Osakis natives Tim Hinrichs and Gary Brekkestran have placed in the money at the Osakis Lions Club Walleye Tournament before, but they had never had a day quite like they had on Saturday.
Hinrichs and Brekkestran took home the top honor in the team competition as they brought in four walleyes for a total weight of 14.46 pounds. Part of that bag was a 7.51-pound fish that also won them the $1,260 top-walleye prize. In total, the duo earned a $6,300 payday.
“The bite was pretty fair,” Brekkestran said. “I think we caught more fish (Saturday) than we did pre-fishing. I think staying persistent, if you stick with it eventually you’re going to find some fish.”
Hinrichs and Brekkestran found most of their fish in 15-16 feet of water.
“That’s where it looked like most of them were hanging out,” Brekkestran said.
Both guys have fished Lake Osakis quite a bit. Hinrichs said they are pretty confident in their ability to find fish on the body of water, even with patterns changing over the years.
The two used Lindy Rigs with nightcrawlers to catch walleyes on Saturday. They caught the big fish midway through the tournament a little after 11 a.m.
The event was the 38th annual tournament hosted by the Osakis Lions Club. It has normally been a two-day tournament, but it was switched to one day this year in order to keep the count down in terms of the number of fish they took from the lake.
The tournament has been a catch-and-release event in the past. Fish that were deemed healthy enough after weigh-in went back in the lake, while those that did not make it were cleaned and donated.
Organizers this year were not able to get a permit from the Department of Natural Resources to host a catch-and-release tournament. By this point in the summer, water temperatures have warmed up and make for a greater concern of having a delayed mortality of the walleyes that are released after weigh-in.
“They draw a line across the state that kind of goes above us a little bit,” Mike Thesing of the Osakis Lions Club said. “We’re in the southern part, so they feel the water gets warmer and you see that delayed mortality factor more so. We just couldn’t have a release tournament.”
Of the four fish that teams could bring in, only one walleye could be over 20 inches. In all, 154 walleyes were weighed in.
Anglers could choose to keep and clean the fish themselves or they could donate the fish to the Lions Club. The fish that were donated are going to Galeon Senior Living, Wellness, Care and Recovery in Osakis, Osakis Meals on Wheels and to the Eagle’s Healing Nest veterans living center in Sauk Centre.
The Lions Club paid out prizes to the top 10 two-person teams. The team of Mike Sorenson and Kyle Spychalla took second with a four-fish weight of 13.93 pounds, including a big fish of 6.57. Jon Donabauer and Mike Schmitz were third with a 12.61-pound catch. Glen and Belinda Wink were fourth (11.47 pounds) and Andy Langner and Jeff Eickhoff rounded out the top five (11.26).
Greg Eigen and Bob Bugher brought in the second biggest walleye at 7.09 pounds and Dale Busch and Drew Novak earned the prize for the biggest northern with a fish weighing in at 8.97 pounds.
There were a total of 63 two-person teams in the tournament. That was right around where the field has been the last couple of years. Money raised through the tournament will go to fund service projects by the Lions Club in Osakis.
“I think most of the people seemed to be pretty satisfied,” Thesing said. “I noticed we measured a few more bigger fish. Several boats were saying they had two or three over 20 inches and they could only bring one in. We weighed quite a few 22-23-inch fish so in that three to four-and-a-half pound range. Overall, I think it went real well.”
OSAKIS LIONS CLUB LAKE OSAKIS WALLEYE TOURNAMENT - TOP 10 TEAMS - 1. Tim Hinrichs, Alexandria, and Gary Brekkestran, Horace, ND - 14.46 pounds; 2. Mike Sorenson, Osakis, and Kyle Spychalla, Browerville - 13.93 pounds; 3. Jon Donabauer, Sartell, and Mike Schmitz, Sartell - 12.65 pounds; 4. Glen and Belinda Wink, Alexandria - 11.47 pounds; 5. Andy Langner, Holdingford, and Jeff Eickhoff, Freeport - 11.26 pounds; 6. Barry Mielke, Osakis, and Jeff Trende, Maple Grove - 11.24 pounds; 7. Greg Borash, Wyoming, and Shawn O’Hern, Jordan - 11.15 pounds; 8. Greg Sadlemyer, Osakis, and Rodd Gustafson, Long Prairie - 10.59 pounds; 9. Mitch Elle, Dassel, and Dave Bollman, Granite Falls - 10.57 pounds; 10. Rick Jenneke, Hutchinson, and Troy Marco, Alexandria - 10.28 pounds