Outdoor Life Online Editor

Nick Johnson, a Ranger pro from Elmwood, Wis., took home the biggest paycheck from the world’s richest walleye tournament, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship. Johnson won top honors (clearing $300,000) with a total haul Saturday of 6 pounds, 9 ounces.

Fishing conditions were difficult for the field of 12 pros and 12 co-anglers. Weather and water conditions fluctuated throughout the week. By Saturday the field had been pared down to an elite group of six pros. Still, these experts had a hard time bringing in the big ones. That may have to do with local fishing regulations.

The waters fished in Illinois included a slot limit. No fish measuring between 20-27 inches could be brought to the scale. Only two were weighed that measured over the slot. Add to the slot a minimum fish length of 15 inches and anglers were left to shrug their shoulders. Some reported catching a dozen or more fish each day that fell within the slot. Such numbers could have seriously altered the outcome.