To catch big walleyes in the early season, fish strategically
The walleye season has unfolded marvellously since opening day arrived a little over a week ago. Six of us started off in a shootout. We caught more than enough perfect 14- and 15-inch, non-mature “eaters” for shorelunch, and carefully released the few 16- to 18-inch females that tried to crash the party. We even caught and released a stunning, mid-40-inch, well over 20-pound pike that luckily was hooked in the lip, so it couldn’t bite through the light 8-pound test monofilament leader.
After opening day, however, when we had four occasional anglers in the boat who were primarily interested in having something tugging on their lines, we set off in search targeting bigger fish. Same lake, same walleyes, but we made a totally different game plan by concentrating on a couple ofkey principles that many walleye anglers miss, neglect or simply ignore.
What they mistakenly assume is that the much bigger female fish are stressed from the rigours of spawning and therefore rest, recover and don’t feed much. This is simply not true. In fact, if anything, the science shows us the opposite. A female walleye lays her eggs, and simply swims away. Meanwhile, the males are scooting all over the place, jostling and fighting with each other to get a female’s attention. And they’ll often mate with several fish over the course of several days.
Also, by carefully selecting the right bait, you can specifically target the size of walleye you hope to catch, and stack the bigger-fish odds in your favour.A few days after the season opener, for example, when we shot the video below, we actually presented a small-fish-bait and caught a male walleye, then changed the lure, made a second cast and immediately hooked a much bigger female.We’re not saying it is always this easy, but by keeping a few strategic principles in your quiver, you can almost (most days) call your walleye shots.Watch the video and see for yourself.