Does anyone like slush? I don’t think so. The slush today was bad and it got much worse as the day wore on.
We began the day in the dark and set up in a new location. It took a few extra holes to the a good layout of the area but when all was said and done, our spread spanned a depth range of 5-24 feet of water.
The flags started immediately with a few run and drops, bass, and pike. The target were walleye but they sure were playing hard to get.
As the day passed, the action remained slow and flags became more scarce after about 11am. We made a small move with a few tip ups in the early afternoon after seeing a walleye on the underwater camera which my buddy jigged up almost immediately after. The move proved ineffective but it was closer to walking off none the less.
At dark we gave the bait a few more minutes to soak in hopes that the walleye would move in. The final few traps yielded a walleye and a bass. Whether they were on for a bit or us moving closer made them finally move, it’s fun to see a flag spring up under the bean of a headlight!
It was a tough day but even a tough day is good. It makes you appreciate the good days that much more!
Here is a video compilation from earlier this winter while we were searching for walleye.
I ventured out with a buddy well before daylight today. We set up base camp in a saddle between two humps and began placing tip ups along various contours on both sides. Our depths ranged from 14 out to nearly 30 and as the sun rose we were surprised that the flags weren’t flying. It wasn’t until nearly 7:30 that we got our first flag, and walleye. After putting it back, another flag popped on the other end of our spread. Sled in tow we made our way over and pulled in another walleye within only minutes of the first. With two fish caught and released, we had high hopes that the rest of the day would follow suit.
While waiting for flags, we set up a two man flip over shack on one side of the hump trying to jig up perch, bass, walleye, or whatever else might swim by. The jig bite was slow but we stayed plenty busy chasing flags from end to end. Mostly the action was run and drops so we figured the perch were moving through in small schools. However, the perch that we were catching were tanks!
As the day passed, we cooked up a meal of venison sausage for a lunch. The fish were nice and allowed us to eat in peace with no action. After filling our bellies, another slug of perch came through not giving us time to settle and digest. Could be worse though!
As the daylight started to fade, we checked all of our traps to make sure that we were squared away for a successful evening bite. Again we had a back to back walleye episode as well as several more perch. The night was concluded with an after dark, sure bet on walleye flag that turned out to be a rockbass. After the bite abruptly ended, we decided to pack it up and make for home.
We ended the day with 8 or 9 walleye, a bunch of smallmouth, and a couple meals of perch.
After a semi successful first trip chasing walleye, we decided to take another stab at it. We decided to fish the exact same body of water, same reef, same everything. This time however we were able to get set up a little sooner in the day since we had updated our GPS location on our Navionics app from the previous trip.
Our 21 lines were set and baited by the time the sun peeked over the hills. Our expectations were high and we felt confident the action would be fast right off the bat. Well, we were wrong for the most part. Just after getting set up our first flag fired and we were able to land a nice fat walleye just under the legal length. We were off to a great start, however, from there we went a few hours without getting another flag and quickly became a little discouraged.
One thing that we’ve learned over the years of trying new spots and new techniques is not give up. Being discouraged is tough to handle but can be a good thing to experience as long as you use it to figure out what you might be doing wrong. Something had to be different so the conversation was started as to why the fish weren’t acting the same as they did the week before. We soon came to two major differences.
Walleye, and their feeding habits can be severely altered by the moon phase. This trip was right between full moons while the week before we were directly following a full moon. Walleye love to feed during a full moon, a “no moon”, and for the three days or so on either side. We were in limbo with this trip, well after the full moon and enough before the “no moon” phase that the fish weren’t super active. The fish still bit but not as consistent as the week prior.
Another important detail that we determined was a factor was the pressure. Now I know when you hear pressure you automatically think barometric pressure. We’re talking about fishing pressure, and not even so much the number of people on the ice but the amount of noise top side really seemed to impact these fish. The first trip we had flags go up and barely spool out any line. Often times this is a sign that we surely had a walleye. Makes sense now. On the first trip, we were the only people fishing, noise was minimal, fish were relaxed and feeding. The second trip consisted of 14 plus fishermen in the area we were fishing and two of the groups were using ATV’s to check their lines. What tipped us off to this was this time when a flagged tripped the spool was burning. The fish were spooky from the noise, they were still feeding but they didn’t sit under the hole to eat the bait. They were on the run once they got the bait.
Walleye are very sensitive to noise and the phase of the moon! Remember that next time you target them and hopefully you’ll be able to put a few more on the ice.
As a new year started, we decided to embark on a new adventure. As outdoorsmen, the two of us are constantly trying to learn and expand our knowledge. For a few years now we have been talking about Walleye. We’ve done our work in the spring, summer, and fall months to consistently locate decent numbers of fish but have yet to dial them in the through the ice.
The first body of water we hit was one that we spent some time on with a buddy who knows how to catch walleye. Through several trips we located located humps, deep holes and other subtleties that might hold fish come ice-up. With that knowledge and a few tips from our local walleye “professor”, we plotted a course for an early morning walleye bite. Arriving to the water well before daylight, darkness and excitement filled the air.
If you haven’t looked into the Navionics app for your mobile device you should. By using this app we were able to input coordinates which would take us directly to a small hump/ledge as our destination. We drilled holes surrounding the structure hoping to catch fish as they slid up down and around the structure to feed. Our presentation was nothing special. We used tip ups with large shiners staggered in depth within a few feet of the bottom. We set from 11 feet of water out into the mid 20’s hoping to cover as much water and as many walleye locations as possible.
We were maybe halfway through our set as the first flag went off. After a brief struggle, the first fish head of the new year filled the hole and Dylan was holding a beautiful 21 inch chunky walleye. Getting that first fish on the ice sure did feel good. Something totally new to us and we didn’t even have lines in the water for 10 minutes! While still celebrating the success, Bobby and a close friend of D&B Mark, both landed a nice walleye each within 15 minutes of Dylan icing the first. Boy it sure was shaping up to be a good day!
As the day progressed the fish seemed to slide into the deeper water as did our baits! The majority of our morning flags came between 15-20 while mid day flags were mainly between 22-28 FOW. The bite slowed as the day wore on but we were having action just about ever half hour minus the constant pestering from the perch.
Around 1, we had to start heading home as we had run out of bait and were pulling unbaited traps from their holes. We released a bunch of nice walleye and took home some slabber perch. It was a great start to the new year and I’d say we have the confidence to run this pattern elsewhere that we explored this past summer!
I’ve put a lot of walleye in the boat the past couple of years fishing the Connecticut River and the tributaries of Lake Champlain jigging. One thing we haven’t done a lot of is learning how to troll for them over large areas. The opportunity arose to going trolling for walleye with a friend and I jumped at the chance to learn something new.
Our plan was to take an afternoon/evening trip to one of the few inland ponds in Vermont that has a sustainable walleye population. I had never personally fished this pond before and my fishing buddy had only been on it a few times in the past having decent success.
The pond was great, one deep hole but lots of humps with weeds a top of them and rocky shores. I wanted to learn how to run in-line planner boards with cranks so we set one board on either side with cranks and two lines out the back running spinners.
There is a lot more to trolling than just simply cruising around dragging baits behind the boat, especially for walleye and I quickly learned why. Speed and boat depth control are very important to keep your baits at an effective depth. A good sonar unit with a chartplotter is also an essential tool in catching roaming walleye. We made several passes through our first spot and I missed a decent fish on the spinner.
Through conversation about good places to look for fish we made our way through a stretch that my buddy hadn’t fished before. This particular spot was nothing more than a gradual inside turn pushing up to a rocky shore, I thought it looked like a fishy spot on Navionics. While we made our first pass through the spot, we had our first fish on for the afternoon. The 21” walleye came on a spinner tipped with a crawler. Starting to think that the spinner bite was key, we switched over to running just spinners. We had a quick bite to eat and motored over to another spot on a rocky hump. While making our first pass, we started to mark a good number of fish laying on the bottom when we hooked into our second fish of the day. Another nice walleye, this one coming into the net at 22”.
As the sun went down and daylight faded, we decided to call it a day. A very productive day in my mind. Some the best ways to learn something new is to just do it, it also helps to have good friends that are willing to share with you their knowledge.
With hopes of some walleye willing to bite, a buddy and I were on the water for sunrise. The bite was slow but with enough water to keep us occupied until he had to go to softball late in the afternoon, we figured that we would find something to save the trip. We fished spot to spot that had produced in the past with very limited success.
While the rockbass were willing to bite just about everywhere, it wasn’t until we got in some shallow water that we found some bluegill and perch. Big gills too! Anywhere that there was woody debris in the water with weeds nearby seemed to hold quite a few biters.
After locating several new spots that the panfish were holding up on, we spent the rest of the day scanning the bottom looking for new structure. We marked some new trees and bottom irregularities that looked promising. While this part of the day was just about wrapped up, I had plans to hit the water later that night with Bobby for some trout!
We motored around a good deal of the lake as neither of us had been there before. We never found much promise but after a seeing a few fish in a tight area we anchored up and submerged the Hydro Glow Fishing Lights.
Fishing before the sun set was pointless. It was nearly impossible to keep the small perch off the hook. Once it was dark things changed. Although we didn’t catch a ton of fish, the perch more than doubled in size and the water below us loaded up with smelt. Lake trout were the only trout species we caught even though rainbows were our target. The lakers that we caught were spitting up tons of smelt when we brought them into the boat.
One of the key points from the night was that lakers wanted the bait moving. Maybe only a few inches up and down but constantly. After a few hours of tough fishing we decided to pack it up and make for home. We learned a new body of water and caught a new species at night.
We will be back soon!