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Anglers Insight Marketing (AIM) has added a new page to their profile and formed a circuit for the weekend angler. AIMís Weekend Walleye Series has been announced and it will showcase their Catch-Record-Release tournament format. Anglers will measure, photograph, and immediately release all walleyes caught.

This is the same format used in AIMís other high profile tournaments. The most recent event which was held in Oconto and was won by professional angler Gary Parsons of Glidden and walleye pro Chris Hansen of Saint Michael, MN with 137.17 pounds of un-harmed walleyes. We really need to give credit to the Angler Insight Marketing group for leading the way to the future of competitive walleye tournaments in a few respects. If we look at this In terms of the additional revenue added to local host communities, itís a very big deal. The economy is still sluggish in many areas and any time you can bring extra visitors to town to spend money on gas, food and lodging, itís a wonderful thing.

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Secondly, The Catch, Record and Release format is futuristic and very environmentally friendly.

Looking at my home waters of Lake Winnebago, a typical year will find anglers fishing walleye tournaments every Saturday and Sunday from the third week in April to the first part of July. Thatís one heck of a pile of walleyes. Those walleyes travel by boat in all kinds of weather conditions to the weigh-in site. In many cases the fish ride thirty plus miles in rough conditions or scorching heat before they hit the scales, hardly ideal conditions for walleyes.

Boat manufactures have gone to great lengths to create a near perfect livewell which helps survival rates, but fish are still stressed by the end of the day. Most tournaments boast about great release numbers but we never really know if those fish live.

The CRR format which is used by AIM almost guarantees a successful walleye release. In just minutes, fish are measured, recorded, photographed and released to its environment with little or no stress on the fish! To me, this is the one of the greatest steps the sport has taken to ensure the future of tournaments.

One other thing that comes to mind when using the CRR format, venues that were once off limits in Wisconsin because of DNR regulations now become available to fish. The Department of Natural Resources authorizes tournament permits and July and August are not favorable months because of rising water temperatures.

Petenwell Flowage is a good example and no tournaments permits are given in the summer. It also has a law in place (slot limit) which allows for one fish over 28Ē to be taken but fish between 20- and 28-inches must be released. In 2002, I won a tournament on Petenwell with a limit of 18 ĺ inch fish, barely 12 lbs. It was very exciting for me, but tournament organizations like to see bigger weights. That day we released several fish that were 23 inches because the law said I couldnít bring them to the scales. In those tournaments at Petenwell, very few fish over 28 inches have ever been taken, but the lake has a good population of fish inside the slot.

With the AIM format, these slot fish can be recorded as weight, no laws are broken and very little harm is done to the walleyes. Maybe now Petenwell can get back on a schedule which will take a little pressure off Lake Winnebago.

Iím very excited to see this format used in the weekend series so stay tuned for schedules and dates visit http://www.aimfishing.com for more information.

Read more from John McArdle.

John McArdle is a life-long resident of Fond Du Lac and blogs about fishing adventures in the great state of Wisconsin. Anything from trout fishing the Driftless Area to sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago, John will provide stories ,tips and photos of his FINtastic adventures in Wisconsin!

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