JACK WOLLITZ 2002 shaping up as busy

A busy fishing season is taking shape in northeastern Ohio, as event organizers are staking claim to dates on the 2002 calendar
The various tournament trails that swing through this region have announced dates and venues for 2002 and Consumers Mahoning Valley Lakes has this season's schedule all set
Kicking off the fishing season this year is the Bassmaster University session scheduled for March 9-10 at Cleveland Airport Marriott. Top pro bass anglers will deliver detailed presentations about tried-and-true bass tactics. To register, call 800-472-9039
Consumers Mahoning Valley Lakes‚ season begins this year with a pre-season March 9 through April 7 at Pine Lake. Pine's "regular" season runs April 12-May 22 and then June 28-July 31
Lakes‚ manager Larry Wehr announced that Evans will be open this year May 24-June 26 and again Aug. 2-Sept. 2
Hamilton Lake in Struthers will be open May 3-June 30 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and Memorial Day only
Consumers Water Co. President Walter "Buzz" Pishkur also announced that a date has been set for the 3rd annual Bass Classic, a tournament designed to raise money for the Youngstown-Mahoning Valley United Way
This year's event is set for June 13 at bass-filled Evans Lake. The previous two events combined to raise more than $12,000 for the United Way
And speaking of bass tournament action, competitors around the area are gearing up for spring and summer action on three of the most popular local tourney tours
The X Series, operated by Extreme Productions in association with Procraft and Monark boats, Mercury outboards and Vic's Sports Center, Kent, has released its 2002 schedule
Events will be April 7, at Portage Lakes; May 5, Mosquito; June 2, Salt Fork; June 30, Berlin; Aug. 4, Ohio River Pike Island; and Aug. 18, Shenango Reservoir
For information, phone George Byers at (330) 793-4686
The Greater Ohio Tournament Trail also has posted its 2002 dates: April 14, Mosquito; April 28, West Branch; May 19, Mosquito; June 9, Salt Fork; June 23, Ohio River New Cumberland; July 21, Berlin; and Aug. 11, Ohio River Pike Island
G.O.T.T. sponsors include Gander Mountain, Viking Marine, Dutch Harbor, Mercury, Greenwood Hubbard Chevy-Olds, Plano, Mann's, PRADCO, Ohio Pro Lure, James Locke Jewelers, Lunker Log, Zebco/Quantum/MotorGuide and J.R. Rods
Call Matt Johnson, (330) 782-0584, for more information
Lakes Tournament Trail, presented by Vic's Sports Center, Skeeter boats and Yamaha outboards, will be contested at the following lakes: April 21, Tappan; May 11, West Branch; June 23, either Berlin or Portage Lakes; July 14, Mosquito; Aug. 11, Berlin; and Sept. 7, Portage Lakes
Louie Kunkle has more information for those who call him, 330-825-5702
Kunkle also announced the Lakes Tournament Trail is holding its pre-season meeting today at 1 p.m. It's at Clinton Village Hall, five miles south of Barberton
Walleye warm-up: As the days get longer and the weather continues on its mild streak, the walleyes have begun to stir in local waters. It won't be long now until the fish really start moving
Those who wish to get in on early season walleye action should check out local causeways and rocky areas, as well as sand and gravel bars in the shallows. Jigs and minnows are hard to beat for fooling cold-water walleye on the lookout for an easy meal
Crappie action also will start to improve very soon. The general rule of thumb is to watch water temperatures. As they start to rise steadily into the 40s, the crappies will begin biting around shallow-water feeding stations.

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