August 22nd and 23rd was the 16th stop for the 2009 Minnesota Tournament Trail season, held at Hunters Point Resort on Lake Mille Lacs.  This was a two day tournament and was the last stop before the upcoming championship at Lake of the Woods.  Each of the 71 teams that were competing were allowed four fish to the scale each day, only one of which could be over 28 inches.

For pre-fishing Friday we worked the East Flat, Barnicles Flat, and did some open water trolling in search of some bigger fish.  The walleyes seemed to be stacked on both flats as well as being active in the deeper water.  On Friday it seemed they preferred the slower presentation on the flats, but high winds made it difficult to stay on the edges there.  Going into Saturday, the plan was to work these same areas since the forecast was predicting less wind which would allow us to fish these targeted areas a little easier.

Saturday started off pretty slowly for us, and we didn't catch our first slot fish until five hours into the day.  The bite seemed to be a little different than it was on Friday as the fish seemed to be more spread out.  After rigging for a few hours and not producing any slot fish we decided to start pulling some crank baits to cover more water and find the more aggressive fish faster.  After trying ever color crank bait in the box, we caught our first slot fish at noon on a #5 white glass shad.  Wow, did the flood gates open then!  We trolled between 1.7 and 2.0 mph using 2 1/2 colors of lead core line.  Within a few hours we had our limit of some nice slot fish and we came in with a weight of 6.16 lbs.  This was enough to land us in 9th place after day one.  Our goal for Sunday was to try and get some slot fish early and spend the rest of the day deep water trolling for one over 28 inches.

Sunday morning we headed out to the East Flat with this game plan in mind, which worked out great as we had four nice slot fish in the box by 10:30.  We then decided to try some open water trolling near the Blue Jug Flat in order to target for one over the 28 inch slot.  Although we did not find that big walleye, we were able to upgrade one of our smaller slot fish.  We knew that we had a pretty good weight going in to the scales, but also that we'd have to produce more than a 7 lb limit to have a shot.  To our surprise our 7.25 lbs bag turned out to be the largest of the weekend and was enough to put us into the lead.  We managed to hold onto this lead and took home our first big tournament win!

Our last stop will be the upcoming Championship at Lake of the Woods on September 17th and 18th.  The top seventy five teams of the year qualify for this tournament.  Make sure to watch the Minnesota Tournament Trail website for updates on scheduling as this event is televised on Midwest Outdoors.  The winner of the weekend will take home a 2009 Skeeter WX1880 powered by a 150 Yamaha four stroke. 

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Fishing Small Rivers in Mid-Summer