LOCAL TEAM REELS IN THE CUP!
Rasmusan, Sillerud 2012's Top Anglers
By Samar Fay Courier Editor
Published: Thursday, July 19th, 2012
Teams from northeastern Montana swept the top places at the 25th annual Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament held at Fort Peck last weekend. Norm Sillerud and JR Rasmusan, both of Glasgow, brought 41.52 pounds of walleye to the weigh boats and walked away with the top money of the tournament. They also split day money on Friday and Sunday, being one of the top 11 teams on both days.
They were looking good after Friday’s fishing, in fourth place with 15.86 pounds. Then they caught 25.66 pounds on Sunday to clinch the title.
They told emcee Joe Herbold that they went up the Big Dry almost to the boundary and probably caught 40 fish using nightcrawlers. One fish weighed 9 pounds.
Sillerud thanked his dad for taking him fishing.
“It feel pretty good to be up here right now,” Sillerud said.
Rasmusan echoed the thanks to his dad, and also thanked the crew of volunteers.
In second place with 40.26 pounds were two-time champions Ken Schmidt of Glasgow and Todd Riggs, formerly of Glasgow and now of Missoula. They won this tournament in 2008 and 2010. This year they won day money on both Friday and Saturday plus extra for hooking the second biggest walleye on Saturday, 11.12 pounds.
Rounding out the top three was the Wolf Point team of Kris Keller and Charlie Redfield, who caught 30.8 pounds of walleye. Friday was a good day for them; they were in the day money and they brought in a 12.06-pounder that was the second biggest walleye that day.
The biggest walleye caught on Friday was Chris and Ken Rossol’s 12.38-pounder. Keller and Redfield were next. Keller said their method was “run and gun. We were all over the place.” In third were Ron LaRoche and Guy Schwarzrock with a 9.94-pound fish.
Kevin Lynch and Mike Bloch landed a 22.7-pound northern pike for top place on Friday, followed by Matt Fischer and Larry Fischer (15.7 pounds). There was a tie for third at 14.5 pounds: Todd Dooley and Randy Hurst, and Scott Woodward and Sean Walker.
Sunday’s biggest walleye, 11.74 pounds, was snagged by Joe Kavon and Alvin Hollatz. Schmidt and Riggs were next (11.12 pounds). In another tie for third, Ernie and Brent Olness and Ed and Bill Sugg brought in 9.94-pounders.
The big northerns on Sunday were big indeed. Shawn Melland and Brad Sanford topped the list with 36.5 pounds. Next were Steve Schindler and Andy Hicks at 36 pounds. Hicks’s strategy: “Speed troll and go like hell. If you go slower, the perch get you, or the weeds.” In third, Tim and Carl Zabrocki caught a 35.25-pounder.
The mixed couples award went to Scott and Cindy Sundheim of Fairview for their 16.56 pounds of walleye. Coming off the water on Sunday afternoon, Cindy Sundheim sounded like a typical fisherman. When asked how they did, she said, “Not good.” The first day they caught an 8.84-pounder, but on Sunday, it took three fish to make 7.72 pounds. There was some shared complaining about the miserable biting flies.
Then she said, “It was a great day. We’ll be back.”
The 2012 Governor’s Team winners were from Montana. Danny and Robert Nygard are from Cut Bank and Fort Peck, respectively. They placed 34th overall. Their names will be engraved on the plaque bearing an original bronze sculpture of a walleye by Montana artist Harvey Rattey. The California team was next. Randy Aten and Tim Timler were 50th overall. One team from each state is chosen by the governor of the state by a drawing of teams entered from that state.
“The fishery is in such good shape - bass, northern and walleye. It’s incredible right now, the number of fish of all species. That’s the purpose of the tournament, to show the place off.”
Three teams from Wyoming passed Saturday afternoon in the shade of the front porch of the Fort Peck Marina, talking baits and strategies. They said the Governor’s Cup tournament has improved, with a lowered entry fee and better payouts. They figure each person who comes probably spends $1,500, and uses about $100 in gas for every day of pre-fishing.
Ed Hoffman came up from Gillette, Wyo., to try his hand on big Fort Peck. His friends pointed out that he was in the top 10 after the first day’s fishing. Unfortunately his team fell to 21st on Sunday.
“But it’s still fun,” Hoffman said. “It’s not a money-making proposition.”
Gene Dittus, who lives near Gillette and does a lot of fishing on Keyhole Reservoir, said, “I just fish for fun. I’m semi-retired. I don’t care if I catch fish or not.”
Paul Verley of Sheridan, who described himself as “a bass fisherman from Wyoming,” said he caught two walleye up here on bass bait.
None of them objected to the strict boat inspection required before going on the water. They said Wyoming is being even more aggressive against invasive plant and animal species, with check stations at the state line and at every lake.
Sunday was the last trip on the Corps of Engineers tugboat for Stan Scott, who said he has not lost anybody off the boat in his nearly 20 years of tournaments. Scott is a part time Corps employee who does outside maintenance at the campgrounds using cranes and heavy equipment. The tug is in the water for the first two hours and the last two hours of the daily competition, timing boats out and checking them all back in.
The Glasgow Area Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture sponsors the Montana Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament, held annually the second weekend in July. A brief history of the tournament begins, “It has been 25 years since Tim Newton, Steve Schindler, Greg Pauley and many others thought our community should promote, enhance and protect warm water fishing at Fort Peck Lake and in Montana. And thus began the first annual Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament.”
Scott Ross, a former editor of the Glasgow Courier, was the tournament’s first director. The current tournament directors are Todd Young and Traci Sibley, assisted by a host of volunteers.
The Glasgow Chamber Board and the Governor’s Cup Committee chose to dedicate the 2012 Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament Book to the deployed 484th MP Co. of the Montana Army National Guard and its retirees. The National Guard was instrumental in the tournament’s early years, volunteering their services for inspection and boat launching.
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