If you are a serious about walleye fishing, participating in a tournament or two might help you evolve into a better angler. There simply is not a better way to force yourself into focusing on the task at hand and catching big fish.
During the first open-water forays of the year, most walleye anglers – even your more sophisticated types – just don’t equate hard-bodied lures with success. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the facts.
Crawlers and walleyes go together like cookies and milk, but rigging a worm right isn’t as intuitive as you might guess. What you’ve been doing with crawlers may be timeless and proven, maybe a spinner harness on a bottom bouncer or as part of a trolling spread. Or maybe you prefer nose-hooking a fat crawler behind a slipsinker and letting it dance across complex structure. How about a Slow Death Hook and half a crawler.
First ice brings months of anticipation — better yet, anxiety — even long before the first leaf slowly tumbles down in early fall. But as good as early ice-fishing always is here in the Dakotas, I can honestly say that the urgency of what awaits us as we drift from the common doldrums of midwinter into the late- to last-ice periods can easily override even the best days that we have enjoyed to date.
BOLD IS BETTER THAN BASHFUL when it comes to the use of livebait to tempt big walleyes. I use a straightforward system that relies on large, lively chubs presented below tip-ups to tempt big fish. Big walleyes are finely tuned feeding machines that do their best to fill their bellies quickly, which is why they find it hard to resist a big chub. Retro system? Yes, but it works, especially when you fine tune the process.
What I relate here has been extracted from years of experience on expansive reservoirs such as those on the Missouri River—most notably Oahe—but applies on any large waterway with long stretches of relatively shallow structure, breaking sharply into deep water.