Walleye weekend in Dryden

Anglers from across Sunset Country converged on Dryden over the weekend for the Shaw Dryden Walleye Masters tournament on Wabigoon Lake.
It was a Father’s Day to remember Sunday for the Dryden duo of Michael and Stephen Cortens as the father and son captured the 23rd edition of the tournament. They brought in 10 walleye for a two-day total of 27.42 pounds to edge Michael and Alfred Parenteau, also of Dryden, who finished with 26.84 pounds.
Winning the tournament was significant for the Cortens as they walked away with a new Lund boat and Mercury motor, as well as $12,000 in cash.
They also earned an additional $2,500 for being the top placing team fishing out of a Lund boat.
The tournament allows teams to bring in five fish each day, but only two of the five can be larger than 18 inches. The recipe for success obviously is to get a couple of big fish and some nice “slots”—the fish under 18 inches.
I fished the tournament this year for the second time with my good buddy, Troy Norman, of Fort Frances. Troy grew up in Dryden so he knows his way around Wabigoon pretty good.
We caught plenty of fish over the weekend, but unfortunately couldn’t hook up with any big fish and ended up finishing in 34th spot—just out of the money.
We had the most luck trolling slowly with bottom bouncers and spinner rigs tipped with nightcrawlers, as did many of the anglers I spoke with at the event. We also spent some time casting crankbaits later in the day to try and get a big fish—a tactic that has produced bigger walleyes for us in the past on Wabigoon but we just didn’t connect.
Wabigoon Lake is a great place to host a walleye tournament for a number of reasons. It is a vast body of water that eats up 125 boats very easy.
Since the water is so shallow in general, and the water is as stained as it is, you will find walleyes in very shallow water. This reduces stress on the fish that comes from being pulled out of deep water.
In four days, we did not catch a walleye in more than 15 feet of water, with the majority coming from six-eight feet.