place – James Miller & Jason Cooper

2nd place – James Miller & Jason Cooper

3rd place – Dennis and Shelby Vance

3rd place – Dennis and Shelby Vance

4th place – Dustin Favinger &  Zane Vapenik

4th place – Dustin Favinger &  Zane Vapenik

5th place:   J.D Baker & Danny Baker

5th place:   J.D Baker & Danny Baker

The rest of the top ten are as follows:

6th place:   Sam Dondlinger & Chris Elliot

7th place:   Cliff Doty & Scott Haes 

8th place:   Damon Shada & Justin Weaver 

9th place:    Jason Hettler & Brandon Shada

10th place:   Steve Gildersleeve & Wade Johnson

  We would like to thank all the anglers that made this tournament one of the best attended tournaments ever at Merritt Reservoir.  Also, thank you to the Frederick Peak Club club for hosting our rules meeting.  Please visit the Nebraska Walleye Trail website and facebook page for more pictures and information.

The final NWT tournament of the year will be the State Championship held at Lake McConaughy on August 26 & 27 so if you fished 2 of the regular season tournaments we hope to see you for the state championship.  We will also conclude our season with a meal and hand out the Team of the Year awards following the rules meeting Friday evening.

As announced at Merritt, we will be awarding a sportsmanship award as well this year, so if you have witnessed at team going above and beyond please contact the NWT board.

18th annual Shut Up & Fish Walleye Tournament

The 18th annual Shut Up & Fish walleye tournament on lake McConaughy was held May 20th& 21st .  This was a 2 day combined weight tournament hosted and put on by Vogl’s Lodge and Lure.  74 teams braved some pretty horrible conditions on Saturday to go after the giant walleye that live in the depths of “Big Mac”.

The field was met with rain, wind, and even a little snow on Saturday making staying warm and dry pretty tough.  Despite the conditions some the anglers showed off what Lake McConaughy is capable of.  Numerous big fish weighing over 8 lbs were caught on Saturday.  At the end of the day it was Travis Sanger and Terry Zimmerman who caught 5 walleyes that weighed a total of 23.73 lbs to take the early lead.

In typical spring Nebraska weather fashion Sunday was a much welcomed change with warmer temps, some sunshine, and less wind.  When the weigh in concluded the team of Brian Canning & Mike Vorderstrasse caught 7 walleyes weighing a total of 39.93 lbs to take the top spot.  They were trolling crankbaits in deep water to catch their fish.

1st place – Brian Canning & Mike Vorderstrasse

1st place – Brian Canning & Mike Vorderstrasse

Finishing in 2nd place was the team of Ryan and Hunter Vowers, who caught 6 walleyes that weighed 36.31 lbs.  They were also trolling crankbaits in deep water to catch their fish.  They also had the big fish of the tournament, an 11.06 lb walleye.

2nd place – Vowers & Vowers

2nd place – Vowers & Vowers

Hunter Vowers with big fish, 11.06 lb Big Mac walleye

Hunter Vowers with big fish, 11.06 lb Big Mac walleye

3rd place was taken by Travis Sanger and Terry Zimmerman who caught 7 walleyes weighing a total of 35.88 lbs, they were using Big Eye Spinnerbaits to catch their fish.

3rd place – Sanger & Zimmerman

3rd place – Sanger & Zimmerman

The rest of the top ten are as follows:

4th place:   Steven and Dylan Thompson – 5 fish weighing 35.5 lbs. 

5th place:   Dan and Mitch Rosencutter – 6 fish weighing 31.99 lbs.

6th place:   Ron and Seth Green – 6 fish weighing 31.52 lbs. 

7th place:   James Miller and Jason Cooper – 6 fish weighing 31.5 lbs. 

8th place:   J.D and Danny Baker – 5 fish weighing 30.57 lbs.

9th place:   Jeremy Canning and Colten Cross – 6 fish weighing 30.18 lbs.

10th place:   Cliff Doty and Scott Haes – 10 fish weighing 29.71 lbs. 

Considering what Mother Nature dealt out it was great turnout and we would like to thank all the teams who came out and fished.  We would also like to give a special thanks to Chad Vogl and Vogl’s lodge for putting on a great tournament.  Please visit the Nebraska Walleye Trail website and facebook page for more pictures and information.

The next event on the Trail is the Merritt Open held at Merritt on July 9th.  This will be a special 1 day tournament with added money and give away items, you won’t want to miss this one.

The 2017 NWT season kicked off May 6 & 7 with the Rod Marshall Memorial tournament at Harlan County Reservoir.

The 2017 NWT season kicked off May 6 & 7 with the Rod Marshall Memorial tournament at Harlan County Reservoir.  This was a 2 day combined weight event that was held in conjunction with the Harlan Anglers Walleye Club.  85 teams took advantage of the beautiful weather and fished the event.  Catching walleyes on Harlan was not the issue, but finding the over 18” walleyes was a tough task, especially Saturday.

The field was greeted with calm conditions and flat water on Saturday, which made the bite tougher for most teams.  The close of day one saw the team of Ben Seim and Scott Willis sitting on top the leaderboard with 4 fish that weighed 15.30 lbs.

Sunday the field was greeted with absolutely opposite conditions with a stiff south wind that really turned on the walleyes.   With the bite turned on, teams were able to catch fish with a variety of presentations including live bait, trolling and casting crankbaits, and jig fishing.

When the weigh in concluded the team of Rob Martenson and Greg Meckelburg made a Sunday comeback to take the top spot with a total weight of 25.88 lbs.  Martenson and Meckelburg were trolling crankbaits to catch their fish.

1st place – Martenson & Meckelburg

1st place – Martenson & Meckelburg

Finishing in 2nd place was the team of Bill Kunze and Greg Belgum, with 24.94 lbs of walleye.  They were also trolling crankbaits to catch their fish.

2nd place – Kunze & Belgum

2nd place – Kunze & Belgum

3rd place was taken by Caleb Quinn and Travis Fredrick with 24.42 lbs, they were using live bait on the west end of the lake to catch their fish.

3rd place – Quinn & Fredrick

3rd place – Quinn & Fredrick

In 4th place with 23.6 lbs was the team of Scott Willis and Ben Siem, they were trolling crankbaits to catch their fish. 

4th place – Willis & Siem

4th place – Willis & Siem

Rounding out the top five was Randell Horine and Brendon Sinsel with 22.6 lbs.  They were also trolling crankbaits to catch their fish.

5th place – Horine & Sinsel

5th place – Horine & Sinsel

6th place was Roger Sheckler and Kenney Gewecke who weighed 21.14 lbs of walleye.  7th was Jared Beckman and Josh Beckman with 17.54 lbs.  8th was Jason Hettler and Brandon Shada with 16.86 lbs.  9th was Nate Newcomer and Jim Lindahl with 16.16 lbs and 10th was Chris Lynch and Brian Dittbrener with 15.94 lbs.

Big fish of the tournament was caught by Larry Riggs and Myron Brown and weighed in at 8.65lbs.

Overall, it was great turnout and we would like to thank everyone who fished the event and say a special thanks to the Harlan Anglers Walleye Club for putting it on.  For complete results and standings check out the NWT website.

The next event on the Trail is the Shut Up & Fish tournament held at Lake McConaughy on May 20th & 21st.  We hope to see everyone there.

2017 Nebraska Walleye Trail Scholarship

2017 Nebraska Walleye Trail Scholarship, Presented by Husker Auto Group.

The NWT would like to thank the Husker Auto Group for sponsoring this scholarship. This is the 2nd year for our scholarship. Please pass this scholarship application on to all eligible recipients.  You may access the scholarship application by going to our Scholarship Tab.

Application Period: April 15th 2017 thru May 15th 2017.