After 3 failed attempts to connect on a spring walleye on Lake Champlain I finally got a hook in one.
I got on the water first thing in the morning with my guide for the day Scott Blair from VTSportsman. The reports had been decent from the days before so hopes were high. We unloaded the boat and headed out of the marina, the first spot was not far at all, just around the corner. We had decided to use the same technique that I had discussed before, 3/8oz jig tipped with a minnow. We also were prepared to drag crawlers if needed but “only if we had to”. I rigged up two rods, one with a jig and one ready to drag a crawler. It didn’t take too long to get a hit once I got them both in the water. The first rod to fire was the rod set up with a crawler. I had high hopes from the type of bite that were had landed right on a school of nice walleye but up came a decent 12″ white perch. Back in the water with him and back to jigging for me. Shortly after that Scott hooked up with a healthy walleye, just under the 18″ length requirement of Lake Champlain. This was a good sign as walleye are schooling fish and where there is one there should be more! The bad sign was, it was a small male, close to the mouth. For the time of the year and the water temp this means that the spawn is just about over and the fish are on their way out of the river, we better hurry and get these fish before they leave the river for good. Another half hour of jigging with nothing to show for lead us to a new spot, well we thought we’d fish it but when we came around the corner there were about 15 boats drifting and dragging crawlers through the section of river that we wanted to jig. Most boats had stringers out so we knew that there were some fish close by. We kept right on going up river to another spot away from the crowd that has produced fish in the past. It didn’t take long upon arrival for me to hook into my first walleye of the season. I could tell by the bend in my rod that it was a decent fish. I find the fight of a walleye to be an interesting fight. First of all you only about 6 feet of line out when jigging so the hook set is quick and the fish is right there! Keeping your drag set light is key, if you horse these bigger fish often times you’ll pull the jig right out of their mouth. I let the fish take some line and eventually Scott was able to get the fish into the net. It was a respectable 26″ inch fish.
The next hour or so brought Scott three more short fish but none that were keepers. We left the water at 11am with only one keeper in the boat but that was ok since I was finally able to get a hook in one. Walleye fishing is just about over for me for the summer, time to start chasing the crappies on structure. Stay tuned for more posts and some great tips on catching Vermont’s crappie in the summer off structure!