Fishing tips for locating early season walleyes
Just in time for the Minnesota May 9 opener, walleye spawning should be wrapping up, and the fish should be ready to feed. Put yourself in the right location with the proper presentation, add the proper action, and you will be catching fish left and right! Easier said than done, but here are a few tips to locate those elusive marble eyes.
Start shallow in the morning, gradually work deeper throughout the day, and then back shallow as the light starts to fade. An overcast day can extend the shallow water bite, but if that sun comes peeking through, make sure to slip a little deeper to follow the fish.
Often times you are going to end up casting shorelines to present your bait to walleyes to start off the day. Cast up into 2 to 4 feet of water with either a jig and minnow or jig and plastic on an 1/8- to 1/4-ounce jig. Slowly retrieve your lure back to the boat occasionally pausing to allow your bait to find bottom. As the fish move deeper you can switch to a more vertical presentation with either a jig or a live bait rig.
Monitor the water temperature closely. Baitfish move into warmer water areas to feed, and the walleyes will be nearby feeding on them.
Fish on the wind-blown side of the lake. Often you'll find the warmest water in bays on the windward side. The wave action also will stir up the water and provide baitfish with plankton and other invertebrates as forage, thus also drawing in the larger gamefish. The waves increase the turbidity, which also can make it easier to stay near the fish without spooking them.
Avoid crowds. Fishing can be hot in certain areas, but add a pile of boats and associated noise over them, and the fish will scatter. Find similar structure nearby to avoid over-pressuring active fish.
Good luck fishing this open-water season!