It must have been disappointing for the committee and anglers for the outcome of the 2010 Emo Walleye Classic in having the lowest-ever winning weight in its nine-year history.
It was speculated prior to the tournament that it would be successful because of the lower level of the Rainy River; but the excuses for the poor showing was an early spring and low waters, which sent the walleyes to Lake of the Woods.
Personally, I do not believe this was the reason at all because any waters that have a current, the oxygen content is at a high level, which holds any species of fish and generally cooler that water in non-current lakes.
There are two reasons, I believe, for this downfall. One is that, judging by the photograph on the sports page last week, it showed the boats fishing the middle of the river. In other words, they were not where most of the walleyes were.
I got a phone call from a friend of mine living in the town of Rainy River, who told me he was fishing off the riverbank, casting a bobber and minnow hook-up and watching it drift down the shore, then repeating in this fashion.
While doing this, he noticed a fish swim by, and then a couple more. Thinking they were suckers, he paid no attention while following the pattern mentioned above.
But the sun came out and when the next fish swam by, he noticed the white spot on the tail and then realized they were walleyes.
He put his fishing gear aside and with his landing net, he caught his limit of four walleye while releasing three that were over the size limit.
The reasoning for this is that the Canadian side of the river gets most of the sunshine, resulting in warmer water, especially along the rocky shoreline.
Backing up this reasoning, Day 1 leader Ron Parks recounted how, in the first five minutes of the first day of the EWC, thought he was snagged but found out it was a fish.
He was quoted as saying it came it “too fast”—a very good sign that fish are sluggish right after their spawning is complete.
My second reasoning comes from listening to anglers commenting that if they were in a bass tournament, they would have won it.
A friend of mine from Emo told me that when he went out to one of his walleye spots, he caught bass on almost every cast. Myself, competing in the International Falls Bass Classic, smallmouth bass were plentiful within four miles of the landing.
This shows that bass are from Fort Frances, Emo, and Rainy River, and they are increasing more and more as they are hardly kept for eating purposes.
Before it is too late, both Emo and Rainy River walleye tournament organizers should consider changing over to smallmouth bass tournaments, which will be more successful, catching more fish, and, by far, a much better fighting fish on the end of the line.
I am sure that the volunteers did a remarkable job and was quoting no change as to being successful. But there has to be a change of species, otherwise the Emo Walleye Classic will be a thing of the past.
Michael J. Baranowski
Nestor Falls, Ont.