Fishing Tips: 3 Early Season Pointers for Walleye

walleye

Leisure Outdoor Guide Toby Kvalevog Jig and Minnow Walleye / Photo courtesy of Leisure Outdoor Adventures

Chomping at the bit is an understatement when it comes to Minnesota anglers and their anticipation of the upcoming walleye season, set to open May 9.

“It's that time of year that gets all anglers across Minnesota excited to set the hook on the first walleye of the season,” said Jeff Anderson of Leisure Outdoor Adventures. www.LeisureOutdoorAdventures.com “The past few seasons we have dealt with a late ice out along with a late spawn.

“This year is a different story. Spawn should be complete and post spawn walleyes will be in shallow water in big numbers and with large appetites.”

The toothy fish will, no doubt offer tons of fun, but Anderson offers a little advice on making the most of the angling opportunities.

walleyeprimer

Jeff Anderson shows off the kind of walleye he’ll soon target.

Location
Anderson favors shallow water and will look for walleye relating to shoreline points, current areas, and fresh weed growth.

“The downscan imaging on my Lowrance HDS-9 is invaluable in finding fresh weed growth that is only 5-6 inches (high),” Anderson said. “These small weed clump locations are so important and they grow different each year so take the time to search them out.”

Temperature is also critical and a one-degree variance can trigger the fish to feed.

Rig Right
The old reliable jig and minnow dominates Anderson's spring offerings, but presentation is the key to consistency.

“In the shallow water I often see anglers fishing directly under the boat,” he notes. “In rough water this will produce but in most cases, I will pitch the jig out and work it back to the boat. This prevents scattering the school of fish in the shallow water.

“The key is to pitch the jig out and with a high rod tip snap the jig then let it make contact with the bottom and repeat. Sometimes, just dragging the jig gets the fish to trigger, so learn the jig cadence for that day.”

Best Bait
Anderson prefers a spot-tail shiner for his jig bait for its action when hooked. He'll also use rainbow chubs when a tough bite requires a smaller profile.