2023 Illinois River – Keeping Tradition Alive to Start – MWC 40th Season
Presented by Ranger Boats
Ponca City, Okla, — Feb. 27, 2023 – In keeping with a long-standing tradition, the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) will once again visit the Illinois River in Spring Valley, Illinois to kick-off the circuit’s 40th season!
This event is a welcomed change of pace for walleye anglers coming from all over the country where the vast majority of them, just a few weeks prior to this tournament, were freezing on a frozen lake looking down an eight-inch hole dreaming about the walleyes and saugers they were going to be bringing across the stage in Spring Valley at the first major walleye tournament of 2023 in the country. “I look forward to the MWC Illinois River event every spring. Familiar faces, a familiar venue, and a plethora of both local anglers and seasoned pros all coming together to partake in the first major event in professional team walleye fishing of the year. This is the perfect starting place for anglers to knock the dust off of those long rods and put some fish in the boat!” Said Jeff Kelm, Tournament Director for the MWC.
Savvy anglers know that the Illinois River is one of the best sauger fisheries in the country, with a possibility of catching the new state record on any cast or drop. This wouldn’t be possible without the hard work put in by the state. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will once again be teaming up with the MWC and the anglers to collect DNA samples and eggs in order to bolster the state’s successful sauger stocking program. Over the years, the MWC and its anglers have provided well over 5,000 fish to help continue the program and keep the Illinois River on the map as one of the nation’s top sauger fishing destinations.
Take-off will take place at 7:30am (CDT) each day. Daily live weigh-ins will be held at the Spring Valley Boat Club beginning at 3:30pm (CDT) both days on March 17th and 18th. Everyone is welcome to watch and join in on the fun and excitement either in person, live online at masterswalleyecircuit.com or on our Facebook page, facebook.com/MastersWalleyeCircuit.
Anglers competing during the 2023 MWC season will be competing for a spot in the 2024 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s World Walleye Championship in Alpena, Michigan on Lake Huron.
MWC Teams may fish as many events as they wish during a season. Teams must earn points in at least three qualifiers to have a chance at earning an invitation to the World Walleye Championship in the final “best of 3” final standing each year.
Those earning points in at least four qualifiers compete for “Team of the Year” honors, including a $10,000 sponsorship package and thousands more in cash and prizes to the top 10 teams in the final “best of 4” final standing each year.
Each MWC event has a lucrative payout which is based on the number of teams entered into that event, and is awarded to 20% of the field, providing more inspiration to sign up and join the fun. In addition to a hefty check, the first-place team also earns a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s National Team Championship (NTC) prize package including: paid entry, a travel stipend, team jerseys, and plaques. Additionally, the big-fish pot, option-pot and sponsor bonuses from Ranger Cup, Lowrance, Okuma, and T-H Marine Atlas Awards will add thousands more for distribution among the field.
Under the umbrella of The Walleye Federation (TWF), the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit is North America’s longest-running and undisputed leader in team walleye tournaments and as an inductee into the freshwater fishing hall of fame, has set the standard for competitive walleye fishing for the past 39 years. The MWC is open to walleye anglers from all walks of life. The 2023 schedule includes seven qualifiers in six states, plus berths into the 2024 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship. Registration is now open for all events. Visit masterswalleyecircuit.com for full details.
Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s –Are in their 22th season as title sponsor of the Masters Walleye Circuit. Official sponsors include: Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, and Ranger Boats. Associate sponsors include: The Walleye Federation, Church Tackle, FishLab, Okuma, Power-Pole and T-H Marine. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (580) 765-9031.