Rules

2021 Michigan Walleye Tour

1. OFFICIAL RULES & SAFETY REGULATIONS:

The following rules and safety regulations will remain unchanged, except for special tournaments. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules shall be left exclusively to Tournament Officials. In the event of a rule violation, officials may impose such sanctions, as deemed appropriate including, without limitations, fines, forfeiture of prizes, disqualification and prohibition from participation in future events. Official’s decisions shall be final in all matters and will not be subject to appeal.

 2. PARTICIPATION & ELIGIBILITY:

It is the contestant’s responsibility for knowing and abiding by all MWT, State, and local regulations for the waters to be fished.  Any change, exception, or addition to these rules, determined by the Tournament Committee, will be covered at the pre-tournament rules meeting. All Michigan Walleye Tour (MWT) participants must be active members in good standing of The Saginaw Bay Walleye Club, (SBWC) or join/pay for a membership at time of registration for your first event entry of the year.

Memberships expire on 3/31 each year. Memberships are non-transferable and non-refundable. Any person under the age of 18 must have the signature of a parent or legal guardian on the liability release. No persons under age 12 may participate without explicit MWT approval. Participants may enter up to three anglers per team. (no "Partner TBD" or unknown partner names on entry forms). Eligible partner changes may be allowed up until the close of on- site registration/check in. Each team must complete, sign, and submit an official entry form with payment by the due dates.

During any “official” tournament day, no contestant or team may use a boat unless they have documented proof of boating liability coverage in reasonable amounts on that particular boat. Proof of insurance must be with the boat at all times. Random checks may be conducted at events.

We reserve the right to refuse participation, (including championship/special events), to anyone for any reason including, but not limited to, suspension, disqualification or banning from this or other events, criminal behavior, violation of game laws, or any unsportsmanlike behavior that would reflect dishonorably on our sport.

3. ENTRY:

When registration opens, you may enter as many events as you wish. Entry fee is $500 per team per event unless otherwise noted. Each event entry deadline is close of business on MONDAY prior to the event.

Online entry registration at michiganwalleyetour.com is the best way. membership can be paid online or mailed to MWT. Normally entries will be accepted based on a first-come, first-served basis until the tournament is deemed full (based on when received at MWT office. Once you have entered the tournament you will receive an email confirmation. It is your responsibility to confirm receipt of entry.

All entries must submit payment in full for all tournament fees at the time of application. No refunds will be made, nor will credit be extended for any cancellations. Disqualification from a tournament for any reason will result in forfeiture of entry fee. No refunds or credits are extended to teams that choose not to fish due to inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances.

Money order, check or credit cards are acceptable payments (VISA, MasterCard, Discover). A $25processing fee will be applied to all declined credit cards or NSF checks. Mailing address is MWT.

 

4. PRE-TOURNAMENT PRACTICE, ONSITE REGISTRATION & COMPETITION:

There are no restrictions on how early a team can pre-fish, if state law is followed. There are no “official” practice days or off-limits days unless otherwise announced in advance for a specific\special event. On the day of onsite registration and mandatory rules meeting, you must be off the water by 3:00 p.m. In case of emergency please contact the MWT tournament hot line at 989-324-7111 At least one (1) member of each team must sign in and register in person with official MWT staff at the appointed time/place prescribed for onsite registration in the event fact sheet and must be present for the mandatory rules and safety meeting held prior to each event. In the case of an emergency or unforeseen situation, arrangements must be made with a tournament official if you are unable to attend. (Please call the tournament hot line.)

There can be polygraph\truth verification tests given at random throughout the year. All competitors are subject to official inspection, or truth verification testing during and\or after the tournament and agree to facilitate, participate in those inspections at any time requested and abide by their outcome. 

No tournament participant may leave their boat for ANY REASON.  Participants MUST stay in their boat, on tournament waters, at all times, beginning with when their boat is launched in the morning until it has been safely moored at the weigh-in location.  Getting fuel, bait, food, or any other activity during tournament hours, whether they leave the boat or not, is prohibited and cause for immediate disqualification from the event.

5. SAFETY & TOURNAMENT INTEGRITY:

Safe boating conduct must be observed by all participants. Participants must always abide by all local navigation laws and avoid restricted areas. All participants are required and agree to wear a Coast Guard-approved type III or greater CHEST TYPE personal floatation device anytime the boat is above trolling speed. Officials may restrict tournament waters and reserve the right to delay or cancel the start of an official tournament day because of bad weather or other factors that would endanger the safety of the competitors.

In the event of lightning, severe weather or any unsafe condition, participants should remove themselves from competition and seek safety or shelter until it is safe to continue. Participants may not leave their boats during tournament hours except in case of emergency. Each boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer if required. The horsepower rating of the outboard engine must not exceed the rating specified on this plate. Changing or altering standard factory motor parts to increase horsepower over factory rated horsepower is forbidden. All MWT qualifying tournaments will have published days of competition, unless delayed, or shortened due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. Any boundaries or restricted zones will be announced at the rules meeting and may be further altered if needed, blow days may or may not be added to events at the discretion of officials.

6. SPORTSMANSHIP:

Participants will conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike, courteous, safe, and ethical manner always maintaining professional demeanor in public and in communication with officials. Any unfavorable conduct, speech, or action by a participant in our efforts to promote sportsmanship, clean waters and conservation can be grounds for disqualification. Each competitor is expected to participate in the marshaling of the field to help maintain the highest integrity of competition. Use of alcohol or drugs (other than those purchased over the counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by any competitor during the event or use of alcohol until after you have weighed in will not be tolerated and shall be cause for disqualification.  Use of marijuana, in any form may NOT be used in any manner during tournament hours or at any tournament event, including, but not limited to, the rules meeting, tournament days, weigh in area or any other area deemed to be a tournament venue.  Any incidents observed during tournament hours should be reported to tournament officials for investigation. Any violation of these basic sporting principles may be deemed cause for disqualification.

 

7. TACKLE & EQUIPMENT:

Participants must possess all necessary fishing licenses and commit to following all regulations. All state rules regarding fishing will be observed unless more stringent regulations are specified at the rules meeting. MWT will follow state/local laws or lake limit’s whichever is more restrictive on the number, limit and size of rods that can be used. HOWEVER, NO sliders, clips, or other removable or detachable “type” lines are permitted to be used. All lines and or baits must originate from and be permanently tied to the one main line coming off of one (1) main reel, per each rod. No lines may be unfastened or able to be unfastened, unclipped, or unsnapped from the one main line to facilitate landing a fish or aiding in landing a fish, all lines must be permanently tied or attached to the one main line coming off of one (1) main reel, per rod. The only exceptions herein are traditional walleye hand line set ups which are allowed. The intent of this rule is clearly to limit 

 

detachable lines, sliders, “curtain rings” or other such similar devices, which may result in too many lines in the water at one time per state laws. If ANY set up is in question, the “more restrictive” interpretation will always be used. Any questionable homemade multiline sets up should be reviewed by tournament officials prior to use and the most restrictive interpretation will always be used. Only fish caught on hook and line in a normal and usual manner will be accepted. Live bait and artificial lures are permissible in MWT events, except for any special laws or tournaments announced and defined by MWT

 

8. BOAT, MOTOR & SAFETY EQUIPMENT:

All tournament boats are required to have in their possession all Coast Guard-required safety equipment, including but not limited to approved type III or greater CHEST TYPE personal flotation devices, a type IV throw cushion, fire extinguisher, distress horn/flag/whistle, and display a boat marker (supplied by MWT). Great Lakes, Canadian border and some other waters tournaments require flares. Tournament boats are required to have a functioning bilge pump.

All boats are required to have an emergency kill switch that IMMEDIATELY kills the main engine when it is pulled.  This kill switch MUST be attached to the driver anytime the main engine is in operation.  In addition, a fully functional marine band radio, fixed mount or portable, is encouraged for safety purposes but not mandatory.  

 

The use of binoculars or any other “sight enhancing” device is prohibited.  NO alcoholic beverages, or illegal substances (including medical cannabis) may be consumed, or in the possession of contestants until they have weighed their daily catch, retrieved their official weigh slip, and returned their boat to the trailer or boat slip.

All tournament boats must be cleaned of all harmful exotic aquatic species CLEAN, DRAINED and DRY prior to entering the water and upon departure from infected waters.

 

9. BOAT IDENTIFICATION:

Each boat MUST be given, prior to each day's start, a livewell and SAFETY INSPECTION check by a tournament official, also a boat marker, which MUST remain in or on the boat and turned in during check-in at the end of each day. MWT reserves sole discretion to assign boat numbers in any manner. Boat numbers will be placed on your outboard during the tournament.

 

10. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS/REGULATIONS:

Tournament waters will be established by the Tournament Committee for each event and will be announced at the rules meeting.  Each competitor must obtain this information from the MWT. Fishing on tournament waters is permitted within the boundaries defined by the tournament director that are available to the public and accessible by boat except: Any water within these tournament boundaries posted "off- limits or no fishing" by local, state, or federal officials will be OFF LIMITS, the removal of official local, state or federal property or barricades at any time to make an area more accessible by boat is strictly prohibited. Also, any live fish release area established by the Tournament Director will be off-limits and will be announced at the Tournament Briefing. Only that water open to ALL public fishing will be considered tournament waters. Any water closed to public fishing will be closed to tournament contestants. All angling must be done from the boat. On tournament days, participants are prohibited from fishing except during designated tournament fishing hours. Participants must stay off tournament waters before and after tournament hours except to navigate to and from the check-in site and launch facilities. If repairs and/or a test run are needed an MWT staff member or an appointed “official” or sponsor service technician should ride along.

All State, Provincial and/or local fishing regulations must be observed.  All anglers must possess valid fishing license(s) for the waters being fished.  Tournament restrictions, size limits, creel limits and other information will be announced at the rules meeting.  The Tournament Committee holds the right to announce and enforce additional and/or more stringent regulations for any event.  These changes will be announced at the rules meeting.

Only walleye, sauger, and saugeye caught on hook and line in a conventional sporting manner will be accepted for weigh-in.  Tournament limits are five (5) fish and a minimum 15” size limit.  Teams are limited to using six (6) lures on up to six (6) rods.  Both live bait and artificial lures will be legal.

 

11. CONTESTANTS MUST REMAIN TOGETHER/BREAKDOWN INSTRUCTIONS:

Contestants must not depart the boat to land fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters. Boats must remain in tournament waters during tournament days. Contestants must leave and return to official checkpoint by boat. Both competitors must always remain in boat except in case of dire emergency if they wish their fish to be counted for the day. In case of break down or emergency (this does not include running out of fuel), in which a team is not able to travel back to the weigh-in site under power, anglers should contact tournament officials. The only legal way to return for weigh-in without your own power is: 1.) By being towed in by a boat operated by another competitor in the event or a designated rescue boat. 2.) By one team member transferring their clearly marked fish to another boat as described above and proceeding directly to the weigh in. 3.) If a tournament official cannot be reached or an official tournament boat is not able to assist, the team with mechanical problems may seek assistance from a fellow competitor or any vessel on the water. This may not be done by phone or transmission on the radio to link up with a particular team. Physically flagging down another boat would be allowed or a radio call that was seeking help from any boat in proximity to return to the weigh-in site. No one in that rescue boat is allowed to fish until after proceeding directly to weigh in site and all parties communicate directly with tournament officials. Arriving late, because of offering or needing assistance, even with the aid of a rescue boat, as the towed boat or the towing boat is still late, and all late penalties will apply. No exceptions.

Both parties (the team with boat trouble and team lending assistance) should file separate incident reports with tournament officials. Any Team involved in a break down “Ride In” that involves transferring fish in which either boat/team wins/places high in that event, in the Tournament Officials sole opinion, WILL BE POLYGRAPHED.

 

12. OFFICIAL SAFETY CHECK POINT:

There shall be an official safety checkpoint for checkout in the morning/ check-in during the afternoon and this point shall be designated at the tournament briefing. At the time of checkout/check-in all competitors and their boats shall be in full compliance with all rules set forth by officials. At check-in, all boats shall identify themselves to the check in official and proceed immediately to the designated weigh-in area. YOU MUST CHECK-IN EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANY FISH. Failure to check in at the end of the day could result in a $50 fine or prohibition from future participation. It is each angler’s responsibility to know what time they are due in.

 

13. LATE PENALTY:

Competitors who are not at the official safety check in point as described above at the appointed return time shall lose all credit for that day’s catch. There shall be no excuse for tardiness and in no case will a competitor be allowed to make up "lost time”. Return time shall be defined as off- plane and Pass by the official Timekeepers.

 

14. SCORING:

Scoring shall be determined by the pound\ounce weight of each team's catch during the tournament.

Each team's total weight will determine the final standings. Walleye, sauger and saugeye will be weighed where permissible by state law. Length and bag limits of eligible fish will be set and announced prior to the start of each event. All fish must be kept in an aerated livewell or cooler. Use of stringers, wire fish baskets, boat bags etc. is prohibited.  Culling of dead fish is prohibited. Any fish mauled, frozen, on a stringer, injected with water or other material to add weight, showing white gills, soft flesh, sunken eyes, or gills that will not bleed may result in disqualification from the tournament and/or MWT at the discretion of the MWT Director and the Tournament Committee. An external snap weight, the purpose of which is to keep fish alive/upright in the livewell, should be removed before arriving at the bump tank. Failure to do so will result in a 1-pound penalty for that day.

Teams may present up to five (5) fish of 15” minimum length to the bump tanks (number of fish and minimum length and/or other restrictions may be in force and will be announced at the rules meeting). Any fish presented for weigh-in which fails to measure the official length limits shall accrue penalties at the rate of one pound for each nonlegal fish and the short fish thrown out. Once a competitor’s catch has been presented to tournament officials, that team may not alter nor add to their catch or return to their boat until their catch has been weighed and recorded.

If a team brings more than five (5) fish to the bump tank, officials shall cull, where legal, starting with the largest fish first, etc., down to the stated limit.  Teams will be allowed to weigh the five (5) fish presented and inspected at the bump tank and may select one “big fish” from those five (5) to be weighed for the Big Fish Pot prizes.  A team member must choose the fish to be weighed for the big fish prize.

Once fish are weighed, there will be NO re-weighing of fish. The weight on the scales stands.

The official ruler will be "The Judge." Fish will be measured by a tournament official with fish's mouth closed and longest straight line. Only fish which measure the official length(s) shall be weighed.

15. PROTESTS & TRUTH VERIFICATION TESTS:

Additionally, any witness has a right to protest a team. An official written protest with $100 fee must be made with a tournament official within 30 minutes of the last flight check in time OR within 10 minutes of the last fish being weighed that day, whichever is latest. The fee will be returned if the protest is found valid. Tournament officials, in their sole discretion, reserve the right to consider rule violations reported or not and discovered at any time for any reason, by any persons, before or after a tournament has ended and assess penalties for any past or future event including denying entry to compete. Following interviews with concerned parties or truth verification testing if required, a final ruling will be made. In the event rules infractions occurred a penalty of daily and/or tournament weight may be applied, and cash, prizes and awards must be returned if so requested. If a protest is found valid, the disqualified party must pay all investigative costs.

Each participant agrees with submission of their entry form and by their participation in the event, to submit to a polygraph or voice stress analyzer test or Truth Verification Test, should they be asked to for any reason and to abide by its conclusion. Tournament officials shall have sole discretion to select scope, when, where and who shall administer such an exam. Participant will make themselves available at their own expense for testing as scheduled. In the official’s sole discretion, refusal to submit to exam or failure to pass a truth verification exam will result in disqualification.

 

16. TIES & POINTS:

If a tie occurs at an event, Tie breakers are as follows. 1,) Highest number of legal fish weighed, 2.) Heaviest single days catch, 3.) Second heaviest single days catch, 4.) Means selected by tournament officials. However, no cash awards will be given to any zero weights. For a De in the Team of the Year standings, MWT point standings or other qualifying positions 1.) Most number of legal fish weighed in counted scores, 2.) Prior event yearly points standings, 3.) Next closest previous yearly standings in which there is no De.

As defined below, in most cases MWT teams will receive 2 sets of points added together: 1.) Performance-based points 2.) Weighted points based on field size. No Points will be awarded to teams that do not weigh fish: Performance points: 150 points for first place, 149 for second place, etc. with each place reducing by one point down to the last team to weigh-in a fish.

A total of 25 teams will be selected as State Championship Qualifiers on the following criteria:

1) Team of the Year.

2) Winners of a qualifier (up to 4 teams total)

3) Next 20 teams in order of highest point totals (teams must have fished all 4 qualifying events

4) Additional boats may be added at the tournament committee’s discretion.

17. TOURNAMENT “OFFICIALS”:

An event official or officially approved media person may approach or board your boat at any time for any reason and at any time during the event, refusal to allow an approved official on board or to impede their work may result in disqualification.

 

18. SPIRIT OF THE RULE:

All rules have “loopholes”.  It is the intention of the Tournament Committee and the Tournament Director to provide a tournament ran with the utmost of integrity and sportsmanship. All questions or problems are to be referred to the Tournament Director and the Tournament Committee.  They have sole jurisdiction in determining the application of the rules.  The Committee will be identified at the rules meeting at each event.  Any disqualification will result in the loss of all Championship points for the event.  Disqualifications do NOT entitle the team and/or angler to a refund. In the event of an emergency or committee decision that only one angler is in a boat, the tour committee will designate a spotter for the boat. This is only for safety reasons and the spotter is not able to fish or help in any fishing activity. The tournament angler will be limited to three (3) rods.

19. FISH DISCOVERED IN LIVEWELL DURING INSPECTION:

If a fish is found in a boat during inspection

and the boat has yet to be launched, the fish MUST be removed from the boat immediately and the boat re- inspected. If the boat passes, it can be launched under the immediate supervision of a Tournament Committee member or another official appointed by the Tournament Director or other Tournament Committee member.

 

20. PROCEDURE FOR RULES VIOLATIONS BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OF COMMITTEE:

 

a. Tournament Director and Committee members are informed of the infraction.

 

b. A meeting of the Tournament Committee is held as soon as possible (may be AFTER completion days weigh-in).

 

c. Details of the infraction are presented and discussed.

 

d. Tournament Committee votes and makes a recommendation to the Tournament Director.

 

e. Tournament Director makes and enforces final decision.

 

f. It is the discretion of the Tournament Director whether to follow the above listed procedure or require the team reporting the infraction to file an official protest per the MWT rules.

 

21. VERIFICATION OF SCALES:

Prior to each day’s weigh in the following will be performed by a member of the Tournament Committee AND witnessed by a second member of the Tournament Committee or designee.  The following process will also be video recorded and kept in the possession of the MWT Tournament Committee.

a. Weigh-in table will be verified for level in all directions.  Adjustments made to have a level weigh in table.

 

b. Scale accuracy will be verified with an object of known weight and any needed scale adjustments made.

 

c. EACH official weigh-in basket (total of 8) will be verified on the scale to record a “tare” weight of Zero (0) lbs./oz.

 

d. ONE of the official weigh-in baskets will be designated as “Big Fish” basket for that tournament day.