If warmer water off Michigan stays and the right winds prevail, the Marinette version of the AIM Weekend Walleye Series (AWWS) Nitro Boats Open Wisconsin qualifier tournament on Sunday, May 19, may be won in that state’s waters.

“All Michigan water will be open to our anglers on Sunday, and if the spawners there stay a few more days, we could see some big bags come in during our first tournament headquartered at Marinette,” said AIM National Tournament Director Denny Fox. “From what we’ve heard, the big-uns are there and waiting. This one is also a great tune-up for the Wisconsin State Championship, which takes place in Marinette Aug. 23-24.”

The same action for spawning fish could—could–hold true a bit to the south of the launch point off spots like Green Island, but the two anglers who seem like they know what’s up are predicting it’ll be Michigan, Michigan, Michigan that may hold the key.

And, they both predict it will take at least 40 pounds, and probably more, to win. As entrant Jim Preissner of Chilton says, someone is always going to find the big Green Bay fish.

“I predict it will take about 40 pounds to win. The water is around 51 to 54 degrees. If you get a north wind, it gets colder and it’ll slow down the bite,” he said, but he’s betting on Michigan’s humps and bumps to produce spawners still in the area, and spawning in the lake, not rivers.

“I would look at the Cedar River area (north of Marinette). There’s a lot of rock humps and with the right wind that’s where the bite’s going to be. And don’t rule out Green Island or the Peshtigo area. It’s all wind-related here,” Preissner said.

“Gimme a southwest or southeast wind. Anything east is good because it’ll blow into the shoreline. You’ve got to play the wind on that body of water.”

For example, he said, he went out in a northeast wind and got one fish. “Yesterday it was southwest, and I got 10. It changed the water temperature by three degrees when the warmer water from the inner bay blows out further into the lake, and makes them bite better.“

That wind and weather could be a big factor Sunday, with the temperature roller-coastering from a predicted high at midweek of 67 Thursday, back down to 47 Saturday, and showers and 50 expected Sunday.

“If it’s northeast that’s not good. If it’s light and variable, that doesn’t bother it much, but if it’s strong….”, he added.

What will be in his boat? Cranks and crawlers. “They will definitely be a player. I’m planning on doing a lot of casting with crank baits in shallow water on rock humps. That’s what will work in my opinion. That and trolling. Crawler harnesses, you betcha. I love pulling spoons, too.”

Long-time AIM angler Chad Wiskow of Neenah agrees, adding, pay attention also to that lake spawn.

“Many think everything runs upriver to spawn,” Wiskow said. “You’ve got a lake and a river spawn and temperatures are starting to favor that lake spawn, and that’s what’s starting to go down.

“We’ve been pre-fishing, and I think it’s going to be an interesting tournament. There’s a lot going on. The lower bay spawn is over and most of the river spawns are over, but there’s a pretty good lake spawn right now in Michigan water,” Wiskow said.

Traditional areas like that around Chambers Island, he predicts, won’t come into play. “That’s usually a late season bite. Walleye are coming in to find feed. This could be won in three feet and it could be won in 30.

“There are some guys fishing this tournament that have keyed in on those, and my prediction is, if those guys get on them it’ll take the mid- to high 40s to win.” Everything, he said, is saying those fish will still be there come Sunday.

“Some guys are jigging on them and some are using crank baits however, that crank bite is coming on some specific colors. We’ve got some colors from Viper Tackle (disclaimer: Wiskow’s an owner) that are doing extremely well,” he said.

“Finally we’re seeing some warmer temperatures and there could also be a crawler bite that could come into play along with all of this. Some very big fish are being caught right now, and I could see someone holding a 28-inch average. There was a tournament last weekend and it took 46 pounds to win,” he said.

While he’s talking a lot of water to cover, he adds, most of the fish being taken are on little spots. “You get one or two and you’re onto the next spot. But you get five of the right bites, and it’s a game-changer.”

The game will be afoot come Sunday morning, following Saturday’s registration and rules meeting at Marinette’s Community Rec Center, 2501 Pierce Ave., starting at 5 p.m. Boat inspection starts at 5:30 a.m. at Menekaunee Harbor Park on Ogden Street. The first wave of boats will head out at 7 a.m., with the first boats checking in at 3 p.m. The awards ceremony begins at 5 p.m. at Community Rec Center on Pierce Ave.

You can follow all the action through the day from Garmin Fish and Hunt at AIM’s Facebook site, and watch as the winner is crowned, too. To enter any of AIM’s events, go to Come back to our Facebook site after each tournament for Big Fish Thursday to see who wins a new Navionics map card!

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™) is a unique tournament organization created and owned by many of the most accomplished and recognizable professional walleye anglers, along with others who share the mission of advancing competitive walleye fishing and making it sustainable into the future. AIM is committed to marketing excellence on behalf of its tournament competitors, the tournament host communities, and the brands that partner with it. AIM is also committed to maintaining healthy fisheries across the nation by the development of the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format which is integral to its dynamic events and unparalleled consumer engagement. For more information about AIM™, AIM Pro Walleye Series™, AIM Weekend Walleye Series, AIM sponsors and AIM anglers, visit


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