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.