03 2010 »

Feldner wins final Western Division qualifier wire-to-wire – 2010

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – As a full time guide, Jason Feldner spends over 200 days a year on Devils Lake, his favorite body of water. To say he’s in tune with its seasonal walleye migration is a severe understatement. But when the ice finally receded on Devils this spring, even he struggled with the high-water conditions.

After coming up empty in his traditional honeyholes, Feldner finally gave up and began treating Devils as a new body of water. Some of his favorite trees had been ripped away by the ice and other productive areas suddenly had an additional five feet of water on them. It took some time, but the Minnewaukan, N.D., native finally figured it out. He started putting his clients on good fish and then a few months later the FLW Walleye Tour rolled into town.

Most of the Tour pros started practice by returning to their favorite trees. Just like Feldner and other locals learned months earlier, this is a different Devils Lake. The bobber bite was off altogether and the crankbait bite was just so-so.

Feldner was dialed in from the start. On day one he caught a limit weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces – taking over a lead he would never relinquish. Days two and three were more difficult, but he still managed sizeable stringers – 15-2 and 15-13 to be precise.

“I was pulling Lindy spinners in Pelican Lake in 9 to 12 feet of water,” said Feldner. “The blades I’m using just came out at ICAST a few weeks ago. Bluegill, perch and fathead minnow were my main three patterns. Fathead minnow was better in the sun and perch and bluegill were good when it was cloudy.”

Earlier in the week, Feldner also mixed in the new Lindy Shadling, but on the final day all of his keepers came on the spinners. Behind those blades was a two-hook crawler harness.

“I was fishing the bottom of the water column and trolling at approximately 1 to 1.5 mph.”

The bite was slow early Saturday. In fact, Feldner’s first two spots, the same areas that produced nearly all of his opening-round weight, were void of fish.

“We had nothing in the livewell at 11 a.m. Then we moved to our third spot, a spot I’d been saving for the finals, and finally we found active fish. We had one 400- to 500-yard stretch where we caught all eight. At about noon, the big kicker hit. In those two hours, I bet we caught 20 or so. Once they turn on, they turn on. And you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time.”

With the addition of optional pot money the 37-year-old earned $17,750.

For more information on his guide service, visit www.percheyes.com

Story by Brett Carlson

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