This past Saturday May 5th marked the opening day of walleye Season here in Vermont. I had the opportunity to fish with Scott Blair. The plan was to head north to the Missisquoi River which is usually a great early season walleye destination. The weather man was calling for cloudy skies in the morning and temps in the 50’s, not the case. After a late start because of over two hours of travel time, we arrived to find the parking lot of the boat launch packed full of cars and trucks with trailers from other fishermen. This spot is no secret and from the stringers we could see when launching the boat the fish were biting.
We launched the boat and managed to find a spot in the mess of boats, there were probably 30-40 boats fishing a quarter mile stretch of river. The presentation was simple. A 1/4oz or 3/8oz jig head tipped with a minnow, jigged over the side of the boat. There was a decent amount of current that day so it took a little strategic maneuvering by Scott to keep the boat in position. River jigging can be a little tricky at times, the idea is to work the trolling motor so that the boat is slowly moving up river, jigging over the side while the current will work the bait towards the back of the boat. It is a very difficult technique to master. It’s important to match the weight of the jig with the amount of current so that you can always stay in touch with your jig bouncing on the bottom. When the current is strong a 3/8oz jig will help you feel the bottom when is key since the fish are laying on the bottom and most strikes occur when when the jig is falling. Calmer conditions will allow you to fish smaller jigs as the weight is not necessary in order to feel bottom. Detecting bites is the hardest part, many times you won’t actually feel a “bite” there will just be weight, it’s either a fish or a tree, for me it was usually a tree. We like to use an 8-9 foot rod with a fast tip, 6-8 lb line with a 4lb leader connected to the main line by a barrel swivel.
I hate to say it, but we missed the bite, many boats had very respectable stringers that arrived at dawn. We only managed one fish and that was caught by Scott the walleye magnet! We did have quite a few bites that we missed due to our lack of experience detecting these bites. The one fish that was boated was warty. . This is a common condition in Vermont and the state issues no warning against consuming these fish. This disease is present mainly in adult fish and is most commonly found in their spawning grounds while the fish are in close quarters or at times touching More information can be found on the VT Fish & Wildlife site at “Lymphocystis and Walleye Dermal Sarcoma“. You can see the fish with warts below.
All and all, not the best day in terms of catching but any day on the water with good friends and fishing is a great day in my mind. We’ll be back after the walleyes this week and will have more to share. Thanks for reading.