Strong bite expected at Emo Walleye Classic

Organizers are gearing up to welcome anglers to the first-annual Emo Walleye Classic with open arms. But will the real attraction—the fish—be there to spice up the competition?
Well, organizers said they are expecting a good bite this weekend, despite the fact only two weeks have passed since the walleye/sauger opener.
“This is the best time we can have it. The water is cool and the pH level is low and survival rate of the fish is good,” said committee member Ed Carlson, who is in charge of angler services.
“What we wanted to do was give the fish a chance to spawn so we’re not interrupting that. I’m confident that’s not going to be a problem,” he added.
Unfortunately, when the committee was discussing fish care earlier this year, staff at the Ministry of Natural Resources here were on strike.
“It’s always dependent on weather we get,” Linda Wall, the MNR’s area supervisor for Rainy Lake and fish and wildlife lead for the Fort Frances District, said on whether the bite looks promising.
No worries, said committee member Doug Cain.
“There’s not a fear there. There shouldn’t be a concern about fishing pressure,” he said, adding they’ve consulted with former MNR fish care worker Geoff Gillon, who has helped the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Champion-ship for several years.
“Talking to people who do river fish, if you find the right holes, there should be plenty there,” Cain added. “[But] where you find the deep holes may be where you find the most fishermen.”
Former fish biologist and derby emcee Lionel Robert agreed. “There’s been big walleye on Big Sand Lake in Kenora [in June] so I don’t see a real problem with this one,” he remarked.
And as for weather: que sera sera, said Carlson.
“You’ll never know what you’re going to get when it comes to weather. That’s part of the competition,” he reasoned.
“The important thing here is limiting fish mortality,” he stressed. “The water will be cool enough to minimize mortality. [But] there’s no way to know. Someone may hook a fish bad and accidents can happen.
“[No fatalities] is our optimal goal.”
Fishing on the river goes Friday and Saturday with the winner to receive $10,000.