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Super Sized Walleyes

 By Sam Anderson

Large walleyes are attracted to baitfish areas in the shallows during the early evening, dusk and on into the night.  There is also a pre dawn flurry of feeding.  Not all the fish are active at once, but all walleyes tend to be twilight feeders, because their eyes are adapted to
dim light.  Twilight feeding is most common in clear water lakes.  I’ve often found myself anchored shallow in the evening, waiting for the
SAm Anderson hoists another fine walleye into the boat. action.  Then, right at dusk, the shallow water feeding rush begins, and lasts perhaps an hour into dark, until the moon shines and the fish turn off.  This optimum period is the time to search for a trophy, by casting
along and into prime areas with a large minnow imitation lure.  Granted, small lures or live bait techniques will catch more fish, but if a large fish is the target, a large lure should be used.  Landing one dandy fish, for some fishermen, is more pleasing than a stringer full of eating sized walleyes.  Once the sun is below the tree line in the evening, or before the eastern horizon is even aglow in the morning, the trophy hunters head up along the shallows looking for the one serious sized walleye. Big Walleyes eat big minnows.  They tend to be selective feeders and will key in on a specific size of minnow that is more the size of a fish than what we generally refer to as a minnow.  In the summer I have found that medium sized 3 pounders and smaller also feed on crawfish and mayflies.
Your lures should be fairly large minnow imitations 4 to 7 inches, with plenty of quiver or wobble hinting of distress or injury.  Representing a slow, easy meal is the most productive presentation.  Retrieve slowly, bumping the bottom, just fast enough for lure action, yet not dragging the bottom.  Rod twitches and lifts enhance the action.  I would recommend a Rapala the lures of choice # 5 or # 7 Shad Rap in the minnow color or the black backed minnow color.   Sinking lures are best used over rocks, where varying the retrieve speed is used to keep the lure at the proper depth.  For
this type of situation I will use a Countdown Rapala in about a # 9 -#11.   Floating lures are your best bet over the weeds.  Experiment with color as well as size.  My best colors have been red or blue at dusk, and black and gold after dark.  The best lure for this presentation is a Rapala the lures of choice  Husky Jerk.  It can be pulled down over the top of the weeds and allowed to sit right above the weedbed enticing those hungry walleyes  Walleyes don’t smack the lure and then tear line off a screaming drag. On the 8 pound and up walleye the lure simply stops abruptly, as if it
has struck a stationary log.  You have to set the hook on every pause of the line, and even though most of the time the pause is a snag, sometimes it is a fish.  Often, if you don’t slam the hook home instantly, you will feel the stop, the weight, the head shake, then the line slack as the fish spits out the lure.  Big walleyes hit and spit as fast as any steelhead, rather than inhaling the lure and running like a northern pike.  Sometimes, on the retrieve, you can feel them nudge and bump the lure, much like a panfish batting a worm.  The only solution to such behavior is to speed the lure in hopes that the acceleration will incite a strike. A great time to fish is during early season, after the spawn, when the larger walleyes tend to linger near the rock and gravel spawning
shoals.  These shoals on inland lakes produce walleyes into midsummer, particularly if deep water is nearby. Once I was fishing a natural lake just after ice out and nobody was catching fish.  The walleyes weren’t deep, but they weren’t in the 8 to 15 foot depths they were supposed to be in, either.  It was a cloudless day, bright and sunny.  Quite by accident I found fish in 1 to 3 feet of water.  They were in clusters, small schools of five to ten fish, basking in the sunlight among the rocks.  Many of the fish lay with their dorsal fin almost out of the water.  I would toss a lure to the group and invariably one would blast my offering.  The big ones weren’t aggressive, though, and they easily spooked out into deeper water.  A walleye is a walleye, large or small.  They all have the same natural characteristics.  Large walleyes, however, have slightly different requirements than smaller ones.  Hawg walleyes are fussy feeders and
prefer large minnows.  They are also shyer and less competitive when feeding and prefer large minnows.  They don’t tend to school, although large walleyes seem to congregate in the same prime areas.  Large walleyes tend to act the same, and if an area produces one, chances are it will produce more.  This spring if you want to catch big walleyes you have to think about Super Sizing your offerings and fishing shallower to catch those trophy ‘eyes.

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