Reeling in the yearsThe North Dakota Governor’s Walleye Cup is one of the most lucrative fishing tournaments in the state.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The North Dakota Governor’s Walleye Cup is one of the most lucrative fishing tournaments in the state.
In turn, the tournament attracts a number of the best anglers from around the area starting Friday and ending Saturday with Sunday serving as a makeup day at Lake Sakakawea.
“When you have a hefty payout, you are going to get your top anglers in state to come out and compete for first place,” Heart River boys basketball coach Greg Pruitt said. “It should be a fun tournament and a lot of competitors. Hopefully the weather cooperates, the fish are biting and everybody has a good time.”
It’s the 37th annual North Dakota Governor’s Cup and the winner for the two-day payout is $10,000, while the runner-up receives $4,400 and third place gets $3,420. The tournament pays out to the top 40 teams with lowest amount at $250.
“It’s significant for spending two days on the lake, doing what you love to do and you might go home with $10,000,” Governor’s Cup member Joyce Pfliger said. “That’s not a bad deal.”
“When you put 200 plus anglers on a body of water and North Dakota does have a number of pretty good walleye fisherman, you have to have two good days to get it done,” said William Marshall, who will be only angler to attend the Governor’s Cup for all 37 years.
There will be 216 teams fishing in the boundaries in an area east of the west point of Berthold Bay on the north and an imaginary line stretching across to the south side of the lake to Expansion Bay, stretching east to the Garrison Dam and Highway 83 on the eastern boundary.
“Last year we were around the 200 mark,” Pfliger said. “Our highest was around 252 teams and when the water went down we started losing some teams. We also have some teams that are getting up there in age. We’re really happy with the turn out this year.”
The two brothers that have had success in the past are William and Mike Marshall. William, who lives in Minot, and Mike, who lives in Garrison, won the Governor’s Cup in 2010.
“I still have to pinch myself when I think about it and that’s finally happened,” William said.
Despite all the advances throughout the years, William said there’s one key that’s always needed, “Everything has to go your way.”
“When I talk about everything going your way,” he said. “You have to make the right decisions and go to the right spot. The year that we won it, we never lost a fish.”
William said he loves attending the Governor’s Cup every year.
“I look forward to this every year,” he said. “It’s kind of like a family reunion. You get to see a lot of people and visit with a lot of guys that you don’t get to see during the rest of the year.”
Pruitt is a newcomer to the Governor’s Cup, but he has fishing tournament experience competing in the Dakota Walleye Classic for multiple years.
“There are a lot of people out prefishing for the tournament,” Pruitt said. “You see a lot of boats jumping around.”
On Saturday, the North Dakota Junior Governor’s Cup will also be held and Pfliger said it’s a way to allow young anglers a chance to fish.
“One of the reasons why we like to do the North Dakota Junior’s Governor’s Cup in conjunction with ours is to get the young people into the routine of fishing,” she said. “We feel it’s beneficially by having that.”