Walleye Fishing Tips
The location of early spring walleyes in Brainerd, Minnesota depends largely on the time of ice out. On years when the ice leaves the lakes late, the walleyes may still be relating to the spawning areas. The walleyes spawn in any shallow location that contains current and gravel. The current can be caused by a river, creek, or even wave action of predominate winds. Current continually washes the gravel and insures the walleye's eggs will not silt over. On years when I suspect the walleyes are still relating to spawning areas, I like to fish walleyes in these situations with a small Northland lipstick jig. I prefer using colors like chartreuse and green, in sizes 1/8 oz to 1/4 oz. I usually tip the jig with a shiner minnow. I'll pitch the jig into a likely spawning area, let the it settle on the bottom, then slowly drag it back in. Don't work it fast. The water's still cold during these types of Minnesota springs and walleyes won't be able to move very fast under these conditions. Fish slow, but don't fish hours in the same location. Years of working as a Brainerd walleye fishing guide have taught me one thing, either the walleyes are thick in these locations or they're gone. Walleyes need rocks to spawn, but they sure don't eat them! The next locations to check are the sandy, slow tapered, breaks that have cabbage weeds. The closer these locations are to known walleye spawning areas, the better. These types of spots are usually the cabbage beds are typically the location of the first good walleye bite each spring in the Brainerd Lakes area. The typical fishing depths range from 12 to 18 feet of water. But on some of the clearer lakes in the Brainerd area, this might be as deep as 24 feet. The sun's rays can reach deeper, and allow weeds to grow deeper, on these types of lakes. Wherever the weeds stop, that's where most of the walleyes will be during this time of year. My favorite technique for fishing walleyes in these situations is live bait rigging. My favorite bait in May is a small spot-tail shiner. I like to hook the shiners lightly through the chin and then out through one of the nostrils with a #4 hook. These delicate baits will last longer and swim livelier when hook in this manner. A 1/4 oz walking sinker with a 30 inch Snell has accounted for many limits of May walleyes in my boat. Northland tackle makes a nice combination that's already tied up for you.