Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Shallow Water is Heating Up - Leech Lake Panfish

 I took a few hours this week to scout some of my usual early season panfish spots. What did I find? Crappies, Bluegills, Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Perch, Largemouth Bass, Pike and even a Bowfin.

I always start by looking for a "hard edge" like a harbor sea wall or thick bullrushes with 3-6 feet of water running up against it. 

53 degrees and rising is what kicks 'em into gear. These fish will still live in the 5'-15' stuff for a few more weeks but will picnic in the shallows on warm afternoons. 

There is just one more week to go before full-on Walleye mode, time to hit the shallows!

Cheers and hook-sets!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sweet Spring Time

Baseball, green grass and yes, Steelhead! My work brought me near Gitche Gummee today so naturally, I squeezed in a Steelhead session. I was able to land 3 out of 4 hook-ups, a good drag is a must for these dynamos. Hot pink plastics were the piece de resistance.  I am a firm believer that any fish can be caught on some combination of jig and plastic, we just have to figure out the right cocktail. 

This male and female were quickly put back to finish their business.

Cheers and hook-sets!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What’s In Your Leech L. Walleye Opener Tackle box?

With Walleye opener coming up fast, most of us already have a short list of tackle and presentations to start out the season. While compartments full of tackle boxes and bags are the norm on my boat, I usually keep a small arsenal of go-to tackle close at hand for mid to late May Walleyes.

Jigs – Light 1/8 oz jigs in green, gold, white, chartreuse and blue combos are the standard for working main lake points and flats in the 5’-12’ range.  Sometimes, popping the jig is required to trigger strikes, at other times just dragging that jig will be the ticket. When fish are spooky, a 1/16 oz jig on a longer line can make a real difference. For deeper fish on windy days, I will sometimes tie on ¼ oz jigs to stay in the strike zone and help keep lines tight. Fatheads, Rainbows, Shiner Minnows and Leeches can all be good options for tipping these jigs.

Rigs – Jigs are the standard but at times, rigs rule. I keep things simple with 1/8 – 1/4 oz egg sinkers, a swivel and a #2 octopus hook for minnows and a #4 or #6 for leeches. A four foot, 8# fluorocarbon leader is a good start. As the water warms into the 60’s, floaters, longer snells, beads, and spinners will come into play but early on, I start simple.

Artificial Lures – Live bait is often key when Leech Lake water temps are in the 40’s and 50’s but playing around with “arties” can really pay off big time, especially for bigger fish. Jig and plastics are my #1 choice early on. Experimenting with action, profile, and color is the ticket for plastics. Once you find the combo they want, keep the net handy as it can indeed out-produce live offerings. Pitched or trolled stick baits, crankbaits or Jigging Raps can also provide “net results” for anglers willing to experiment.

So what might your go-to presentation be for May Leech Lake Walleyes?  Slip bobber? Blown up crawler?  Maybe you prefer to keep it under your hatJ Whichever presentation you choose (or the fish choose), have a safe and productive opener everyone! I’ll see you out there. 

                                                           Cheers and hook-sets!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April Fishing - The Salty and Sweet

I found myself headed way south to the Gulf of Mexico this month for some family and fishing time. We all experienced good action with over 25 species caught. 

I was also able to close down the Rainy River pre-spawn season with two quick trips way north to hunt Walleyes. Many fish were caught and new techniques explored on this incredible fishery.

It's time to get ready for the Leech Lake Walleye opener on May 9th, I can't wait!

Cheers and hook-sets!