Cold-water walleye fishing locations for spring 2013
No doubt about it, we’re in for a different sort of early open-water fishing in 2013. Whenever conditions are so out-of-sync, I review basic fish biology. In this case, that means walleye biology, specifically as it relates to the spawn.
The prespawn timeframe, which can be good fishing, occurs when water temperatures are in the low 40s. Spawning begins and runs during the 43- to 49-degree range, and this occurs quite quickly, though all fish don’t spawn in same place at same time. Once the water temperature hits the high 40s to around 50 degrees, fish enter the post-spawn period, when they’re recuperating. This typically is tough fishing, especially for larger female walleyes.
When temperatures hit the mid-50s to low 60s, we’re in that prime pre-summer period when fish become more aggressive. Most of us consider this the best walleye fishing of the year.
We’re clearly not even into a pre-spawn water-temperature range. For the sake of the days immediately following walleye openers, let’s assume we’ll have open water in most areas.
My basic approach will differ this year because I’ll start shallower than during an average year. Fish could very well be in a pre-spawn or spawning mode across much of the state come opener.
If approaching a new lake, mark likely shallow locations for finding fish. Look for sandy areas, gravel areas, or transition zones between the two where spawning activity might be taking place.
Now, most anglers will be targeting the shallows early this open-water walleye season. That fishing pressure will make fish skittish, especially in shallow water. They may very well retreat to deeper water, which will require a more finesse approach.
Try and find shallow areas with likely walleye habitat that other anglers aren’t working. Don’t fish boats, fish fish! The key to walleye fishing success any spring is finding your fish first. Do your homework.