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> Walleye opening and pike potential
Posted: May 29, 2011 - 06:47 am

Parr Trout

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

A week ago saw our local walleye opening, and from what I found, hear and see, despite cooler than usual water temps, it was not too bad on the overall. I believe that the five-to-eight- degree cooler than normal water temps kept the bite from being what would be regarded as a 'hot' bite by most.

I talked with people fishing Lake Nipissing, the French River, Spanish River and Serpent River systems, and all but the latter had a reasonablely decent opening day catches.

The Serpent River has been legally gill-netted extensively at spawning time over the past five years and the walleye fishery there has nearly collapsed. To my mind, as a graduated environmental technician, this proves that this activity is non-sustainable -- especially considering that the fish were netted primarily during the spawning run. No one wins with such a deleterious activity!

The fact that this is legal, to my mind, should be discussed by the politicians and the law changed so that no one can harvest these fish during their spawning run, anywhere in Ontario.

Most of the river fishers mentioned that swift currents were a challenge, and most told me that bright-coloured lures were working best, and most were fishing in 'the holes' which, in my mind, is water deeper than arbitrarily 8-10 down to 20 feet deep.

If river fishing, due to swifter than usual water, you'll need to use more weight to get down deeper, and Indiana, willow-leaf or split tail-style spoons on crawler harnesses will run better than either sonic in-line or Colorado-style blades.

Again, this year the age-old rule of thumb, use bright colours on bright days and dark colours on dark days and in the evening is proving to be a good strategy for most.

Pike fishers have also been taking decent catches so far this year, and these from slightly shallower water (arbitrarily from 2-8 feet deep) which is warming quicker. Top water body baits such as flourescent Rapala minnows, Canadian Wigglers and even brightly coloured spoons such as William's Wobblers have been working well for these often very large fish.

Of special consideration is that when fishing shallower water especially right now, you'll have a much greater than usual chance at catching a smallmouth bass which are also spawning. The smallmouth season is still closed. These fish must be released immediately back into the water so as to do as little harm as possible to the fish. I urge people to use restraint when fishing water with spawning smallmouth -- to catch and release them will stress them out, especially on water that is heavily fished as they may well be caught multi times a day. This will lessen the chances of a successful spawn, and competitor fish will rush in and eat many of the eggs before the fish gets back to defend the nest.


* Go slow, walleye and most fish are still sluggish as the water has not warmed up yet, and they will be slow to respond to your bait/lure presentation. My favoured walleye trolling (or retrieving) speed is just under a mile per hour. For pike, the tempo can be taken up slightly faster, but for many top water plugs, I like to use a herky-jerky action and then allow the plug to lay relatively motionless right on top of the water for a few seconds as part of my rhythmic presentation.

* Shoal areas with fast drop-offs, especially those transisting to either sand or dark bottoms will usually hold walleye. If the water is especially clear or the fish spooky, then use a side planer board to sneak in and take the fish.

* Do you need more information -- can I be of more assistance? What are you seeing out on the water that concerns you? Do keep in touch -- that's what I'm here for, and email's fast, effective and inexpensive.

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