Pierre pair sweeps MWC tourney

Joe Mellenbruch Journal Reporter
Pierre,S.D. natives Paul Steffen (left) and Travor Diegel (right) hold up their trophies after winning the 2013 MWC Devils Lake fishing tournament. The pair will now travel to Cass Lake for their next event, a tournament that they’ve won each of the past two seasons.

Fishermen from 11 different states traveled to Devils Lake for this past weekend’s Masters Walleye Circuit tournament, but one group from Pierre S.D. stole the show.

Travor Diegel and Paul Steffen won the tournament by a landslide after weighing in a two-day total of 45 pounds, 10 ounces, a full 11 pounds more than their nearest competitor.

This isn’t the first tournament that these two have won together, but according to them, they had never won in such dominating fashion before last weekend.

“I don’t think we’ve had a better tournament, period,” Diegel said. “It was all working for us in the morning hours.”

Diegel and Steffen brought 24 pounds, 13 ounces to the table on day one, which gave them over a seven pound lead heading into the tournament’s final day.

While they were happy to have the lead on Saturday morning, it certainly didn’t alleviate the stress that they were feeling. In fact, being the day-one leaders made things even more tense.

“It was almost more stressful out there this morning, because we had a lead, and we didn’t want to blow it,” Steffen said after receiving his first-place trophy. “We knew there would be some good bags to weigh in today, and there certainly were.”

Diegel and Steffen hope to further boost their MWC championship credentials at Cass Lake in September, a tournament that they’ve won in each of the past two seasons.

While this S.D. duo ran away with the spoils, the local team of Al Freidig and Clinton Devier brought home the second place check.

Freidig and Devier found themselves in eighth position after day one with 13 pounds, 13 ounces, but what shot them up the leaderboard was their 20 pound, 13 ounce performance the following day. That total was the tied for the third highest day-two submission and was one of six 20-pound single-day weigh-ins for the entire tournament.

These two local anglers will also be vying for a position in the MWC World Walleye Championships as they head to Cass Lake.

As for the award for biggest fish, a nine-pounder was what claimed the grand prize.

Don Denning, a Fargo native partnered up with Chad Maloy, was the man lucky enough to reel the fish in. Weighing in at nine pounds even, it accounted for over half of his team’s day-two total and catapulted Denning and Maloy into a top-five finish.

But according to Denning, that isn’t the biggest walleye he’s ever hauled in the boat.

“Oh no,” he said with a smile when asked if the fish was a personal record. “I’ve caught bigger.”

Next fall, the world championships will be held right here in Devils Lake.