Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival closes another year of competition

Sunday marks the end to this years 19th annual Walleye festival in Townsend, Montana.  Traveling more than 200 miles from Fort Peck Lake to Canyon Ferry Lake, fisherman dedicate these two months concluding spring to rake in the winnings by reeling in the largest (and sometimes smallest) catch for the end of spring circuits that run back to back through the weekends of May and June.

The community really comes together to support this long standing event.  “There’s a lot of information on the Montana Walleye Circuit website about this tournament and all the other tournaments throughout the state.  From Fort Peck, Tiber Lake, Fresno Lake, and then here.  We’re the last tournament to decide who’s the angler of the year,” said Director for Canyon Ferry, Matt Zeadow.

The zebra muscle watch and boat washing stations haven’t scared these true contenders away.  More than 135 boats participated as team entry’s.  Winners for these two-person teams completed the years final two-day charge as follows:

$10,000 go to Colby Tognetti and Kyle Vine with 37.5 lbs.

$4,500 go to Patrick Evanston and Justin Krieger with 34.34 lbs.

$2,500 go to Wayne Wilcox and Owen Wilcox with 28.83 lbs.

See official scores and winners post at


Categories were so graciously explained to me by the director as we watched contestants bring in their catches for weighing:

“We give away many many prizes: the Wee Walleye.  So, the smallest walleye that is brought in [sponsored by Kip Meyer from Meyer Electric, they’re the ones that sponsored that]. Whomever brings in the smallest walleye today gets $100.  And then the Large Walleye was V-Dubs in town here: they did a sponsorship for that for $250 to whomever brings in the largest northern.


We do Big Walleye, where all the participants put in $250 a day for that, and the $10 per day goes towards the largest walleye.  The largest today will be over $1,000 for today and tomorrow.  We give away day money and hourly money.  The local flooring (Townsend Flooring) in Townsend helped to make that possible.  There’s a lot of money coming through to support this event.  Estimate of mid to high $30,000 range,” explained Matt.

Winnings ranged from $200 to $10,000 for most pounds caught.

This event is used to raise money to fund and support Canyon Ferry Lake.  More than 40 volunteers came out to help with the event as the year long preparations came to fruition.

Next year, there are hopes that a new face will rise up to the challenge for Canyon Ferry’s Director position.  It takes a lot of work and dedication, of which much of the community already proudly contributes in the many functions this town upholds year round.  Matt is looking forward to establishing his predecessor.  You can find information for the many helping hands for these events on the Montana Walleyes Unlimited website at

Walleye Unlimited is a nonprofit organization.  Sponsorships and support of the event is welcome and greatly appreciated.  Contact the organization at (406) 781-2799 for more information on how to contribute to future events.  Entry forms for 2018 contestants will be made available at  Renew your membership for the coming year.  Click on the FP Circuit tab to SIGN UP NOW for the Governors Cup and the Hell Creek Tournament at the Fort Peck Reservoir.  Other tournaments run through the end of August.


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