Catching Trophy Walleye and Water Temperature
If you are looking to catch Walleye trophy fish what is the best thing to do or not to do?
Let me say first that, Walleye fishing is what you make of it and only experienced anglers understand that it is often a game of chances, and when these fish shut down there is no way to turn that frown upside down.
Now, the key word to focus on here is catch, and in order to catch you need bait and for the wily but aggressive walleye it will not be just any ordinary bait.
But before we get into feeding this toothy critter, let us dwell on the nature of your prey for a moment. Walleye grow from a fertilized egg to 1 ½ to 2 inches by late spring and to 4 to 6 inches by autumn. They start out with plankton and quickly change to small aquatic insects and then to minnows.
Once they achieve six to eight inches in length, in order to maintain their size their diet will be mostly minnows. Unfortunately for the walleye this becomes their downfall.
In order to maintain their size and still grow they must eat almost on a continuous basis and they must do this throughout their life because they never stop growing. I think that of all the factors to consider in a successful strike, water temperature would rank high on the list.
In fact it has been found that the feeding frenzy peaks for walleye when the water temperature hits 64 degrees F and that water temperature has a lot to do with locating this elusive prey.
So, you will want to look for Walleyes in the spring to gather and spawn in gravelly or sandy bays with winds that stir up wavelets. This action is necessary to expose areas to lay the eggs, keep the eggs aerated and prevent them from being silted over. This is of course for ideal conditions for spawning. You will also find them off shoreline bars or in open water gravel flats.
Reservoir walleyes spawn over a three-week period, primarily after dark, in water depths of 3 to 12 feet. However, they are highly adaptable and if necessary you can find them in waters 36 feet deep. Again, water temperature is important because spawning will occur when the water temp rises to 48 ° and during this time and up to 10 days later the females rarely bite. Now, the good thing is that after the spawning, they go on a month long feeding pig out.
At this time you will find them in 15 ft. of water or less because the low angle of the sun allows them to stay in the shallows. After all is said and done the biggest drawback of spring walleye fishing is inconsistent weather.
In summer, walleyes frequent sand bars and points mostly at night, feeding on crayfish and minnows. Now as waters warm throughout the season, walleyes move further and deeper into the cooler, darker waters. While moving to these depths they are often attracted to structure, such as islands, underwater land forms, or deep weed beds. You will find that you will have to work really hard to have any success at this time of year. The reason being is simply that bait fish are plentiful and larger than what you're offering.
Walleyes tend to go deep around the middle of September and move back into weeds at night. During the day, they hang around the 25 to 35 foot mark, usually along the edge of a break and you will usually find more on steeper slopes than gentler ones. They feed more aggressively when entering deep water and midday fishing will be better. Three to four inch minnows on a jib or slip-sinker rig appear to work well. If you're looking to catch some trophy sized fish that tap the double digit scale, now is the time you will. Your method of choice will be jigging spoons or jigs and live minnows.
I am not going to tell you this is easy because its not. What happens at this time of year is Walleye move slowly on or just off bottom and cooling surface water is forcing the warmer water below back to the top. So, fall night fishing is the prerequisite and for your efforts big fish are caught during this period.
Early in the ice-fishing season, walleyes can be found in 10 to 12 feet of water on points along the mid lake flats and around the middle of January you will most likely find them in 18 to 30 feet, on the ends of humps or the same points along the mid lake flats. Walleyes generally move to shallower waters when snow cover is heavy, the sky is overcast, or it's early or late in the day. They usually go deeper when it's midday, in sunny weather, or under light snow cover.
Sorry, about that I guess I need to be getting back to bait. Many anglers think that smell or taste is most important to catch trophy Walleye. I would beg to differ knowing that they are part of the Perch family and argue that the natural movement of baitfish would be much more important to attracting a strike. So, the best thing to do is change your leeches and worms every 5 to 10 minutes. If you hook your minnows properly you can make them last a lot longer.
Now, let us talk about those eyes. This species of fish is light sensitive, so it does allows them to see well in low light conditions which occur in the deep part of lakes or shallow areas once the sun goes down. If you are fishing during the day, it would probably be best to cover an area by drift fishing and bottom bouncing. The bouncing part is just that, bouncing, not dragging or better yet closer to swimming, so that when you feel that twitch, you know it is definitely your prey.
When I speak about the twitch it is probably just that, a twitch. You may catch the odd, inexperienced one because of a snatch and grab but most Walleye try a little sampling before they make the decision to strike, so if you are using a heavy jig or rig you may miss that initial hit. The only real place to use the heavier jigs is in fast flowing water such as river currents.
Lake Erie walleye fishing can produce some big fish and it's no secret that Lake Erie walleye fishing is second to none if you're looking for trophy walleyes.
Lake Huron also has some of the best walleye fishing available in the US, maybe even the world.
Walleye fishing is a tough game to play but anglers who use their wits will almost always figure out how to put the pieces together.
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