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NATIONAL WALLEYE TOUR

Anglers descend upon Missouri River Valley for National Walleye Tour
Chamberlain-Oacoma to host hundreds of fishermen

Hundreds of professional and amateur anglers will flock to the Chamberlain-Oacoma area next week to fish one of South Dakota’s premier walleye destinations.

For decades, the central-South Dakota communities located on the Missouri River have attracted anglers from across the region. And now, the walleye fishing hub has been chosen to host a national tournament event on April 29-30 that will bring in 200 anglers. The two-day tournament that’s put on by Bass Pro Shop and Cabela’s National Walleye Tour will mark Chamberlain’s first time hosting the event.

Among all of the fishing locations in the upper Midwest, Anthony Wright, tournament director, called Chamberlain a “great walleye” fishing destination that’s suited to host a great tournament. With a full lineup of anglers competing in the tournament, including 100 professional anglers and 100 amateurs, excitement is high for the upcoming event.

“We know it is a prime spot for walleye fishing, and it is in a nice location for us to open the first tournament of the year there,” Wright said of Chamberlain, noting it will be the first tournament of this year's National Walleye Tour. “The city has opened their arms up for us to make it all happen. It will be televised, so this will be a big deal.”

Each year, the series of tournaments are held in a variety of bodies of water in the northern portion of the country, including lakes and river systems. The National Walleye Tour has been putting on pro-am tournaments for just under a decade.

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“This was a whole new world for me at first, and I love it,” said Duane Hjelm, a South Dakota pro angler who got his start in walleye fishing on small bodies of water.
There are five South Dakota pro anglers – Ted Takasaki, Brian Bashore, Mike Zell, Justin Sieverding and Duane Hjelm – who are among the top 40 in the Angler of the Year standings
A 42-year-old Fargo-Moorhead business owner has seen success on the National Walleye Tour, but it is his success with cuticles and acrylics that helped pave the way to fishing tournament wins.
“I’ve been fishing here since I was a teenager, and it feels great to get my first National Walleye tour win on this body of water,” said Brookings angler Dustin Kjelden.

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“I’d say every two to three years, we will be coming back here. It’s just too good,” Tournament Director Anthony Wright said of the Chamberlain-Oacoma area
"I like that I can just grab my poles and gear and head out here to fish after a day of work and not have to get everything ready like you do for a boat," said Dana Dozark, a local angler who fishes the Missouri River shorelines.
“It was a good day on the river. We mixed it up a bit today,” Austin Earley said of the fishing tactics that he used to reel in five walleye weighing in at a combined 18 pounds.
This is the second straight year the NWT is holding an event in Chamberlain
“These fish are fun to catch. Everything works. That’s the great thing about the Dakotas,” Pro angler Brian Bjorkman said of the Missouri River system.
National Walleye Tour anglers give tips, tricks heading into April 28-29 stop in Chamberlain, S.D.

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"We have a fantastic fishery on Lake Francis Case. Anytime you can bring that many fishermen and fisherwomen, they are going to come back," Chamberlain Mayor Chad Mutziger said.
Alexandria's Drake Herd solidifies Angler of the Year spot with a sixth place finish on final day.
Alexandria's Drake Herd unofficially wraps up the Angler of the Year honor as the most consistent pro on tour this season as he sits in sixth place going into Friday's championship finale.

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