A Pros Tricks for Walleye Opener - Wilderness North

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  –          

A Pros Tricks for Walleye Opener

The walleye opener is still a few months away and all, but it’s never too early to think about it. As  fishing days go, very few create as much excitement as the opening of walleye season. As anyone who’s fished more than a couple openers will tell you, it’s not always fun and games. Snow, high water, rain and brutal heat are all possible on a Canadian opening day. Some times you can get those conditions all on the same day. This can make the walleye bite tricky.  So here are 8  walleye fishing tricks that will give you a leg up on those golden beauties this spring.

1.) Adjust your Jig –  Many lead head jigs gain a little extra bite by turning the point of the hook up. A wider hook gap means the barb can more easily stick into the walleyes bony mouth. Some anglers will also give the hook a light offset. A pair of needle nose pliers will do both these jobs with ease. Just don’t over bend and snap off the hook! Also, some modern hooks are very brittle so if the hook is not bending easily, it is best to leave it.

2)  Add a Rattle –  Every year I use rattle baits more, and the various  rattle jig collars that are on the market can turn any plain jig into a rattle jig. In windy conditions, or in dark or muddy water, a rattle jig will definitely help put more fish in the boat. If you like to troll crankbaits, stock up on some of the rattlin’ models that are out there. Rattling spoons can also be a great lure when vertically jigged in dark water. I’ve also had great success in the spring with lipless rattle bats cast up into windblown shores. These lures are surprisingly snag resistant and very effective on cold water walleye.

3)  Try a White Spinner Blade –  Most walleye anglers use flame red or chartreuse spinner blades on their Little Joe spinners in Canada. These colours have certainly put quite a few fish in the boat over the years. But white blades have proven to be a real  walleye killer in clear and murky water. Many of  the favourite prey species for walleye are white in colour. Can’t hurt to try them if the spinner bite goes dead.

4)  Drift with the Wind – There are a lot of gas motors grinding away on  opening morning, and after a time this will put shallow fish down. If the wind is blowing at a speed less than  about 2 miles per hour, try drifting over your favourite spot. Pitch a jig and minnow to shore or dragging a live bait rig.  It’s amazing what a difference the quiet approach can make. An electric trolling motor will help you keep the boat in position, if that’s an option. And if you get on a good pod of fish, an anchor is the way to go.

Ontario Walleye fishing, Wilderness North

5) Troll Crankbaits – Sometimes, the real whopper walleye will be looking for large forage on the opener . Minnow bodied crankbaits like the Rapala Husky Jerk, Rapala,  X Rap  or the Bagley Bang O are just the kind of mouthful that  the biggest fish in the swim are tuned into. Use a one quarter ounce rubber core, or a half ounce bottom bouncer and  keep  the lure a foot or two off the bottom. In shallow water, you likely wont need any weight at all. Keep the bait moving at a steady clip, but not  too fast if the water is cold. A sharp snap of the rod tip every once and a while can trigger strikes.

6) Fish the Windy Shore – This is a general rule in many fishing situations, and it certainly  holds true for spring walleye. Wind activates walleye by blowing in warm surface water, stirring up shoreline areas, obscuring sunlight and disorienting bait fish. A windy warm front is the perfect spring scenario.  The longer the wind blows on a shoreline, the better. However, if the wind is cold, you might have to get out of the wind to find active fish. Walleye will also bask in shallow bays where the sun warms the bottom.

7) Use a Long Leader-  Lindy Rigs and other live bait presentations are an excellent choice for spring walleye fishing. But the packaged leaders that some anglers use are often no more than three feet in length. While this is OK for many shallow water situations, finicky walleye will turn a wet nose up at a bait that’s running too close to a sinker. If this is happening to you, try a five, six or even eight foot leader. This small adjustment can make a big difference in the number of bites you get.

8) Try a Tube Jig – Seems radical, I know. Yet I’ve caught  an amazing number of trophy walleye on tube jigs. A 4 inch tube on a half ounce head is about right but you can go lighter or heavier, depending on conditions. White, brown, black and blue tubes are the best for walleye. Cast the thing out then hop and drag it back across the bottom. If a fish takes it, you’ll know. They slam them.

Good fishing,
Gord

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