posted on May 07, 2010 09:58
I made my plan today on how I am going to begin my search for Mr Walleye on Saturday morning. Its simple and some variation of the plan usually works just fine. There are a few key points you might want to utilize to construct your own plan of attack on the ever to important opening day.
First, I try to determine by using a lake map or DNR information where the walleyes in a particular body of water may have spawned. Typical spawning areas are where creeks/rivers flow into the lake, rock/rubble shore lines that get constant wave action when windy, or shallow sand/gravel flats near shore in the 2-6 ft depth range.
Once 2-3 spawning areas are located concentrate on the shallows flats that surround the spawning areas. These flats should be sand/gravel with patches of newly growing weed scattered throughout.
The weeds are where the baitfish and walleye will be holding. An average depth range for these "feeding flats" is 4-8 ft of water--give or take. Drift or slowly troll these flats with live bait rigs or a 1/16-1/8 oz. jig tipped with a minnow, leech, or 1/2 of crawler--my favorite is a shiner minnow--a major food source for walleyes for the next 3 weeks or so.
Try green, white, or blue for jig/hook colors. A little red is always good as well. Keep your bait away from the boat (a short cast) to avoid spooking fish that are basically 3 ft below you outboards lower unit! After I check a few different flat areas out and hopefully put a few fish in the box I head for the first break line (drop-off) related to the flat that leads to deeper water.
I prefer a fairly quick drop to help concentrate the numbers of fish verses a long gradual slope that can scatter fish. Look for little cuts, points or inside turns in the break line by using you sonar. The corner of an inside turn is my starting point. Better yet, look for the baitfish and take a mental note of what depth the baitfish are appearing--start fishing close to the baitfish at the depth they are holding in. Whenever baitfish are found --the walleyes will be close by-within 20 yards or less. The average depth range when fishing these "initial breaks" is 9-15 ft ...give or take. If Im not having much luck I just simply concentrate my efforts deeper.
On the same breakline I will scan the bottom with the sonar looking for baitfish and or walleyes. The depths I search may lead down to 40ft..or more in some unique cases. Either way, I am still hanging around the first breakline just out from the shore line flats. Bait?--same thing, jig or rig tipped with a minnow. If I am marking fish but they but seem to be tight lipped I may try a slip bobber for a few minutes. If the bobber doesn't take a fish then its time to get a little more aggressive.
Another option is to "snap jig" a 1/4-3/8 oz jig (much heavier than needed) to try to trigger a reaction strike from the fish. Snap the jig off of the bottom and let it fall back down to the bottom full speed. Its funny how it works on fish that may not touch a slower approach.
Another option is to troll at a good clip with a 1/2 -3/4 oz bottom bouncer with a #4 hook tipped with a minnow, leach, or crawler. Try a leader of about 2-3 ft in length. The bouncer may trigger an extra hit or two.
If nothing jumps in the boat after all of that, then change spots and try to find fish that are more aggressive in a different location.
Have a good opener,
Whether it's Minnesota's famous Walleye (my specialty), acrobatic Smallmouth or Largemouth Bass, Panfish, hard hitting Northern Pike or monster Muskies--it's all up to you. A classic Minnesota shore lunch is also available! I have been a professional Minnesota fishing guide for over 20 years. My extensive guiding time on the water takes me to some of the best fishing areas throughout the state. Some of my favorite areas include Mille Lacs Lake, Otter Tail Lake, Leech Lake, Gull Lake, Lake Koronis, Clearwater Lake, Alexandria area lakes, and the Richmond Chain of Lakes. As a licensed Coast Guard Captain, I can also arrange trips to boder waters such as Lake Of The Woods or Rainy Lake!
Throughout my guiding career I have also worked as an instructional fishing guide for In-Fisherman Magazine's "Camp Fish", co-hosted and produced the "Outdoors Minnesota" TV Series, provided an extensive seminar series to many community education groups, published a sportsman's outdoor newspaper, excelled in many fishing tournaments, and of course became an extremely versatile angler in the process.
Your guide, Captain Josh Hagemeister - 320-291-0708 or 218-732-9919 - http://www.minnesotaguideservice.com/