Looking forward to walleye opener

This Saturday marks the opening of walleye season in Northwestern Ontario.
Judging from the success of fishing on the U.S. side of Rainy Lake this past weekend, the water had not warmed up enough for the favourite species to unlock their jaws.
My graph registered a high of 47 degrees F late Sunday afternoon as the sun beat down in our shallow bay. Three painted turtles sunned themselves most of the day, absorbing heat on a rock on the west side of our bay.
They didn’t move the whole time.
I had taken down some rods to the dock to practice my casting. The first cast with a bait caster ended with the spinner bait stopping abruptly in mid-air not 40 feet from the dock.
I glanced down at the reel and suddenly remembered that I had not reset the casting tension. A huge red bird’s nest faced me. And as I began pulling the line loose, tight curls of line dropped into the water.
When the last of the knots and loops had been freed, I began rewinding—only to discover that they, too, had twisted and knotted together. I cut the line away and hand pulled in the lure.
As I worked through the rods and reels, it became obvious that lots of new line will be spooled up in the next several weeks.
Some pinheads were swimming close to the shore. Mid-Sunday afternoon, a crayfish pulled itself out from under a rock. The water was crystal clear in a slightly golden brownish colour.
As I worked the various lures over rocks, bumping on the bottom, swimming them at differing depths, going from deep to shallow and then from beach into deeper water, nothing was attracted.
The fish really don’t come into our bay until the water warms up.
I dug into my map compartment and began examining my maps. I should mark them with a “W” for walleye, a “B” for bass, or a “N” for northern.
I have some dates marked, but a good fisherman has a “Bible” showing cloud cover, water temperature, wind and direction, and even air temperature. And also indicate the date and time of day the fish were biting.
I have pictures of me or someone else standing behind a fish and a date stamp from the camera. But the pictures are not carried in the boat.
I’ve always played the game that I could guess where the fish weren’t. Most times the fish weren’t where I was fishing.
I’m also always on the prowl for the latest revolutionary new bait or lure. And I have been caught—my tackle box is filled with lures that have never seen the water. I have packages of soft plastic lures that have never been opened.
The maps came out to help me remember where my most successful opening day fishing trips were. When my sons were young, our family would go up to the far reaches of Rice Bay and troll along shores for northern. If the kids caught fish, the day was successful.
We also would head way up into Grassy Portage bay for walleye. But they were not as dependable as the northerns for a fish fry.
I’ve read Jeff Gustafson’s column this week, and spoke with him on the phone to try and zone into some walleye fishing Saturday morning. I’ll give his recommendations a try.
My wife tells me that I will never ever need to buy another hook or lure. She fishes with a simple spinner bait that shows no preference to the species of fish that it will catch.
I’ll rig a dozen rods and one for her, then I will hop back and forth trying the different combinations. And at the end of the day, we will both have netted the same number of fish.
Hopefully, we will catch enough for a fish fry Saturday night.

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