Walleye weekend in region

For many anglers across Sunset Country, walleyes are the species of choice throughout the open-water season—and for good reason.
In my opinion, we have the best walleye fishing in the world, with countless lakes and rivers that offer world-class fishing for both numbers and big fish.
The third Saturday in May marks the annual walleye season-opener and it’s tradition for many folks to get out in the boat this weekend to catch some fish and cook up a fresh batch.
With the early ice-out this year, walleyes have spawned and should be set up in predictable locations near their spawning areas on opening day.
Over the years, we all have learned a few of those spots that are good year after year—and most likely those will be good again this year.
With low water on area lakes this year, things may be a little bit different, but most likely fish still will be close to their usual spots. If you’re headed out on a new body of water or want to expand your fishing spot list, however, there are a few things I like to look for when I’m searching for fish.
Sand always is good early in the year. Walleyes will be found in shallower water right now than any other time of the year, and one of my favourite places to find them is around beaches.
Beaches often are overlooked by anglers but they almost always produce fish early in the year. We usually just will pitch jigs tipped with soft plastics or minnows and bounce them along the bottom back to the boat.
Areas with current usually are good early in the season, as well. Walleyes are lazy for a couple of weeks after they finish spawning so sitting in little holes around current is an easy place to find a quick meal.
They just sit on the bottom waiting for food to drift past and eat whenever they get an opportunity.
When it comes to choosing your presentation or lure, there are three set-ups that I rely on early in the season. The standard jig and minnow is pretty tough to beat day in and day out.
Light-weight jigs (think 1/8 ounce) usually are better, though, because they move a little bit slower.
If you’re covering water looking for fish, a spinner rig fished behind a bottom bouncer is great for trolling. I’ve had success using both nightcrawlers and minnows on my rigs.
A one-ounce bottom bouncer is versatile, and can be used in depths from six feet to 20 feet. Gold blades are my favourite colour on most Sunset Country lakes.
Finally, I challenge everybody to try using some soft plastics on their jigs instead of live bait this weekend and this season. The soft plastics available to anglers today are so life-like and most are scented with fish attractant.
My favourites are three-inch minnow imitators like the Jackall Clone Fry or the Northland Impulse Smelt Minnow.
With soft plastics, you can fish them a little more aggressively than live bait because you won’t tear your bait off the hook. You also don’t want to let the fish inspect the bait as much.
By jigging more aggressively, you create a reaction strike from the fish and on some days this is a great tactic.
Unfortunately for me, I’m missing the walleye-opener this weekend because I’m down at Lake Eufaula in Alabama for the fourth stop on the FLW Tour.
I can tell you I’m certainly getting warmed up for summer. The temperature here has been above 30 degrees C every day, with little wind.
My practice has been going okay so hopefully I can have a better tournament this week than I’ve had in the previous few events. I’ve not been having a great season so far but I’m ready to change things around.
My dad is just recently retired and he is along fishing with me this week; we’ve been having fun.
Good luck walleye fishing this weekend. I can’t wait to catch a few when I get home next week!

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