‘Super Bowl’ of fishing tourney is comingThe nation’s biggest and most prestigious professional walleye fishing tournament is coming to Hudson this fall. The four-day In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail will descend on Hudson Oct. 15-18 and could attract 10,000 to 15,000 people.
By: Doug Stohlberg, Hudson Star-Observer
The nation’s biggest and most prestigious professional walleye fishing tournament is coming to Hudson this fall.
Often referred to as the “Super Bowl” of walleye fishing, the four-day event will descend on Hudson Oct. 15-18 and could attract 10,000 to 15,000 people. Nationwide media outlets, including ESPN, will be here to record all the action for a national television audience.
The event is the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail and is well-known in fishing circles. It is being sponsored locally by the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau and the city of Hudson.
“We’re all excited about hosting this event,” said Chamber President Kim Heinemann. “This is going to give Hudson national exposure on ESPN and various fishing shows that will replay the event many times for months following the tournament.”
The Chamber is busy arranging events to coincide with the tournament and plans to tab the event “Spirit of St. Croix Days.” Details are not finalized, but it is expected that the four days will include a music festival, lumberjack show, numerous kids activities, a vendor’s show, a Taste of Hudson buffet and many entertainment venues, including comedians. The culminating event will be a huge formal awards banquet on Saturday night.
All activities are expected to be in the Lakefront Park area. Chamber Director of Communications & Programs Pat Sherley is busy making arrangements for the related events. A large tent will be the site for many of the activities. The all-weather tent will hold hundreds of people for banquets, shows, etc. Many of the activities will be outdoors in areas throughout the park.
“We expect that the event will also create a lot of traffic in downtown stores and restaurants,” Heinemann said. “We will also be running shuttles to the hill.”
Sherley said the event is expected to fill hotels and motels in Hudson and the entire St. Croix Valley.
What the professional walleye fishermen are trying to do is qualify to be one of the finalists on “Super Bowl” Saturday. Some fishermen will have already qualified before the Hudson event, but many will fish Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Oct. 15-17) and attempt to catch enough walleye to get them into the one-finale on Saturday.
Those who qualify will have eight hours on Saturday to catch as many walleye as possible and compete for the PWT year-end event title.
As fisherman attempt to qualify for the final day’s action, they will fish Oct. 15-17 with weigh-ins each day at 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. Those who have already qualified will have those days to seek the most lucrative spot on the river for catching walleye. During those preliminary days amateur fishermen and kids will have an opportunity to pair up with professional fishermen. Adults will have to pay a fee and be selected in an application process. It is expected that kids may have an opportunity the weekend before the tournament as fishermen begin arriving as early as 10 days before the event to explore the St. Croix River. Adult applications are already available at the Chamber office, 502 Second St. Details of kids’ involvement will come later.
“This is big deal,” Heinemann said. “The tournament has drawn huge crowds to every community in which it has been held.”
The event is a “catch and release” tournament. All walleye caught and weighed will be released back into the river.