Late-ice walleyes always a treat

I guess so long as winter is going to keep on lingering, I am going to have to continue to write about ice fishing—not that ice fishing is a bad thing, but I am ready for the snow to melt and get on with spring.
I have been hearing a lot of reports lately of giant walleyes being caught down on Rainy Lake. My good friend Dean Howard, who operates Campfire Island Lodge there in the summer, lives in Kenora during the winter and is one of my steady fishing partners.
He was down there last week and told me the fishing was excellent.
Up on Lake of the Woods, we spend most of our time targeting walleyes with spoons. Jigging spoons like the Northland Buckshot versions to be exact.
These lures produce fish extremely well all winter—and will continue to light it up into the spring.
Dean and I each have our own favourite colours; I like a little chartreuse, glow combination while Dean likes to stick with the more natural silver, glow version.
We typically will tip these spoons with a minnow head, which will attract more bites.
The reason we use just the head, and not the entire minnow, is the whole minnow will disrupt the action of the spoon too much, it will not fall the same, and it gets to be a large bait for a walleye to eat.
Funny thing was, when Dean showed up to fish with his buddies down on Rainy, everybody starting chirping that he might as well have left the spoon at Lake of the Woods because it was not going to catch fish on Rainy.
“You need to use a jig and a live minnow to catch ’em around here” was the phrase echoed the most.
Well, over the next four hours, Mr. Howard proceeded to catch walleye after walleye—and some big ones at that—on the Buckshot Rattle Spoon.
“The key,” says Dean, “is to watch your spoon on your electronics and watch which type of jigging action is attracting fish, and which type of action is triggering them to strike.
“You can watch how fish react to the bait on the sonar and this will help ice a lot more fish.”
As we inch closer to the April 15 close of walleye season, fishing should continue to improve. Fish are moving toward shallow spawning areas and the best places to find them are humps and shorelines leading into these areas.
As always, the evening bite will be the best.
And maybe by next week, some snow will start to melt.


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