Rules for the 2017 Lake Erie Walleye Trail
1. Rules and rule changes These rules will remain unchanged unless otherwise notified prior to a tournament. Different tournament sites will have site specific rules. Interpretation of the rules will be at the discretion of the Tournament Director (TD). The rules and the interpretations of the TD will be final, and not open to protest.
Entrants must conduct themselves in a true sportsman-like manner, NO EXCEPTIONS. You are expected to act with the highest degree of courtesy, honesty, and ethical behavior at all times. Remember, you not only represent yourselves, but all tournament anglers and competitive fishermen. Any unsportsmanlike behavior will lead to penalties and possible disqualification from any and all LEWT tournaments. Any team receiving a citation for a violation in their boat, from any law enforcement agency on the day of the tournament, will be disqualified for that tournament. Anyone receiving a citation, or having any contact with Law Enforcement is required to notify the TD immediately.
3. Severe weather
In the event of severe weather the tournament hours may be suspended, delayed, extended, cut short, or alternate boundaries put in place. A tournament may be rescheduled or canceled at the discretion of the tournament director. All one day Saturday tournaments will have a blow day scheduled on Sunday unless otherwise noted. Two day tournaments will start on Friday, with Sunday available as a blow day should one day be lost to weather. In the event that severe weather makes returning to the weigh in site unsafe, get to a safe dock, and call the TD and check in, so that we know you are off the water, and safe.
Safety must be observed at all times. All contestants must wear Coast Guard approved PFDs while the boat is moving above trolling speed. Each contestant is to follow all State and Federal regulations. No alcoholic beverages or illegal substances may be consumed, or in possession of anyone participating in any tournament activity. Remember, you are responsible for your own safety! Pay attention to the weather, and the conditions around you; know your limitations, and the limitations of your vessel.
5. Boats and equipment
All boat compartments and wells will be inspected prior to the start of that day of fishing. All boats must conform to all state and USCG standards. Your boat must have all required USCG safety equipment on board as stated in rule #4, and also a working VHF radio. No items, including bait and tackle, may be passed between boats after the tournament has started. Only registered contestants or tournament officials are allowed to be on the boat during tournament hours. All boats must have liability insurance.
Marine radios and cell phones. You must have a working VHF marine band radio. The official tournament channel will be channel 80. You may monitor any channel while fishing, but cannot transmit by radio, cell phone* or any other electronic equipment. You may not arrange for someone to transmit information over the radio such as location or fishing program in the open for your benefit. You may not have any communication with another vessel, or anyone else during a tournament, unless otherwise noted in the rules as permitted. Transmitting or receiving any type of information via any communication device is prohibited. You may not use a cell phone, or any other electronic device to track the location of other boats or competitors during tournament hours. *Cell phone use parameters: Cell phones are for emergency use only. When an emergency call is received by any tournament angler, that angler must immediately call the TD notifying him of that call. The number for the TD is located on the back of all boat cards. The bottom line is… everyone is aware of the tournament dates. Make arrangements not to have business or other non-emergency calls during tournament hours. If the TD finds that you have transmitted or received information in violation of the rules, you will be disqualified, period.
Water open to fishing will be the Ohio waters of Lake Erie with the western boundary being the Michigan state line, and the east boundary being the 82.05.00 line, which is just east of Sheffield Lake. Competitors must not come in contact with other boats during tournament fishing hours until your fish have been weighed, or your boat board has been turned in to tournament officials. Contact means physical touching, or passing of equipment. The only exception to this is in an emergency situation. If your boat becomes disabled, you must contact the TD for options on weighing your catch. Fish must never be combined between teams. Only FOUR rods may be upright and visible while fishing. Putting rods in holders while running to another spot is acceptable. Contestants will be limited to ONE LURE PER ROD. (inline weights, with a hook, like the Rednek inline weights will be allowed).
8. Dead fish
There is no dead fish penalty. However, vessels with a live well should use them. Live wells should be functioning so as not to cause undue degradation of fish. Fish not kept in a live well must be put on ice immediately so as not to appear old. Any participant culling a dead fish will be disqualified from the tournament. Improperly cared for fish may be taken from the weigh basket and not weighed at the judgment of the TD.
9. Weigh in
Teams must be past the official check in site before the end of tournament hours to weigh fish. Any team arriving one minute or more late will not be allowed to weigh in. Check in site will be announced at each tournament. Winners will be determined by the weight of their five largest fish. Big fish winner will be determined by the weight of single largest walleye. Only one fish per team is eligible for big fish. Teams must weigh their fish in as soon as possible after arriving past the check in point. Any delay in doing so will result in a half weight penalty being assessed for the total weight, and big fish weight.
The TD or any contestant has the right to protest another team or contestant. The protest must be made to the TD before prize distribution begins, and accompanied by a $200.00 fee. If the protest is upheld, the fee will be returned. If it is not, no refund will be given.
11. Spirit of the rule
All rules have “loop holes”. It is the intention of the Tournament Director to provide a fair and sportsman like tournament. All questions or problems are to be referred to the Tournament Director. The TD has sole jurisdiction in determining the application of the rules.
12. Participation and eligibility
Fields will be limited to 50 boats of two person teams with one exception. If a single tournament reaches 50 entries three weeks or more ahead of the scheduled date, we will add 10 more entries for a total of 60. All participants 18 or older must be current members of the WBSA, with the exception that a minor fishing with his/her parent or guardian will not be required to pay for WBSA membership. The minimum age to fish in the LEWT is 13, with the allowance of minors to be made on a case by case basis by the TD. A waiver is required to be signed by parents or legal guardian if a minor participant is accepted. All minors will be required to prove they have successfully completed a NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) approved Safe Boating course such as the Ohio Division of Watercrafts OBEC. (Ohio Boating Education Course) The WBSA, LEWT or TD has the right to refuse entry, or declare expulsion to individuals from the tournament circuit for any reason.
Refunds will not be given if a tournament takes place on a scheduled “blow day”. If the tournament weekend has to be rescheduled due to weather, a team that is unable to fish on the make-up date may request a refund. For events that are not rescheduled for weather, there will be no refunds for non-early bird teams. At the discretion of the TD, early bird teams may be eligible for one refund per year if a life threatening emergency situation, or death in the family arises, and causes the early bird team to miss a tournament. If other events are missed there will be no additional refunds given to early bird teams. All refunds will have a $20 writing fee withheld.
Payback will be at least 85% of total entry fees, and will pay back to 20% of a full field of *45 teams. (*This means that a maximum of nine places will be paid 85% of all entry fees) First place is guaranteed at least $2500 payback at each LEWT event. Plaques will be given to the top three teams. The optional big fish pot is $20 per team and will pay back 100%. Plaques will also be awarded for the big fish winner.
15. Integrity of the circuit
The TD reserves the right to conduct random onsite polygraph exams, or equipment inspections, including cell phones of any participating team member in order to make sure the integrity of the event is being upheld. Refusal to comply with a polygraph, or equipment inspection request will result in that team being ineligible for cash payouts, and will be ineligible for future participation in LEWT events.
16. Entry Fees
Entry fees are $200 per team per event. Early bird entries will be taken starting 10am January 17th through January 31st, 2016 and is for teams signing up to fish all 4 events. Boat numbers for these teams will stay the same for the season, and will be assigned based on finishing position in the 2016 team of the year points for teams that fished at least 3 events. The balance of the boat numbers will be assigned by order of entry. Starting February 4, single tournament entries will be accepted until all fields are full. No entries will be accepted after 8 PM on the Sunday prior to a tournament. A fee will be charged to cover PayPal processing fees.
Points will be awarded based on place of finish. For the first three events 200 points will be awarded to the team that finishes first, and will drop by two point increments for each place after first. Teams not weighing a fish in the first three events will receive 100 points. The last event of the year will be considered the Championship, and that event will be worth 300 points for first, and will drop by three point increments for each team after first. Teams not weighing a fish will receive three points less than the last team weighing a fish. Points champion will be based on points earned in each team’s best two out of the first three events and the Championship. Disqualified participants will earn zero points for the tournament they were disqualified in.
Substitutes may be used, but they must not be a member of another team, and one of the original team members must be present to receive Team of the Year points.
19. Waiver and hold harmless
All contestants in signing, or electronically signing the tournament registration form agree to hold harmless the WBSA and the LEWT, any and all promoters, tournament directors, agents, agencies, and organizations assisting the WBSA and LEWT tournament operation. Furthermore, all contestants agree to waiver all responsibility for death, injuries, damage, liability, theft, fire or loss of any kind to entrants. By signing the tournament registration form, you are in fact signing a waiver form. Entries must be signed in order to participate.
20. NTC Qualification
Since we do not know from year to year how many spots will be available for the NTC, they will be distributed in the following manner: First available spot will go to the team of the year from the prior year’s point’s standings. Any additional spots that the LEWT receives will be distributed subjectively and will not go down the points list. If a team has a qualifying spot from another club, and are not the LEWT Points champion, they should accept that spot if they want to be guaranteed a spot at the NTC. Other than winning the team of the year, there are no guarantees for which teams will get NTC invitations from the LEWT.