Treeland Challenge 2016

32nd Annual Treeland Challenge Fishing Contest 


This past weekend 269 anglers competed in the 32nd Annual Treeland Challenge. As can happen in early May, Mother Nature threw some very difficult fishing conditions at the Challengers but a little cold and wind couldn’t stop them from finding fish and having a great time!

The drastic temperature changes made for a slow bite and fish were not in their normal patterns for this time of the year. A jig and minnow was the bait of choice for walleye and small spinner baits to bring in the largemouth bass.

Friday’s fishing brought in a total of 58 walleye and 68 largemouth bass. Entrants registered fish at both Pat’s Landing Resort and Treeland’s Resort – with the West side beating out the East side in fish registrations. Saturday was a much colder day with a relentless North wind, snow to kick off the morning and unfishablely cold temperatures in the evening. “The Challenge wasn’t about fishing that day, The Challenge was the weather.” With all that being said, the brave and hearty Treeland Challengers still managed to register 53 walleye and 47 fish. Longtime Challenger, Tyler Lemke of Phillips, WI is glad he braved the snow and cold, as he was able to snag what ended up being the first place walleye at 27 1/4″ on Saturday morning. In the evening fishing session, Gary Slagle, of Park Falls, WI, registered what ended up being the first place largemouth bass at 19 1/4″!

The sun came out for the last fishing session on Sunday morning. Anglers brought in and registered 25 walleye and 19 more bass.  In total, 136 walleyes were registered and 134 largemouth bass. The average length for walleye was 17.99″ long, drastically up from previous years! The average length for bass was 14.97″ long.

For the Walleye Division, Steve Schwarz, of Poynette, WI narrowly took 3rd place with a 25-1/2″ walleye and $300 cash. 2nd Place went to Zach Lemke of Phillips, WI also with a 25-1/2″ walleye and $600 cash. To break the tie between Zach and Steve we had to look at their second largest walleye each had caught. Taking first place was older brother Tyler Lemke with a 27-1/4″ walleye and $1000 cash!

For the Largemouth Bass Division, Mark Devino, of Sleepy Holow, IL, narrowly came in third place with a 18-1/2″ bass and $300 cash. Second place with an 18-3/4″ bass went to Dave Dearhamer of Park Falls, WI and $600 cash. Lastly, taking first place with a 19-1/4″ bass was Gary Slagle, of Park Falls, WI and $1000 cash.

On Saturday of the tournament, during our annual Brat and Beer Feed, R & R Bayview Lodge presented rod and reel combos to the winners of the casting contest. Ten year old Derek Carlson, Jr of Downers Grove, IL won the children’s division, and first time Challenger Jennifer Pilibosian of Phillips, WI won the adult division.

Hayward Home Center continued their tradition of awarding the Lady Lunker Award to the ladies who caught the largest walleye and the largest bass. Winners of the award received a St. Croix Legend Custom Rod with a Shimano Stradic Reel. In the walleye division, Vicki Lemke of Phillips, WI won with a 24″ fish. For the bass division, ten year old Daisha Dearhamer of Park Falls, WI, took home the prize with a 17-1/2″ largemouth bass.

In the Children’s Division, Hayward Bait and Bottle Shoppe donated a Custom G Loomis Rod with Shimano Reel to Jake Kubarek of Hayward, WI.

In addition to the thousands of dollars of daily door prizes given away, one daily grand door prize is awarded each day to a lucky winner. On Thursday night we gave away a MotorGuide VariMAX Digital Trolling motor, graciously sponsored by Hayward Power Sports, to ten year old Jack Carlson of Goodhue, MN. Friday’s grand prize was a St. Croix Premier Custom Rod with Shimano Stradic Reel sponsored by Hayward Home Center to Chad Gorman, of Eau Claire, WI. Saturday’s daily grand prize winner, Mike Molski of Stevens Point, WI won a LOWRANCE Elite-5x Chirp Fishfinder + Down Scan Imaging, also sponsored by Hayward Power Sports. Sunday’s daily grand prize winner, Scott Roeder of Bancroft, WI, took home a LOWRANCE Elite-5HDI Dual Imaging Fishfinder + GPS Chartplotter, graciously sponsored by Jenk’s Bait & Tackle.

The last function of our tournament is the draw for the Grand Prize of a $2000 gift certificate for Cabelas. Every time a contestant enters a walleye or bass in the contest, they receive a ticket for the drawing. This year, Dave Dearhamer had the lucky horseshoe and won the grand prize!

For the third year in a row, we raffled off a Custom Elk River Rod with a Shimano Stradic Reel, with 100% of proceeds donated to Walleyes for NW Wisconsin. We were proudly able to present a check for $2355 to Dave Neuswanger, who accepted on behalf of the WFNWW.

The 2016 Treeland Challenge was another success and we’re already looking forward to the 33rd Annual! We’d like to thank all of our sponsors, as it would not be possible without their contributions! Pat’s Landing Resort, Hayward Power Sports, Jenk’s Bait & Tackle, Hayward Home Center, Hayward Bait & Bottle Shoppe, Chippewa Valley Bank, Vortanz Lumber, Nelson Lumber and Home, Floor to Ceiling, LaBarre Plumbing, R & R Bayview Resort, Tiger Musky Resort, Northern Sheet Metal, L & M Fleet Supply, Miller General Beer Northwest, St. Croix Rods and Elk River Custom Rods.