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By CHARLIE DENISON

Reporter

For the past 17 years, Ken-

nie Willliams has made a

name for himself as a walleye

fisherman, winning and plac-

ing in all kinds of tourna-

ments around the state, most

notably the Canyon Ferry

Walleye Festival.

“Winning at Canyon Ferry

with Travis Scott in 2015 was a

huge honor,” he said. “We

worked hard for it.”

For Williams and Scott, it

was ‘fourth time's the charm,’

as they’d taken second place

three years in a row. But, in

2015, that changed, as their

hard work paid off.

“We had to stay focused,

put in the time and not give

up,” Williams said. “We kept

at it until the bell rang at the

end of the day. If we quit early

or took a break, we’d be one

chance away from not taking

the check home.”

How does he do it and

what are the secrets to his

success? The News-Argus

asked Williams these ques-

tions during an interview ear-

lier this month:

Getting started

Having grown up trout

fishing, Williams wanted a

new challenge. In 2000, he

tried out walleye fishing, and

it quickly became his new

passion.

Jig fishing particularly

interested him.

“It takes a lot of time and

effort to become good at it,”

he said, “but, when you get

the hang of it, it’s kind of like

being a kid again.”

Jig fishing is more interac-

tive, he said, which makes it

more fun.

“I don’t like to just set a

rod and watch it.”

Good gear helps put

more fish in the boat

“Get yourself a decent rod,

reel and fireline,” Williams

said. “This is especially the

case if you’re interested in jig

fishing.”

Williams also encourages

people interested in jig fishing

to “get themselves a few jigs

and start practicing.”

“Learn how to stay in con-

tact with your jig,” he said.

“Always be able to feel it hit

the bottom and always be able

to detect anything from a fish

to weeds on your bait or loss

of bait.”

But there is really no sub-

stitute for having the right

equipment, whether it’s the

right rod or the right accesso-

ries on a boat.

“Good electronics with GPS

are absolutely essential for

your boat,” Williams said. “It

doesn’t matter how big your

boat is, but you have to have a

fish finder and a good electric

trolling motor.”

Small reservoirs are good

places to get started

Williams

recommends

starting “small.”

“I recommend starting on

a body of water such as Tiber,

Nelson or Fresno,” he said.

“They have great fishing and

they won’t overwhelm you.”

He also recommends get-

ting involved with the local

Walleyes Unlimited group.

“I went to a club meeting

when I first started and found

it helpful right away,” he said.

“People even volunteered to

take me out and show me the

ropes.”

A lot of the people Wil-

liams regularly fishes with are

friends he met through Wall-

eyes Unlimited, including

Scott.

“There is great camarade-

rie involved with the group,”

he said.

Many involved with WU

have the same drive for fish-

ing Williams does, and this is

particularly the case when it

comes to the partnership he’s

formed with Scott.

“We started fishing for fun

and then got hooked into

tournaments,” Williams said.

On a Roll

Through the years, Wil-

liams and Scott have done

quite well, scoring three first-

place finishes, six second-

place finishes, six top-five fin-

ishes and 24 top-ten finishes.

They are also four-time Mon-

tana Circuit Anglers of the

Year, six-time Team of the

Year winners, six-time Cabe-

la’s National Team Champion-

ship Qualifiers and two-time

East Fork Perch Derby Cham-

pions.

The list goes on, and it will

continue to, as Williams and

Scott have no desire to slow

down.

Hopefully they will contin-

ue to get lucky. It’s not easy

work, but they’re up for it.

“I’d say at times the hard-

est part is maintaining a posi-

tive attitude when things

aren’t going right,” Williams

said. ”When it’s not meant to

be, it’s not meant to be. Those

days get really frustrating. It’s

hard to come to terms with

it.”

But, then again, that’s why

they call it “fishing” and not

“catching.”

“That’s the lure of walleye

fishing,” Williams said. “Noth-

ing is guaranteed.”

page 2

saturday, april 1, 2017

Central Montana Fishing Guide

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Steve Fraser

Kennie Williams shares walleye fishing tips

Kennie Williams has enjoyed phenomenal success on

the state walleye fishing circuit. He said the right gear

and a good attitude are keys to catching more fish. He

also encourages people to join the local Walleyes

Unlimited chapter.

Courtesy Photo