Slaying 'Eyes - Walleye Fishing With Chad Benson on Cass Lake

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Shortly after I graduated high school in Bemidji I was walking down the aisle of Food 4 Less on Paul Bunyan Drive (where Gander Mountain is today). I struck up a conversation with Chad Benson, a young man stocking shelves. He had an incredibly humble and pleasant nature. It turned out that he had a room for rent, which was fortuitous, as I was looking for a place.

 

His grandpa had been a fishing guide on some of the Bemidji area lakes and, with his passing, Chad had picked up where his grandpa left off. Back then Chad had a sixteen foot Lund aluminum with a forty horse motor. The storage cabinets in the Lund were made of pressboard with a wood grain veneer. I remember how Chad would buy the wood grain paint kit with the special roller and refinish the storage cabinets after every season. He wanted to keep his equipment as clean as possible and in good working order. All of that effort from those early days has paid dividends. Over the years Chad has built a loyal client base, won many tournaments, and has even expanded his offering of services to include ice house rentals on Red Lake and Cass Lake during the winter.

I caught up with Chad at Horseshoe Resort where he often keeps his boat on Cass Lake. Today he runs a nineteen foot Warrior with a 225 Mercury tiller with hydraulic assist. He has two Lowrance fish graphs, one to mark the contours in one foot intervals and the other to show him 2,000 of the waypoints upon which he has caught walleyes. This is serious fishing.

As we flew across the water to the first spot we put our hats on backwards and made the three miles in about the same number of minutes. We quickly caught a few ‘eyes out of the fifty-seven feet of water. Chad’s ability to keep the boat over the fish was amazing.

These were walleyes I would never have found on my own. In fact my friend Glenn and I had fished Cass lightly—mixing in some bird hunting—for a couple days before heading out with Chad. Though we caught some nice jumbo perch we had precisely zero walleyes to show for our efforts.

Cass has no slot limit so you can pull walleyes from the deep and not have to worry about releasing them and having them die because of the pressure change. Because there is no slot limit you might think the walleyes should come easy, but that wasn’t my experience in the two days prior to going out with Chad.

Cass has a good walleye population for sure, but the body of water seems to be fickle and, unless you’re on it every day, it’s tough to keep tabs on its moods. We went to other spots, caught more walleyes, and went home with boneless fillets. It wouldn’t have happened without Chad’s expertise.

With the investment of gas, time, and money for accommodations you want the experience to be great. Sometimes it pays to hire a guide.

Photos by author

Chad Benson's Guide Service

Fishing with Chad Benson


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