The warm winter of 2012 had Lake Erie about a month ahead of where it normally would have been in March for walleye habitat and spawning. So FLW Walleye Tour anglers competing May 10-12 on Lake Erie may not see some of the spectacular weights seen in past years. Jeff Graves of Chagrin Falls, won the 2011 event with more than 117 pounds. It is predicted that the winning weight will be right around the century mark — still nothing to sneeze about and one of the reasons anglers look forward to this stop on the FLW Walleye Tour year after year.
Hosted by the City of Port Clinton and Lake Erie Shores and Islands, the tournament features as many as 150 of the world’s best walleye anglers in each of the pro and co-angler divisions. They are casting for top awards up to $63,000 in the Pro Division and $10,500 in the Co-angler Division.
According to FLW Walleye pro Joe Whitten of Toledo, Ohio, current water temperatures are right around 53 degrees. These earlier-than-normal temps have moved the walleye out of their traditional holding spots for this time of year and have spread the fish all the way from Toledo to Cleveland.
“The fish are all spawned out,” said Whitten, who is coming off a seventh-place finish at the 2012 FLW Walleye Tour event on the Mississippi River last week. “This tournament is going to be different than we have seen in any other year. Anglers are going to have to learn the lake all over again.”
Anglers will take off from the Nor’Easter Club at 6:30 each morning. Thursday’s and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at 3 p.m. in Waterworks Park. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be at 4 p.m. at Walmart.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The Expo includes the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, a trout pond and interactive games and activities.