Suspended Walleye? You Bet!
The fish I aim to speak about in this blog is one that is spoken of quite frequently, whether it be in a posting on social medias, over numerous radio stations and or in the newspaper and is the topic of many controversial conversations and debates. It brings tourism and fortune to many local businesses and has many nicknames but is most commonly known as the walleye. It truly is a wondrous fish, and on the great body of water of Mille Lacs Lake, it is arguably the most sought-after fish during the ice season and or the open water season.
Personally, I do not get to play around on Mille Lacs as often as I would like. Exploring new lakes and finding new bites is what I am all about, but when I do get to play on the big pond, once is never enough. As recently as this past weekend (Jan. 5&6), I challenged myself to fish new areas of Mille Lacs and had success.
My plan of attack was to punch a grid over new structures that I felt could hold fish and to utilize my electronics to pinpoint the areas in which the walleyes gravitated to. Ledges surrounded by deeper water, though connected to shallower water was the structure I was focused on. If you haven’t already, check out the outdoor forum called In-Depth outdoors and watch Episode 7, season 13’s video. James Holst, host of In-Depth Outdoors gives a very helpful tip on how to target walleye on Lake of the Woods by keeping your bait higher in the water column. Though it is not Lake of the Woods I am writing about today, the same tactic can be applied to the types of structure I was fishing.
Walleyes are bottom feeders and only eat in the bottom two feet of the water column, right? WRONG… Most often, the ledges I was fishing were only a four- or five-foot difference in depth. Keeping my bait higher off the bottom 2-4 feet up gave the chance for walleye off in the distance to see my bait, hunt it down and take a bite. If I had kept my bait closer to the bottom, a school of walleye could have cruised right past without seeing my bait. Both the commander and precision gave me the leverage I needed to bring these fish topside. As sensitive as these rods are, they allowed me to focus more on my electronics to watch as the walleye raced up to crush the bait and feel the bite rather than watch for it and jump the gun on the hook set. Set lines tipped with a sucker minnow also produced fish. Again, hanging my bait between 3-4 feet from the bottom allowed cruising walleyes to see and grab that bait. Using the commander as a dead stick, it stopped the walleye dead in their tracks and brought them topside with ease.
Tight lines folks, and happy fishing!