The day started off promising enough however the clearing sky to the west soon became a bank of dark and somewhat foreboding clouds that soon became a rain squall preceded by a fairly gnarly series of gusts. As I was to learn, this made for an immediate adjustment to how you fished for the wily walleye. There are probably at least as many theories about how you change your strategy as there are fishermen, so what else is new? One theory says that as the wind and surface chop increases, the fish work inshore to hunt in the shallows. Another theory says they head deeper and therefore further away from the beach. One thing that doesn’t change is that the teams that did well on day one would probably adapt, change and continue to do well.
Click on photos to enlarge.
Since I wasn’t fishing, I decided to adapt and change and check out the Rickey Point Sailing Club which is only about four miles south of Kettle Falls walleye tournament headquarters. I was invited there by the recent past commodore of the RPSC, J Foster Fanning, whom I had only known through emails. The RPSC claims to be the oldest sailing club on the east side of the mountains and you certainly have to admire the extensive cruising area they have and its incredible beauty. I also, once again, had the good fortune to choose to meet Foster on a Sunday morning and learn one of the great traditions of Sunday morning on Lake Roosevelt. I called Foster and he gave me directions which led me up a hill away from the water and the buoy field the RPSC calls home which is complete with guest moorage. At the end of the road was the home, orchard and roasting facility of Crandall Coffee. Foster greeted me and led me to a deck with a spectacular view overlooking the Lake. There I was introduced to John and Janet Crandall who call this idyllic location home and Catherine Brown the recently retired secretary of the RPSC. I was then offered a cup of outstanding Crandall coffee, a box of cherries picked about 15 minutes ago from trees about 50-feet away, and some smoked walleye from a fish that had been caught just down the hill. All the while enjoying great conversation while watching the weather move across the lake only to be interrupted by raptors that included an osprey, turkey vulture, and a bald eagle. I was assured this was just another boring Sunday on Lake Roosevelt. A rain squall ended this part of my Sunday and forced me back to the competition for the Governors Cup.
I arrived back at Kettle Falls as the weigh-in was wrapping up and the party was shifting to the awards ceremony at the Happy Del Park in downtown Kettle Falls. This was no small event as in addition to the cash prizes for the fishermen there were also two large tables of prizes that needed to be raffled off, in other words, something for everyone. Once again the race organizers got the kids involved using them to bring the prizes up to the table and once the ticket was drawn, the kids hustled the prize out to the winner and retrieved the ticket. What a great combination of lots of people, lots of kids, lots of fun (even in a brief rain shower) and lots of laughs as the Master of Ceremonies, Chuck DeBruin from the Spokane Walleye Club, kept things moving at a brisk pace.
Once the raffle prizes were gone, the ceremony got down to the big stuff, checks and lots of them. I lost count but there were at least 25 checks handed out and they weren’t for chicken feed or as they say here, gas money. There were prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Heaviest String category for each day, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the biggest fish category for each day, the top ten for the weekend, and of course the Governors Cup.
To sum it all up, in Third place and taking home $1549 were Greg and Kathy Goodnight, in Second place with 25.1 pounds and taking home $1971 were Dave Harrell and Sam Grant, and the BIG winners, holding on from day one with 29.42 pounds and taking home a check for $3661 was the team of Philip Adams and Jerry Lawrence. They also collected checks for the first and second place in the Biggest Fish category and Heaviest String categories which meant an additional $1195. Not a bad weekend.
In the Governors Cup, the The team of Stan and Jason Romig from the State of Oregon took first place with 19.26 pounds, followed by Aaron Schonewald and Darin Green representing the State of Washington for second and in third representing the State of Georgia the team of Ken and Bill House.
All in all, a great weekend, with great people and held in a great location. The event went off without a hitch as the team of volunteers from around the area made it look easy. They are to be congratulated for putting on a very first class program.