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> Walleye opening next weekend
  Posted: May 16, 2011 - 08:13 am

Parr Trout

Group: Newbies
Posts: 88
Member No.: 605
Joined: March 22, 2011

Walleye opened on May 1 out on the 'big water' of Fisheries Management Unit (FMU) 14, which includes much of the North Shore and the North Channel of Georgian Bay. Walleye for most of the water regarded as 'inland water', including the relatively larger water of Lake Nipissing, will open next weekend, the third Saturday of May on May 21.

I've been out fishing on the big water, despite cool winds and the rather late 'ice-out' we had not so long ago. The water and land are very slow to warm up this year, and we started off with a later-than-usual smelt run/spawn, and ditto for the pike, walleye and perch. Smallmouth bass are already locating and making their spawning nests and anyone fishing pike in the slightly warmer shallow zones will likely pick them up by mistake -- be sure to quickly release them so they can finish their job, please.

The Serpent River is a relatively cold-water river and the water temperatures this past week were on, Sunday, May 8, 46-47 F, whereas the water temps in Spragge Harbour, which is one of the many finger/fiord-like bays off Georgian Bay, was reading in slightly warmer at the 48-49 F range.

On Wednesday evening of May 11, they had risen almost 6 F to the 51 F mark in the river, with the lake similarly at 51-52F.

The Spanish river, a slightly larger and warmer river than the Serpent, was true to form and reading in at the 52-53 F range when I was there late this past week. These temperatures are all on the low side of the desired spawning temps of the walleye, and the spawning run is in full swing as you read this. By next weekend's walleye opening, my opinion is that the overall spawn, while still in progress, should be nearly done -- but not quite. Fishers will likely catch still-ripe females this year, and I appeal to you to do the right thing and release them back so it can continue on it's procreatic run!

Make no mistake, the current in most area rivers is still quite swift, so river fishers will need to use heavier weights to get down, and I prefer to use willowleaf, Indiana and Dakota-style blades which work better at swifter speeds. Lake fishers won't have this issue unless it's windy, which is always a concern opening day. Do dress warmly when on any water; even if the day turns out sunny; winds off the cold water are still extremely chilling.

Walleye, during spawn and post spawn situations can be reluctant to bite, and often a very slow speed will be needed for either trolling or bottom bouncing, and this is the same whether fishing lakes or rivers. This past week I found walleye out in the eight-to 10-foot depth range and pike in extremely shallow at the two-foot to five-foot range and smallmouth anywhere from three feet deep out to 10 feet deep. To go deeper is to go into even colder water I found, and I feel it's due to the later than usual warm-up this year.

My best luck was with shallow running lures for pike, and bright/flashy seemed to continue to turn them on. Body baits such as Rapala Minnow in the floating models will prove fatal for most pike right now; and so far, weed growth is also slow and only just starting to emerge.

My favoured starting walleye colour is a chartreuse crawler harness, and

chartreuse/copper colours work superbly. If the day is dull and overcast opening day, then have someone in the boat also using darker colours such as purple/black.


* Any fish out of cold water is at its yearly best -- mild and pristine -- and a feed of fresh fish is extremely healthy for you. Sudbury's local lakes are a source of superb walleye and pike -- especially Ramsey Lake.

* A good opening walleye presentation will have fishers start in shallow and work out to deeper water until you find fish. Walleye will be likely found relatively shallow (arbitrarily between eight and12 feet deep) right now, and out off points are always a good option.

* Large, shallow bays should produce decent lunker pike, and I like to use large surface body baits in any of the bright flourescent colours -- especially this cold/late year. Dabble and gently jerk the lure so it makes both movement and gurgling water sounds, then let sit motionless for a few seconds -- pure seduction to any lingering near-by pike!

* May 31 is the moose tag draw deadline, so you'd best get together with your hunting buds to co-ordinate paperwork needs.

* The blackflies are on now -- big time -- while DEET works well on blackflies, it's also proved effective to repel fish -- even at very dilute amounts -- keep it away from bait and fishing tackle!

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