A Walleye Weekend to Remember

From the fantastic weather and record turnout to the tagged walleye caught, the 35th Annual Walleye Weekend was one to remember. The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce totaled an astounding 2,222 entries—up from 1,784 entries in 2016. Individuals from 14 different states got to experience the Lakes area this weekend. Anglers from Nevada to Ohio and even Florida participated in the annual fishing tournament.

One of those anglers particularly enjoyed Walleye Weekend this year. Josh Brenner of Ames, IA was fishing off Templar on Big Spirit Lake when he caught one of the 10 tagged walleye. He caught this $35,000 fish at 5:30 AM on Saturday—within the first 6 hours of the tournament. Brenner brought the specially tagged walleye to Kabele’s Trading Post where the Chamber then confirmed the DNR’s floy tag as one of the 10 released.

Congratulations to Josh Brenner for catching the tagged walleye, as well as the following winners for 1st-3rd place in the heaviest fish categories.

Heaviest Stringer of (3) Walleye…

1st place: Brennen Carpenter (4.99) weighed in at Kabele’s

2nd place: Dennis Weerheim (4.92) weighed in at Kabele’s

3rd place: Adam Hample (4.88) weighed in at Kabele’s

Heaviest Stringer of (5) Panfish…

1st place: Rafe Blau (6.37) weighed in at Kabele’s

2nd place: Jon Gallagher (5.10) weighed in at Oh Shucks

3rd place: Dean Werdert (5.06) weighed in at Kabele’s

Heaviest Stringer of (10) Bullhead…

1st place: Kim Swanson (17.31) weighed in at Kabele’s

2nd place: Reed Andrews (15.67) weighed in at Kabele’s

3rd place: Darrel Hollander (13.73) weighed in at Kabele’s

Heaviest Northern Pike…

1st place: Dennis Puhrman (9.99) weighed in at Kabele’s

2nd place: Josh Erdman (9.70) weighed in at Oh Shucks

3rd place: Shannon Green (8.86) weighed in at Stan’s

We would like to congratulate and thank everyone who was involved in making this year such a success.

Thank you to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Dickinson County Cattlemen, Fareway, Hy-Vee, and the Dickinson County Fairgrounds for contributing to another successful year for Walleye Weekend.

Thank you to all bait shops and weigh in stations that we are fortunate enough to work with including Fisherman’s Factory Outlet, Kabele’s Trading Post, Oh Shuck’s Bait and Tackle, Pioneer Beach Resort, and Stan’s Bait and Tackle.

Thank you to the Chamber members who sponsored this year’s t-shirts. These businesses include Buck’s, Fisherman’s Factory Outlet, Grapetree, Great Lakes Marine Services, IGL Teleconnect, Jiffy, Kuhlman, Mediacom, Northwest Bank, Snook’s, Stammer Financial Group, Tri-State Litho, and Walker Insurance.

Thank you to Pure Fishing for generously donating over $3,500 in prizes for our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in the heaviest fish categories.

Thank you as well to the Chamber members who donated a variety of items to the prize packages given out at the Awards Luncheon. These businesses include Boulders Inn & Suites, C & N Sales, Custom Creations, Godfather’s, Jiffy, Kabele’s Trading Post, Maritime Museum Gift Shop, MHR Insurance, Parks Marina, Polaris, Round Lake Vineyards & Winery, Shucks Lures, and Walmart.

Thank you to the dedicated Iowa Navy Commodores and other volunteers for their time spent registering participants late into the night on Friday and additional help at the Awards Luncheon as well.

Thank you to ALL of you for taking part in the 35th Annual Walleye Weekend. Due to the efforts of everyone involved, the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce will be making a donation of $2,500 to four local Protective Associations—totaling $10,000. These Protective Associations include the Center Lake Protection and Improvement Association, East Lake Okoboji Improvement Association, Okoboji Protective Association, and Spirit Lake Protective Association. In doing so, we wish to help keep the Iowa Great Lakes a great place to fish for generations to come.

To find out more about Walleye Weekend and this year’s results, “LIKE” us on Facebook here.

Iowa Navy Commodores

Are you looking for a way to meet new people and get more involved in your community? Become an Iowa Navy Commodore! The Commodores are ambassadors for area business and organizations that assist with everything from Chamber events and Business After 5’s to Ribbon Cuttings that welcome new businesses and Chamber members. If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved, email kara@okobojichamber.com today!

J1 Visa Students

Thank you to Tina Frank, Jessica Hilnes, and Henry Scott for taking the time to host an informational meeting regarding J1 Visa students this Spring. It was great to see a room full of community members who are eager to get involved in an International Student Outreach Program, or ISOP. Students from around the world come to make Okoboji their home for the summer, and we hope to make their experience as enriching as possible. Stay tuned for updates as the newly formed Okoboji ISOP collects information from existing groups across the US to bring back to our own community!


If you are looking to get more information about the Okoboji ISOP, visit the following:

Click here to view more information about the Okoboji ISOP.

Click here to view more information on the Department Of State.

Click here to Check out the site students will be using.

Click here to join the Facebook group students will be using.