This is episode #1 of AnglingBuzz TV 2018.
For our maiden voyage of 2018, we’re bringing in the big guns: well-known multi-species guru Al Lindner. We’ll be talking EVERYTHING walleyes, from tips and tactics to top destinations and current fishing reports.
Intro – “Walleye Magic”
There’s army of anglers practically manic about all things walleye. Who doesn’t live for the bait thumping, rod pumping, head shaking action and flicker of that white tip tail?
The payoff is pretty good, too. It’s hard to beat fresh walleye fried, broiled, blackened or baked.
The challenge, too, is part of the fun! Many times, we need to dig deep in the playbook to crack a bit, so when everything finally comes together, it’s a pretty good feeling.
Yes, at times, walleye can be a fickle fish, but today’s anglers have an ever-growing arsenal of fish catching tools, techniques and tactics at their disposal. Now combine that with plenty of on-the-water experience, and you have the recipe for “Walleye Magic”!
If there’s a walleye fishing must-have, it’s GPS mapping — an honest to goodness game changer. Companies like Lakemaster and Navionics have greatly sped up the time it used to take walleye anglers to learn a lake, and once you find ‘em, new boat control technologies like trolling motors with electronic anchoring and hands-free trolling features definitely stack the odds in the angler’s favor.
But location and boat control are still only parts of the walleye puzzle — you still have to catch them! Successful walleye anglers have learned to fish power and finesse, drawing reaction strikes when walleyes aren’t hungry, or quickly capitalizing on a bite when the feed is on.
And in the year 2018, artificial baits are not a walleye fishing exception, they’re the rule. Sure, livebait’s still part of the program, but anglers have built the confidence to know that it is by no means essential. Livebait jigging and rigging still produce, but these days, we have other plays that will win the walleye game, too.
All combined, it would no doubt look like Walleye Magic to the anglers of yesteryear.
Killer Spring Walleye Destinations
Detroit River (MI) – Starting out east, Michigan offers many great walleye waters throughout the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, but when it comes to early season numbers and pure trophy potential, it’s hard to top the Detroit River where the walleye season never closes! From what we’ve been hearing, vertical jigging heavy lead and plastics and hand-lining the current continue to put big gravel lizards in the boat.
Lake Winnebago (WI) – At nearly 140,000 acres, Lake Winnebago is the Badger State’s largest inland lake, drawing anglers from across the region. The attraction? Winnebago is a walleye factory and hard to beat this time of year. There is great fishing to be had in the Fox and Wolf River tributaries, as well as the main lake.
Lake Vermilion (MN) – Minnesota’s expansive Lake Vermilion has all the stuff walleye need: oodles of forage, rock, weeds, sand, gravel, and the wind and water movement required for successful spawns each year. What’s the best way to catch Vermilion walleyes? Pretty much any way you want, from rigging, jigging, trolling to Jig Rapping.
Leech Lake (MN) – Minnesota walleye anglers are looking forward to another great MN fishing opener on Leech, where fish are abundant on relatively shallow flats, rocks and points throughout the lake. With plenty of eaters and good numbers of fish, too. Definitely a hot-spot.
Alexandria Region (MN) – Anglers can’t turn around without discovering a new favorite walleye lake in west central Minnesota’s Alexandria region. With some 400 lakes in the area, there’s a lot to explore. The largest lake in the region, Miltona, is simply one of those rare lakes where you can catch walleyes shallow to deep in the same day. There’s plenty of walleye in and around the lake’s green weeds, as well as the hard bottom humps. There’s plenty of big fish potential.
Missouri River (ND/SD) – From Montana’s Fort Peck to Lake Sakakawea in Norther Dakota to Oahu and Francis Case in South Dakota, the Missouri River system is one of the country’s top walleye destinations. While many fishermen rush to the big water reservoirs, there are countless miles of river, too. And you can fish all day without seeing another boat!
Hawk Lake (ON) – Heading north into Ontario’s Sunset Country, Hawk Lake is known to produce some true trophies. Instead of a walleye fisheries where you would catch hundreds of small walleyes, you’re targeting fish that typically start at 24 inches and go up from there. Hawk Lake Lodge offers 5 star food and accommodations, along with an excellent opportunity for monster ‘eyes. It’s classic Canadian walleye fishing at it’s finest.
Gearing up for Spring Walleye Fishing
It’s that time of year again! The Minnesota and Wisconsin walleye openers are almost here and spring walleye fishing is already in full swing in other areas like the Dakotas, Iowa, the Great Lakes, etc. If you haven’t already, now is the time gear up for the season.
– Northland Buck-a-Roo Jig – $1.49
– VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig Kit – $9.99
– Northland Current Cutter Jig – $2.99
– Strike King Rage Swimmer – $5.99
– Storm 360GT Searchbait – $3.99
– Northland Mimic Minnow – $4.19
– Bagley Balsa Shad – $8.69
– Rapala Shad Rap – $7.19
– Rapala Rippin’ Raps (Viper Custom Colors) – $11.99
Outdoorsmen: Organize & Protect your Truck
Your truck is more than just a commuter to get you from here to there. Many of us practically live in our trucks — they help us tow our boats, trailers and gear to the next adventure.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having a messy cab and gear loosely scattered about with nowhere to keep it.
Here’s a few awesome add-ons for your truck to keep things a little more clean and organized. Let’s start with floor mats. Anyone who spends time in the woods or on the water knows your boots get muddy. Quality floor mats like WeatherTech digital fit floor liners help keep the carpet clean and make cleanup a breeze.
Of course your seats can take a beating with wet rain gear, kids, dogs or spilled food from the last drive-thru. Protect your interior from the elements with a set of seat covers. Radco offers a variety of custom fit and universal seat protectors from manufacturers like TigerTough, Northwest Seat Covers and SPG.
How about having a permanent home for things in your truck, rather than just a back seat? What about making use of the space under your seat? Radco has gear boxes from venders like Du-Ha and Husky to fit the specific make and model of your truck. Keep extra oil, straps, jumpers, even guns out of sight, organized and easy to access.
Proven Walleye HAMMER (Lipless Crankbaits)
No doubt about it, lipless crankbaits are one of the most versatile tools available for catching walleyes, and they are still underused, despite being a mainstay in most of our tackle boxes.
The great thing about rattle baits is their ability to fish so many different depth levels. Traditionally, a rattle baits is simply casted and reeled straight in in shallow to mid-range depths, but we’re big fans of using these baits for walleyes on deeper structure from 15 to 30 feet of water.
In these deeper conditions, you fish the bait the same way you would fish a jig: cast it out and let it his the bottom, then rip it up, let it fall, rip it up, let it fall until a walleye drills it. These lipless crankbaits create a reaction bite, similar to what you might see with a Jigging Rap.
One of our favorite lures for this presentations is the #7 Rippin’ Rap.
So when the right time to bust out the Rippin’ Raps? They works particularly well in darker water environments when the fish are quite aggressive, though they’ve been known to work in clearwater situations, as well. We’re had success with this bait all year: spring, summer, fall and even through the ice in the wintertime.
You can fish lipless crankbaits on a spinning rod or a bait casting rod, though most anglers tend to favor the latter. Jeremy Smith’s go-to rod is the St. Croix Legend Glass rod, which has a nice long bend and is designed for throwing crankbaits. The key is using a rod that will keep the small treble hooks pegged in the walleye’s mouth. Pair it with 12# monofilament line and you’ve got an extremely stretchy system that will keep walleyes hooked and get ‘em in the net.