Now for the potential, and I stress, potential bad news...We share this glorious world with Mother Nature and, from time to time, she likes to let us know who is in charge. We know what weather we want, partly cloudy, Northwest wind blowing at 10-15 MPH, high 50's maybe 60's. But, what if opening day brings a massive cold front, after a week of 60's, opening day high 42 degrees. Or perhaps it is a blue bird, no wind, no clouds, high in the 60's, but no sign of the walleye chop that will provoke those finicky walleyes to be in a feeding mood. No matter, there are fish to be caught and you will be out there.
To combat the unexpected, I contacted some of the finest fishing minds in the north country to give you some tips, some "outside the box" ideas in case Mother Nature shows herself in her full glory.
Matt Breuer, Owner North Country Guides Service
On and around opener, most walleye anglers are looking for fish in either current areas, or shallow sand or rocks. I've heard anglers say that there's no need to fish deeper than 13 feet of water in the month of May. While this could hold true, and be a successful state of mind, there's no fun involved in fishing where everyone else is. Deep water goes untouched around opener, and the fish that inhabit the deep water might not see a bait in May. Don't be afraid of tying on a little heavier jig, and working 20-30 feet of water and beyond. Many early spawn fish will lay out in deep water resting. Some of the biggest fish in May are found in the deeper water. Concentrate on the bases of break lines and points. Don't discount mid-lake structure either, as some fish will spawn on humps and sunken islands, then simply slide off the shelf into the deep water to rest.
Jason Durham, Owner Go-Fish Guide Service
Capt. Tim Hanske, Leisure Outdoor Adventures
Since the infestation of Zebra mussels on the Gull Lake chain in the Brainerd Lakes Area, the clear water has made many anglers change techniques for catching walleyes. Slip-bobbers have become a staple in my boat. Slip-bobbers give the advantage of “stealth-mode” in these extremely clear waters. I like to hold that boat 30 feet away from the desired depth, and then cast the presentation to the fish. The best part is that you can adjust the slip-stop for any depth, increasing your coverage of the area. The right size jig, tipped with a leech or fathead minnow can really turn your day around!
Chuck Hasse, Leisure Outdoor Adventures