Opening day walleye tactics
Use small hooks, lively bait, and fish slow. That’s all you need
to know about catching walleyes on opening day. Sure, it helps if
the weather is decent and you’re on a lake that has a good
population of walleyes, but if you stick to the basics, you will
Remember, each body of water will have a little different
attitude, and you can be more successful if you listen to what the
lake tells you. Take Winnibigoshish for instance. If she tells you
the walleyes are meandering around on the shallow sand on the
points, you want to be throwing a jig and minnow on light line. The
longer the casts, the better. Just drag that jig on the bottom and
concentrate on the bite.
If Winnie tells you that the fish are deeper on the reefs, then
you better be using a Roach Rig and keeping the bait right in front
of their nose. I prefer to find the walleyes on the shallow sand on
opener on Winnie, but those fish still can be caught if their
preference is the deeper structure.
You might be going to Mille Lacs. She’ll tell you that the north
shore sand flats can treat you well if you’re using a Roach Rig and
a lot of space between the weight and the bait. Put about 10 to 12
feet between that sinker and hook, more if you need it. A lot of
anglers will be using leeches on Mille Lacs, but minnows will do
the trick, too.
If you’re opening on any of the Brainerd lakes you might
discover walleyes on the newly emerging weedline, especially where
the vegetation transitions into a long rubble point, or where that
cabbage and coontail ends and a rubble bar begins.
In that case those lakes are telling you to slip a heavier
sinker on that Roach Rig so you can fish a nearly vertical
presentation. Since you need to keep the bait right on the edge of
that stubbly vegetation then it’s imperative that you maintain
precise boat position and keep the bait right below you where the
A lot of anglers will be opening on the lakes around Alexandria.
This is a great choice. Those lakes have plenty of walleyes waiting
to be caught. I’m betting that the Alex Chain and Lake Mary and all
those others there will tell you that a slip-bobber casted up next
to the bulrush beds and a lively leech on an 1/8-ounce jighead
could be the right combination to land a load of walleyes.
Walleyes love to roam the bases of that bulrush and if they see
a squirming black leech wiggling around by the roots, you can bet
that bobber is going to disappear under the surface.
The governor is going to be in Detroit Lakes. Media types will
be surrounded by some of the best walleye lakes in the country.
Those are textbook walleye waters with some of the most productive
structure imaginable. Those lakes are going to tell you to tie on a
Roach Rig, put about 8 feet between the weight and the bait, and
drag a fat, squirming leech along the shoreline points and sand
flats in about eight to 15 feet of water. If the weather has been
stable and there’s a little walleye chop, you won’t have a problem
providing a subject or two for all those media cameras.
Some of you will be opening on those southern pothole lakes.
This region of the state is always a great place to be on opener.
Typically the walleyes are beyond their post-spawn state and
feeding on whatever wiggles in front of them.
These lakes will tell you that you must key on some specific
spots where those walleyes are beginning to congregate. Sand to
muck transition areas, cobblestone piles, sand bars, and weedlines
will all hold walleyes. You can troll smaller crankbaits on the
weedlines, hover slip-bobbers over the rock piles, and run Roach
Rigs on the transition lines. There’s not much you can’t do to
satisfy the walleyes in the pothole lakes.
So when you are out on the lakes this opening day, listen.
Listen to what those lakes are telling you to do. Each one has a
story and if you follow the plot you will discover more quickly how
to get to the happy ending.