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
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
15 hp kicker motor tomove my
190 and an
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
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.
electric motor. My spinning rod is a light action rod that has 4 to
6 lb. test
Cast line and my terminal tackle consists of some light jigs and livebait
rigs such as a
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
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
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