Vary jigging techniques to find more walleye
From the floods of the spring, the unseasonably cold summer, the transition into the poor weather of September and October -- we are rewarded now with this an unseasonably warm and pleasant November.
The fishing has continued to be good for me with chasing walleyes on our area lakes. The evenings have been beautiful. The water temps are at about 42 degrees and the bite has remained stable and consistent. The best bite time is from 4 to 6 p.m. This time last year, we were skimmed over with ice. The forecast of the next ten days looks like we will continue to have open water fishing into early December.
Muskie action continues on Big Detroit and Pelican lakes. Big Northern Pike are taking big sucker minnows or stick baits on Mellissa. Walleyes have come from vertical jigging in 22 to 30 feet of water with small suckers or big rainbow chub minnows.
From my outings of the last week, I will suggest that you make sure you vary your jigging techniques to find out what is working best. It seems to vary from day to day. The simple vertical lift and drop will work some of the time, but not all the time. I will sometimes "pop and drop" the jig, sometimes just leaving it on the bottom and twitching it turns the trick, a lift and hover/hold and drop, and sometimes a drag of the jig on the bottom will get the fish to go for you. If you feel the classic walleye "tick" on the jig, set the hook right away, if you feel just pressure or a "pulse" on the line, wait with just enough tension on the line to maintain feel of the fish until you feel the "tick" or pull and then set. There are times when you may need to drop pressure off the jig or even feed line like you are live bait rigging before setting the hook.
Playing around with your presentation, paying attention to how they are taking the bait, and repeating what is working will put more fish in the boat. If you are still marking fish, but the bite has slowed, try changing colors, minnow size, and jigging style. Changing up your jigging cadence can sometime add another fish or two to the outing. The fun for me is not just in the catching, but the process of figuring out location, and what works to get them to bite.
The enjoyment of the beauty of our lakes and woods, time with friends, or time for solitude with myself and nature, are all a part of the whole package that make up the fishing experience.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)