It's called the Tough Guy Tournament, not for its duration, but for its "iffy" time of year weather-wise.

It still could feel more like winter than spring. The winds could be wicked. There might even still be ice on the water, enough so that the tournament could be delayed, as it was in 2023.

But, when conditions are favorable, and some wily, crafty anglers hit the water, great things can happen. And that was the case this past Saturday, April 27, when the winning two-person team turned in the weight of their five (yes, only five) biggest fish, and exceeded the weight predicted by even the most optimistic of tournament veterans.

Hell Creek Marina was the headquarters for the annual Tough Guy Walleye Tournament held on Fort Peck Lake. It's the lake's kickoff walleye event, leading up to the huge Governor's Cup Walleye Tournament, scheduled for July 11-13 this year. And while the Tough Guy typically draws only about one-fourth of the competitors as the Governor's Cup, it's an intense competition with a lot to get done in just 7 hours' time.

Montana walley fishing reports
Image courtesy of

This year's winning weight, turned in by the team of Bob Magnuson and Jerome Papinau, tipped the scale at a whopping 60.35 pounds, outdistancing the second-place finishers by a little over two pounds. The top 9 teams all submitted weights of over 46 pounds for their five walleye entries!


Fish #1: 12.38

Fish #2: 11.42

Fish #3: 13.69

Fish #4: 11.74

Fish #5: 11.12

And of course, you'll get the usual answers from tight-lipped anglers who plan to compete in future events:

Where did a ya catch 'em?  IN THE WATER.


Montana walley fishing reports
Image courtesy of Hell Creek Marina

That's okay. It is still all in good fun and was a spectacular day for some walleye-loving anglers!

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