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South Dakota National Guard Converge on Dry Lake Gary Howey

Not far from Madison, S.D., you will find Dry Lake 2, one of the numerous Glacial Lakes located in Northeastern South Dakota
In mid July, members of the South Dakota National Guard converged on this lake, they weren’t there to assists with some natural disaster as they have on many other occasions, they were there to find out who would have the bragging rights for the 2015 SDNG Pro-Am Walleye Tournament. The 2nd annual event was sponsor by Berkley, the South Dakota National Guard, Lake Area Walleye Club, The Walleye Guys and others.
Members of the Guard, along with potential Guard members joined with members of the Lake Area Walleye Club, Madison, S.D. and several professional anglers to compete in the one-day SDNG Walleye Fishing Tournament.
Cameraman Bill Miller and I were fortunate enough to film the event for one of our shows on our Outdoorsmen Adventures television series. Our job would be to move from boat to boat, recording the event, which would air during our 2016 Outdoorsmen Adventures television season.As we arrived at the lake, it looked to be a great day for fishing; overcast with a slight breeze, perfect walleye fishing weather.The ten teams had their boats lined up along the fence line as they made plans on how to attack the lake. Dry Lake 2 is a 6,500-acre lake with a maximum depth of fifteen feet like many of these shallow northeastern South Dakota lakes and has a healthy weed growth coming out from the shoreline.
Prior to the start of the tournament, president of the Lake Area Walleye Club, Mike Dorris introduced the teams and explained the tournament rules, with each team’s top five largest fish used for heaviest weight to decide the winning team.
This would be a Catch, Record and Release tournament, where two photos were taken, one of the angler with their fish and another of the fish on the ruler, the fish were then released. The photos were then text via smart phones to tournament headquarters. Tournament officials would verify the photos, record the length, converting length to pounds with a conversion chart and then post the photos to a computer program viewed at the end of the tournament.Pic-SDNG Group photo
Our cameramen jumped from boat to boat, giving us an idea as to what was the hot bait. On this day, the most effective bait seemed to be a swimbait cast into the opening of the weedbeds and then retrieved in a jigging action back to the boat. Crankbaits were also working, but not as well as the swimbaits as crankbaits had a tendency to snag up in the weeds, where a swimbait would work its way through.
As the sun came through the cloud, allowing anglers to pin point the opening in the weeds, place their baits into those openings, where the fish waited in ambush for their next meals to swim by.Walleyes aren’t the only species of fish inhabiting these waters as the walleyes close relative the yellow perch and the main predator in the lake, the northern pike both do well in the weedy shallows of these lakes.When the final gun went off, it was the team of Aaron Wohlleber, Casey Baumgarn, Cole Frost with a total weight of 18.51 pounds taking home first place. In second with 14.84-pounds was the Steve Alverson, Elizabeth Raml, Zach Angerhofer team. Bringing home third place with 14:11 pounds was the team of Ryan Sauter, Todd Fuerst, Jackson Vanorny. The fourth place team with Jason Merkley, Jason Bain, Justin Maas with 13.10-pounds. Rounding out the top five places was Mike Dorris, Cory Richardt, Josh Bales with 12.55-pounds.
The teams boated over 300 walleyes, numerous northerns and several perch with the largest fish of the event, a 4.22-pound fish taken by the team of Aaron Wohlleber, Casey Baumgarn and Cole FrostThanks to The Lake Area Walleye Club, South Dakota National Guard and the other sponsors for allowing our crew to be part of the team.

More information on the Lake Area Walleye Club, South Dakota National Guard and the Madison SD area can be found at the following web sites:

Lake Area Walleye Club:  lawcllc.com

South Dakota National Guard: dguard.ngb.army.mil/default.aspx

Greater Madison South Dakota Chamber of Commerce: chamberofmadisonsd.com