Chill Fishing Report
Ice has finally started coming off our lakes and it is now time to make sure you are ready for the Minnesota fishing opener. If you are like me, you have been excited for open water since things locked up last fall and have been dreaming of that fish of a lifetime to bite. First thing to check is making sure you have a current fishing license, if you haven’t bought it since March of this year then you need to purchase a new license. Second thing I strongly recommend is a bump board or fish ruler. With more of our lakes having strict slot limits it can be a very costly mistake if that sticker tape measure on the boat is wrong.
Each year I try to organize my tackle box and take inventory of what is missing, broken, or did well for me and start a shopping list for the things I need with sizes and colors for when I go to the store. It helps me only buy what I am needing. We have some amazing local shops having some amazing sales and now is the time to support our local businesses. If you are like me having direction at the bait shop is a great thing or I walk out the door with a bag full of tackle and didn’t buy the things I needed.
Next I like to respool all my reels with new line. Zebra muscles has taught me that line clarity is very important, and I strictly use fluorocarbon after seeing results of testing mono vs fluorocarbon. As I see people buying line, I think the average person uses too heavy of line and it hurts them. I run 4-pound test on my ultra-lights and 8-pound test on my walleye rods for clients and 6-pound test for personal rods. Thinner line makes it easier to feel the bite and it also helps the lure act more natural depending on your presentation. Let your drag do the work and you will not have a problem. Before I rig my first rod, I check all my eyelets with a Q Tip and check for cracked, worn, or damaged eyes. Do a general once over of the rod and make sure nothing happened over the winter in storage.
Now comes the fun part, rigging. Walleyes I run two set ups a lindy rig and a jig. My lindy rig I will be using a 7.5-foot MLF (Medium Light Fast) action with a simple lindy rig. Everyone has their personal favorite lures, but I have had the best luck with a walking sinker just heavy enough to get to bottom with a 4–7-foot leader with a simple green bead with a colored size 2 hook. I tip it with a nice healthy minnow hooking through the nostril to keep the minnow alive for as long as possible. Reducing the number of times, you cast your minnow helps the longevity of your minnow and reduces tangles with your sinker. Simply ease it over the edge of the boat and wait for the line to float before putting my finger on the line with my bail open waiting for the bite.
My jig rod is a 7 foot with 8-pound test with a small jig tipped with a minnow. My presentation for that is lift slowly drop it back down as I slowly troll covering the structure. I make sure that when I drop my line the lure has enough line out to stop on bottom. If I hear the bite is a jig bite, I will buy both larger minnows like shiners and smaller minnows like fat heads to have both available. Sometimes having a smaller presentation can make an inactive fish bite. Both presentations I’m moving around 0.2-0.5 mph depending on conditions.
We can all admit that spring has been extremely late this year and if the walleyes aren’t biting, I would expect the crappies to be on fire. I wouldn’t forget to pack your favorite panfish rod into the boat and if you are struggling mid-day switch presentations and try to find some crappies staging to spawn. You might be shocked that the walleyes might be extremely shallow feeding right beside the crappies.
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