Suggestions on finding and catching 'em right now!
Recently, we had conversations with several walleye tournament pros, fishing guides, and other experienced anglers gathering their thoughts on "where to go" and "what to throw" to get bit this weekend. Here are some great ideas from the pros designed to help others catch more marble eyes this weekend:
Tim Snyder - Idlewild Resort on Lake Kabetogama
Tim's plans for opening weekend:
"The fishing opener is almost here and the anticipation is huge especially after being cooped up for months! The resorts are ready and we encourage everyone to get out on the lake and enjoy a long-standing Minnesota tradition: catching walleyes!"
Tim's best tip for opening day anglers:
"I always start by pitching large plastics in shallow water ( 3-6 feet ) usually with 1/8 oz jigs. Live bait is also effective, however, I fish it a little slower. This tends to produce big walleyes. Just remember to be quick with the photo and release gently.
(That's Tim in the cover photo above with a Kabetogama catch/photo/release walleye!)
Brett King - Strike King Walleye Pro and the 2018 National Walleye Tour Angler of the Year
Brett's plans for opening weekend:
"Opening weekend for both Wisconsin and Minnesota are big events for a guy that lives on the banks of the border waters of the Mississippi, but not for the same reasons fellow anglers get excited. For me, it`s a time of year when we get back to normal on the river as the crowds of spring anglers we see are now headed in other directions! Spring is very busy here as the season never closes on this stretch of the river, a fishery that is a top ten walleye/sauger water in my opinion!"
"The fish here will be post spawn and have the feed bag on. Even better, the water temps are still cool enough to fish my favorite tactic, which is pitching light jigs and plastics like the new Strike King Ringworm I have been working on, which is in the design phase. Little fishing pressure and traveling only minutes from my home to my favorite boat launch on a world class walleye fishery is what fishing opener has become for me!"
Brett's best tip for opening day anglers:
"If I could give a bit of advice for opening day anglers, it would be to slow down your fishing presentation. The waters will be cold with ice off for most northern waters within the last week or two, meaning the fish will have a slower metabolism from a long winter. As much as I love fishing artificial bait, I would also certainly have a bucket of minnows within my reach. It`s just opening day tradition!"
Drake Herd - Strike King and Lew's Pro, National Walleye Tour Pro
Drake's plans for opening weekend:
"Minnesota fishing opener is about tradition with family and friends. It’s no different in my family. My dad(John), brother(Reid) and I get out every year. While I’m really spoiled in our area (Alexandria,MN) with so many lakes, I tend to look for lakes that have good rivers/creeks flowing in and out of them. These are ideal when walleye fishing in the spring because they have the warmest water temperatures. Shallow flats with whatever vegetation you can find will hold fish!"
Drake's best tip for opening day anglers:
"My top tip for opener is to bring less rods and catch more fish. What do I mean? I have 3 rods in my boat: a Lew's Walleye Speed Stick 6’10 Medium Extra Fast Tip for jigging(jigs are king in the spring), a Speed Stick 7’0 Medium Light Extra Fast Tip for live bait rigging, and a Speed Stick 7’6 Medium Light Extra Fast Tip for slinging bobbers. Those are my 3 rods for the first few weeks of the season. Don’t over complicate things as these 3 rods have proven over and over to be successful weapons on Minnesota waters!"
Bob Jensen - Fishing the Midwest's founder and Hall of Fame angler
Bob's plans for opening weekend:
"I live in north Iowa, and around here the walleye season is open year 'round. Clear Lake is less than an hour from my home and is an outstanding walleye fishery, so that's where I start my season almost every year."
Bob's best tip for opening day anglers:
"Most of my fishing will take place in water less than five feet deep early in the year. I'll keep moving until I find action, then probably anchor and work the area thoroughly. I'll put a slip-bobber rig out, sixteenth ounce jig, a splitshot or two a foot above it, and tip the jig with a minnow. I will cast a jig, sixteenth or eighth ounce while I watch the bobber. The fish will probably be near rocks or sand, and if there is some current, that will make the spot even better. I will stay on the water after the sun goes down and fish the same type of areas, but shallower. A KVD Jerkbait in the 200 or 300 Series will be the go-to bait. Fish it with slower jerks."
(Hover/click on the image to learn more)
Mike Frisch - Fishing the Midwest TV host and Alexandria (MN) Lakes walleye guide
Mike's plans for opening weekend:
"We've got lots of waters in the Alexandria area that have excellent walleye populations right now and so I have lots of options! Lakes like Miltona, Ida, and the Le Homme Dieu Chain have good walleye fishing, but I'll probably start on a shallower lake where the water warms a bit quicker. Finding the warmest water is usually key on the opener and that's where shallow lakes like Reno or Mary come into play."
"The great thing about Alex is that if the fish aren't going yet on one lake, I can be on another lake within minutes! A mobile approach like that has helped me find a good bite on several walleye openers in the past."
Mike's best tip for opening day anglers:
"Jigs rule on lots of water this time of year as far as fishing presentations go. A key becomes varying different jigging presentations to find what the fish want on a particular day."
"Often, it's hard to beat a jig and minnow early, but on a recent trip to Big Stone, a border water with no closed season, a Crater Head Jig tipped with a Rage Swimmer was most productive.
That's why experimenting with tipping options, jig colors, and jigging speeds is always a good idea!"
"REEL" Good Reports!
Fishing Reports From Some of the Midwest's Best Guides and Top Fishing Destinations!
BIG STONE LAKE, Ortonville (MN) -- Tanner Arndt, guide at Artie's Bait & Tackle, (320) 305-3754
The water is warming and the fish are on the move! Our water temps are now running around 60° and both the walleyes and the perch have wrapped up their spawn and we have had good reports on both lately. And, we are starting to see some more activity from the panfish and bass as well. Most guys have been catching a mixed bag of fish in the 4-8 ft range with walleyes pushing up into the shorelines late at night, which has provided good dock fishing too. We should see some good multi-species action in the coming days!
CLEAR LAKE (IA) -- Bob Jensen, Fishing the Midwest TV
According to several anglers, the Clear Lake walleye bite continues. Slip-bobbers with a sixteenth ounce jig tipped with a leech have been very productive. Some anglers are also reporting action in deeper water. Pulling spinners and crankbaits are preferred in the 7-10 foot depths.
Go for crappies in the rushes and yellow bass around shallow sand areas.
Several other lakes in North Iowa have seen angler success for perch and walleyes.
ALEXANDRIA (MN) LAKES AREA - Mike Frisch, Fishin'With Frisch Pro Guide Service
Great Boat Deals!
Crappie fishing action has been really good on various lakes in the area now as water temperatures are warming up drawing more fish shallow. Mr. Crappie plastics on small jigs fished below bobbers are producing fish. A key has been moving around to find fish shallow. When found, they are often cooperative!
Most anglers will shift their attention to gamefish like walleye and pike now as that season opens Saturday! Bass are also fair game for catch and release angling this weekend as well. Small, shallow lakes with quickly warming waters should produce walleyes this weekend. In fact, we look for a good opener in the area as many lakes have been ice free for several weeks now!
FX Closeouts at Hannay's Marine!
The recent announcement that Larson FX Boats is ceasing production of boats and closing their manufacturing facility has resulted in some dynamite pricing on FX models through our friends at Hannay's Marine in Minneapolis! The guys at Hannay's have a great selection of FX models and have them priced to move. Simply hover/click on the boat image above to be directed to Hannay's website to check out their remaining inventory. Hurry though, because these great boats at this pricing won't last long!