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winter walleye tactics

fishing for walleye on hard water

dan kiazyk

on 23 September 2013

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Transcript of winter walleye tactics

Ice fishing for trophy
walleye on the Red River
and Lake Winnipeg
Dec. 8, 9. 2012

Don't forget: safety first.... no walleye is worth your life! Follow generally well established rules when it comes to ice safety.
Both the Red River and
Lake Winnipeg are often
ready to go early in
December...... BUT...........
When is such a tricky issue;
Most often the bite is best at the beginning
and end of season.....
How you do
it has an impact ....no doubt at all
There's a lot of considerations when it comes to the with "what" shelter when fishing the Red or Lake Winnipeg
"how" finally
does it........

Lake, river or reservoir,
of course we're blessed in Manitoba
with a variety of options for
trophy walleye
Hunting for
trophy walleye
means going to
where the
largest walleye
My choice for giant walleye would have to be the Red River or Lake Winnipeg
Once you've got safe ice then its a matter of developing a pattern
2. There's the "where"
during the day
3. There's also the "where"
depending on the when
in the season
4. And finally there's the "where"
the species is naturally attracted to....
Part one of the pattern
depends on a number of "wheres"
Later on in the season (just before the end of season) has fish warming up and getting ready to spawn
Pre-spawn fish seem to have that hungry edge about them. Late winter will be a good time to get after some of the biggest fish in the system
It's also a question of when....
Of course "when" involves what time you start and what time you'll fish to ...
Morning most often on the Red river and Lake Winnipeg seems best and evening can be great.....there can even be a noon to two big fish bite... why? I guess that's why they're big
don't forget sound and glow....
one or the other or both
as the season progresses you'll be shedding one or both and.... keep in mind that the
size of jig can matter
as the season progresses
just go big and noisy and see
what happens
I'll generally suggest three general options when it comes to what;
The beginning of the ice season means fish haven't seen a hook for at lest a month and ice cover has created a calming/pressure stable context. Water temps are still cooling and fish can still be feeding with a Fall attitude.
In the middle of the winter on those bitterly cold/bright days I've seen walleye 3 feet below the ice over 17 feet of water (warmer water rises and the shiners will be up feeding in it)
On some days when the lake is "making ice = making noise" - early morning or as the sun goes down fish can be really "skiddish" - watch your flasher!.
I'll also do the "what" with a view
to the "shelter" I'll need.
When its super cold and blowing that's 'when"a good flip top or pop up tent will make all the difference to being able to concentrate on what you're out there to do......fish for giant walleye. Lots of stuff to haul a flip
top works well. Going light,
a pop up is the ticket
Earlier on in the season our walleye don't seem to mind stuff that is a bit larger, noisier, brighter. So.....
1. Jigs
2. Spoons
3. body baits
Don't forget the bait!
A good selection of natural and artificial may save the day.... color, size, salted, fresh, live
Tip: use a chunk of gulp or powerbait to keep those minnows in place
Keep in mind some other stuff that will make your day a good one
a. A lighting system
and fan or both
b. A heater (propane)
c. Boot grips, or some kind of base/floor mat, shovel, ice scoop
or just there....so to speak
Fishing with a flasher/sounder
is one of the biggest innovations
to come along in a long time .... It's our eyes in the Red and Lake Winnipeg
Not comfortable or properly geared-up in my
business means you're going to be thinking about
stuff other than the finesse or that change to a
jigging motion that might
make a big difference........ and a happy angler
Many of you here are accomplished anglers and have your way of being successful on ice......what I'll suggest here is what has made a difference for myself and the
guests that fish with me.....

The approach I'll be talking about
today is simply being a
student of the fishery over a
number of years..... and the
learning isn't done yet.
1.The "first" where considers where
you will fish for giant walleyes.
I'll usually start on the Red River
and then migrate out to the lake
Why the river then the lake....? Given the Red receives its annual Fall migration of greenbacks and we've just finished fishing them on open water, these walleye are easier to pinpoint. With the first month of ice the walleye also seem to act as though there was a stabilizing effect in their environment. Stability in any weather pattern seems to get the walleye that much more receptive to our angling efforts
Why the lake later? No good reason...the Lake is good to go as soon as the ice is safe. The river however is my first option as it tends to focus fish in certain locations, locations where they were just before the ice went on. The lake's fish are a bit more dispersed and a run and gun approach is required (as it is often throughout throughout the season....)
The where during the day is
essentially shallower earlier on in
the day and deeper as the day
goes on.
Some days you can go back in
shallower for the evening but
generally I'll stay or go to where
I've had the most success during
the day
Over the years I've noticed a general
trend of shallower and more concentrated
earlier on in the (early/late winter)
season and deeper and more dispersed
in the dead of winter. They also seem to
go to the deeper parts of the river as
winter progresses.
This final consideration will depend on the nature of the fish....find rocks, sand bars, ledges and you may have that spot on a spot. Sunny days may also have fish up in the water column looking for shiners. Darker days will have them belly to the bottom.
First ice, or that time period of a month or so after the ice goes on, will also be a very good time to get after the system's biggest fish.
As the water cools down with the onset of the heart of winter, the bite tends to slow down as well. Morning and evening bites will become more compressed
Size and color and accoutrements will have an impact on effectiveness. Consider a stinger as there are those days when the bite will be short. Live bait or prepared plastics/bio baits will be inevitable considerations
Similar to jigs color and size will be important considerations. A wide variety of flutter, flash, and added components are possible here.
Rattle, size and color, shape (some are thinner and others are wider) - resembling different kinds of baitfish that walleye might be feeding upon
4.terminal tackle
5. Rods & reels
This consideration means those little additions that might just make the difference on those days when the going gets tough.
i. A piece of gulp or powerbait as a minnow stop
ii. a glow soft bead, or a single bead tied above or at the target.
iii. an inline swivel to decrease line twist when ripping a body bait
iv. a home made stinger made using tool-dip
Finally, the most personal of considerations when getting out to tangle with a giant walleye will involve your choice of fishing rod. Fast- slow action; medium-light-or ultra light power; length, cork or EVA handles, nitride or ceramic guides. Depending upon the type of angling I'll be doing on any given day will dictate what kind of rod I'll bring along to fish for walleye. I've heard it said that your choice of rod is as personal as your choice of golf clubs.
In general I'll rig rods to match up with the three types of presentations that I've mentioned above. Dave Genz and Jason Mitchell have an excellent selection of ice systems to match the type of fishing that you'll be doing. I guess it goes with the saying that your work will only be good as the tool you bring to bare upon it. A higher quality rod means better feel, more control over the presentation or just a better hook-up when needed
d. An aerated bait bucket with extra batteries
f. and ..... your auger with extension (up here for sure)
e. Sleds, rod lockers, tackle boxes
Here you are looking for a reactionary bite. Some of the tackle you'll use here is far more "life-like" than we've ever seen before. Even though the point here is to get a fish to bite as a reaction this reaction will be to a bait that looks like real forage. The idea here is to present what fish will react to .....
Size, colour, sound are all going to factor in. Glow, scent and little things are going to make a difference. Live bait often is factored in with this approach. The idea here is to go as close to what the fish actually eat as your means to getting fish to bite
The proverbial "dead-stick" is what will make the difference on occasion. Interestingly, many tip-ups will fit in with this approach
There are considerations
as to when that are related
to weather. The longer you've
got any consistency, high or
low pressure, the better the
fishing will be. At the end of
any pressure system will be
good and the beginning of any pressure system it'll be slow
In the heart of winter the bite is far less predictable. You'll have to move a lot more and expect the bite to be slower some days.
And there are those days when things just go well. The bait your presentation are what they want....
"Just being there" in the heart of winter doesn't just mean a tip-up. When fishing the Red or Lake Winnipeg I like to focus on "indicators" and stuff that helps keep my focus on those indicators.
a) A rod holder that can indicate a fish is biting is often a good tool. Some of these holders are based on fulcrum or "loaded" mechanisms.
c) A slip float or some other floating indicator can be a fun way to fish ... and it's sometimes the ticket on those middle of winter "negative bite" days
b) Even a pail (on which you'll place your rod) and perhaps a change of type of fishing pole can often work as an adaptation to providing you with a strike indicator.
An insulated pail is even better.
sure... you could do
it with a truck and a
chair but that might
mean you're not
comfortable or ready
for that one big bite....
It's a question of where...
....and with
definitely makes a difference

River and lake currents are
significant and will effect the
whole fishing picture. Everything
from zoo- and phyto- plankton,
small critters up to shiner minnows
all the way up to walleye will be
influenced by how much current
there may be any given year.
Clothing.... our last line of defence against the elements. The "what"of ice fishing that has changed enormously over the past few years.
a. Fishing suit
b. Hats, mitts/gloves
c. boots
d. .....and the "under" wear
Getting out there with "what" is a consideration as well....
The "where" will be based on information that has been established for us
... and there's always more information.
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