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For walleyes on ice, consider this live bait…

Posted on February 23, 2013

Terry TumaTry sucker minnows. There, I said it. Yes, I had good walleye success recently on central Minnesota’s Lake Mille Lacs using, surprisingly, sucker minnows.

Thanks to a cold front that struck the area, we encountered a neutral to negative walleye bite, but we just kept experimenting. We worked the hard-water rules of attraction, starting with jigging rattle lures, with a larger profile in one hole. That brought fish into our vicinity.

Then, in that second hole, we used a 5- to 6-inch sucker with no jigging action whatsoever. For reasons that remain unclear to me, no one uses suckers for walleyes. On this day, shiners and fatheads were not working, so we tried another live bait: sucker minnows. Success!

The complete setup included a red hook, with an offset color bead (usually gold) to mix up that color scheme. We hooked the sucker minnow underneath the dorsal fin.

Jigging to draw them in was key with our other rod, but that big meat sealed the deal. Important point: These suckers were lively. I believe their struggling action and size was a major attraction. They were big, and combined with the fact that predatory walleyes were so used to seeing shiners and fatheads, I think that got them going. On our flasher, we saw them charge the sucker.

Truth be told, I will try this same technique this summer, too, especially in areas where I can use two lines.

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