On May 22, 2005 Greg Earis and his family won the Lund Boats Canada,  Angler & Young Angler tournament held at Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan.  By winning this tournament the Earis family qualified to represent Saskatchewan at the championship tournament at Lake of the Woods.

Congratulations to the Earis family for this fine accomplishment.  Greg is a member and director of the Saskatchewan Walleye Trail.                Dave D

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     Winning the Sask. AYA Tournament with my son and daughter was one of my proudest accomplishments. I have had the opportunity to go up on the stage at various fishing tournaments, but nothing can compare to the feeling that came over me when I won the Fort Qu’appelle AYA with my kids.

     My family and I recently traveled to the AYA National Championship which was held on beautiful Lake of the Woods in Kenora, Ont. on August 20,2005.

We left Regina three days before the tournament. We wanted to do a bit of sightseeing and some pre-fishing. I had never fished on this lake before and I had heard about the many channels and islands on this lake, getting lost, not knowing where to fish, navigating the up down streams with buoys, and the rock piles were some of my concerns.

     Before leaving for our trip Bob Schlosser and Toni Hadi, who have previously fished on this lake, provided me with some maps and some great fishing spots. All we needed to do was get on the lake and find our way through the mazes of islands, and channels. I’m sure glad that I had my GPS. We wouldn’t have found our way back without it.

      We ventured out on the lake early Thursday morning. With two coolers of bait and a large cooler of food and drinks for the kids, we headed south towards Devil’s Gap. We traveled through the buoys following the signs, slow, one of them said , but slow we didn’t go. We had to follow the local traffic who travel in and out of there like we do in open waters. We followed two boats further south and they went on to their destinations. We made a few turns and all seemed fine until my wife looked at me with that confused look. She held the map in the air an said, “I think we are lost“. We slowly made our way towards this boat and we asked the angler if he could help us get to the north side of Hay Island. We weren’t too far from where we wanted to go, just a few more islands, turns, and direction buoys. We found our way into Big Stone Bay. What an awesome place. We started fishing. Within the first hour we had all caught some walleyes, pikes, and small mouth bass. My wife spotted a large white rock pile. “Let’s go check it out. Those birds seem to know where the big ones are“  she said. We went around the rock pile and I hooked into a 9.14 lb walleye and on the second drift I hooked and let my daughter land a 6.94 lb walleye . If this was tournament day we would have came with about 18+ lbs on a 3 fish limit. We came off the water at about 6:00, everyone was smiling. When we went for supper the conversation was centered around the day’s events. My son Travis said this had been the best day of fishing he had ever had.

     Friday morning, we woke up to a continuous down pour. Team Alberta left at 8:30 and they returned at about 1:00, it was still raining, “NO Fun” he said. They looked like drowned rats. I could not resist, just waiting, it wasn’t like me. At about 2:00 my son and I went out. The rain was down to a light drizzle. We stayed on the water for a couple of hours. We had to make it back for the rules meeting, so we didn’t venture too far. We went back to our spots. We caught a dozen small mouth bass, no walleyes, “OH NO”.  

     We met the other teams and Lund Canada staff Friday evening, they were awesome. We had supper and discussed the tournament rules. I also met my lead film boat guide, Albert Trudeau, a pro-angler who loves the sport. I told him about my two days of pre-fishing. He said that we are in the right area, but we might have to bounce the area to find those big ones again.

     It’s Saturday, Tournament day, we are at the boat launch at 6:30. We drive our boats to the Best Western Hotel, dock and we all go for a wonderful breakfast. At 8:00 the water is a little rough, and there is a light drizzle. The boats are loaded up and the main camera boat leads us out of the main docking area. After a few drive-bys, takes and retakes, the organizers finally give us the go ahead to proceed to our fishing spots. I led my camera boat to Big Stone Bay to my spot by the white rock pile. Because the wind was putting a 2 to 3 foot chop, I was sure glad I was fishing my spot with a tiller. After weeding through some small walleyes and bass, Albert, our guide running the camera boat, landed a nice 4 to5 lb. Eye, (I think we were on the right spot). We marked a lot of big hooks, but I could not make them go. We caught 18 small walleyes for a 3 fish limit of just under 5 lbs. Albert and his kids would have weighed 11 lbs, enough to win.

     The weigh-in was like a P.W.T. tournament in the states. We brought in our fish in bags. Each team came on the stage and was praised for their efforts. A crowd cheered each team on as they went up. The winning team, Team Manitoba who were last to weigh-in, marked a 10.02 lb total weight. They won a trip to Plummer’s Arctic Lodge in the N.W.T. worth $20,000 dollars U.S.

     The master of ceremonies thanked everyone for coming and we all had supper under the big yellow tent. Even though we did not win I was so proud of my kids and having the opportunity to represent Saskatchewan at the nationals.

     Our plan was to go down the road after the ceremonies. Albert Trudeau asked us if we wanted to go large mouth bass fishing with him and his sons, Stephane and Patrick, in the morning. Of course we said yes. Andrew Klopak, the president of Lund Canada, and his son Corey also came along in their boat. They asked my son to join them in their boat. What a trip, but that is another story.

     The AYA was and always will be a class act locally and nationally. Hopefully my family has a chance to do it again.