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Talin' Fishin' Column: The first walleye trip is getting closer

It's getting closer. In fact, it's here for some anglers. That first walleye trip of the year is getting closer every day. Some Midwest states have an official Opening Day of Fishing Season, but for many folks it's just called the "Walleye Opener". And, for many, many Midwest anglers, their "Walleye Opener" kicks off on a lake. If you're going to be fishing a lake during the early part of walleye season, here are some ideas you'll want to keep in mind.

The walleyes will probably be quite close to their spawning areas this year. Look for rivers or streams that are entering the lake. Even culverts that are creating current will attract walleyes. This time of year, current will draw walleyes to an area. The best spots will be where there is rock rubble or sand with current.

Walleyes will often be quite shallow this time of year. I've seen times when their dorsal fins were sticking out of the water. In clear water lakes, their shallow movements will often take place at night, but if there is some stain in the water they will be there during the day as well.

Jigs will often be the best walleye producer this time of year. Eighth ounce jigs are probably the most used, but sixteenth ounce jigs will often be the most productive. A Fire-Ball jig is very hard to beat. Early season walleyes usually like a smaller bait, and the Fire-ball, with its short shank hook, enables us to create a smaller appearing bait. Some folks like to lip-hook minnows to the jig, but you should try putting the hook in the minnow's mouth and out the back of its head. The minnow's lips should be right against the head of the jig. By hooking it this way, the bait appears smaller and you don't cast the minnow off the jig as often.

Work the jig slowly along the bottom. Don't give it a lot of action. In the cold water of spring, a slow presentation is usually better. If the fish are wanting it slow, you might want to try a stand-up Fire-ball jig. This jig was designed to be crawled along the bottom.

Sometimes the walleyes will be in the newly emerging vegetation this time of year. If that's the case, try a jig tipped with a three inch minnow shaped Gulp! or Power Bait. These baits will fish much better through the vegetation, and the walleyes will readily eat them. With these baits, a faster presentation will be more productive. If you feel the jig catch on a piece of vegetation, give it a snap, than let is sink to the bottom.

That snapping action will often trigger a walleye into biting.

Six pound test Trilene Sensation will be about right in the clear water areas, go with eight pound Sensation or Trilene XT in the vegetation.

That first walleye trip of the year is always greatly anticipated: If you keep these ideas in mind, you'll increase your chances for success.

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