The 2012 St. Lawrence Valley Sportsmens Club Opening Day Walleye Derby turned into an upriver-downriver duel for top honors starting at midnight on Saturday.
Trolling upriver in the area of American Island Derrick Hubsch of Ogdensburg took top honors with a 9.87 pound Walleye and his partner and 2011 champion Trent Porter of Morristown took third with 9.26 pounder.
Meanwhile Mark Barr and his uncle, Frank Barr, boated the second and fourth place Walleyes while fishing downriver below the international bridge. Mark Barrs second place fish weighted 9.48 pounds and Frank Barrs marbleye tipped the scales to at 9.21. Marrs father, Steve Barr, landed seventh place with an 8.61 pounder and another uncle, Paul Barr, placed 12th at 5.96 pounds.
The Barr bunch began fishing at midnight and Mark Barr boated his runner-up at 1:30 a.m.
I guess we have the fish pretty well trained. Last year Trent caught his derby winner around 11 a.m., deadpanned Hubsch.
This year Trent caught a nice one around 11 a.m. so we decided to keep fishing and I caught my big one about an hour and a half later.
The longtime partners were delighted to land derby honors in back to back years. But they were even more enthused that so many anglers can enjoy the Walleye fishery which has been ressurected by the longtime stocking efforts of the St. Lawrence Valley Sportsmens Club.
When I first moved here in 1989 the Walleye fishery was almost dormant. The stocking efforts began right about that time and the volunteers at the sportsmens club have worked very hard year after year, said Porter.
The fact that we can even have a derby like this is a tribute to them. We release 95 per cent of the fish we catch all season as a tribute to these guys.
Years ago we never caught any fish like this up by our camp until the end of May. The Walleye stocking progrm has been so successful. The Walleyes numbers are large enough now; the fish are moving upriver seeking new feeding grounds.
SLVSC President Greg Denny was delighted with the turnout for the derby and for the quality of fish brought to the weigh-in at the Ed Dobisky Memorial Community Center.
Every bit of money raised by the derby goes back into the stocking program. I want to thank all the fishermen, all the sponosrs and Larry Vielhauer who offers a free mount of the winning fish, said Denny.
We hope all the fishermen will be back in June for all bass derby.
Anglers at the weigh-in reports catching Walleyes are several areas of the river and at all times of the morning an afternoon.
I started up by the starch factory and came back and fished in the Oswegatchie for a while. I didnt catch a real big one but I caught some nice fish, said Dan Scamperlee of Ogdensburg.
I like to drift and jig and I had a lot of fun.
Other members of the derbys top 15 were: Lee Hill fifth at 8.85, Dalton Miller Jr. sixth at 8.84 pounds, Don Payne eighth at 8.34 pounds, Mike Miller ninth at 7.48 pounds and Dalton Miller Sr. at 6.34 pounds.