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walleye, walleyes, jigging, jig, jigs


 Small Lake Walleyes
 By Ross Grothe

Living in the metro center of Minnesota and in the land of ten thousand lakes you often times don’t hear about walleyes taken out of the smaller lakes.  These lakes are those which are less that 1000 acres in size. Often they have no inlet or outlet, are of sufficient depth to provide oxygen during the long winter months, and have little or no reputation of being walleye producers.  In fact, many are stocked lakes with no natural walleye production.  These lakes may have a few or many shoreline cabins, but the fishing pressure is directed towards panfish.  Rarely do these panfisherman catch any walleyes except possible early or late in the season when they accidentally catch some when fishing minnows for crappies.  However, the walleyes do exist and can be caught with regularity by examining the specific characteristics of each particular lake. If you’re getting the feeling that this type of lake is more conducive to a relaxing sleepy vacation than to a spot for angling success, you
would be right. 

Most of the residents of the lake feel the same way. That’s why the fish are available.  This lake could contain northern pike over 15 pounds, bass over 6 pounds, and walleyes over 11 pounds.
Yet most of the people fish only for panfish since they believe big game fish are either not around or too difficult to catch. A big problem you might encounter when fishing one of these lakes is
the overabundance of bait stealing perch and sunfish.  This problem haunted me too. Those little 2" sunfish can really chew up a nice plump nightcrawler. This problem can be solved by switching from crawlers to leeches. Leeches are tougher than crawlers and can endure the nibbles of baitfish
and panfish while on the way to those walleye hang-outs. 

Backtrolling seems to be the best method for working an area that has potential fish holding structure.  I use my Yamaha Outboard motors 15 hp kicker motor tomove my Champion Walleye Boats 190 and an MotorGuide trolling motors the choice of walleye fisherman electric trolling motor to fish the contours, points, or the weedbeds of the lake.  I rarely anchor, but prefer to move back and forth in place by the use of the gas and
electric motor. My spinning rod is a light action rod that has 4 to 6 lb. test Stren Fishing Line Easy
Cast line and my terminal tackle consists of some light jigs and livebait rigs such as a Northland Tackle Roach Rig.  All leeches and crawlers are looked in the very tip.  Sometimes I’ll inject the crawlers with a shot of air to make them float.  During the so-called "dog days" of summer, the oxygen in some of these lakes gets diminished to the point where the walleyes are forced to move to shallower water.  In many of these lakes, the shallows hold the bait fish populations much of the time.  This shallower water is often filled in with aquatic vegetation to a certain degree.  The bars which were
productive in the spring of the year have walleyes  on them again, but the weeds which have emerged since then make it difficult to present bait effectively. The first method I use when fishing these cabbage weed covered bars consists of a Roach Rig with some slight but essential differences.
Instead of the traditional walking sinker, I use a bullet shaped sinker.  This rig is slowly worked through or along the edges of the cabbage beds bordering the dropoffs using a controlled drift or an
electric trolling motor.  Remember that shallow walleyes often spook when they hear an outboard overhead. There naturally are many other methods of rigging which will produce under different situations.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  There are probably more big fish in your nearby lake then you ever dreamed possible.  Open you eyes, use these techniques, and pack your confidence

along in your tackle box.  I hope to see you out on some of those small lakes this summer, I know that you will be catching walleyes rather than panfish.

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