When it comes to chasing walleyes in the winter, I have invested a lot of time and energy chasing big ones. I like to refer to them as giant gravel lizards. The recent outings have been no exception. We have been catching some big lizards. These kinds of gold rush trips are what I live for. Yes, I love to catch a few eaters for the oil as much as the next guy, but I only need 2 maybe 3 nice eaters and I have more then I can eat. My time, energy, and focus turns to chasing trophys. All of which we catch, photo, and release back to the lake.
This fish came in at 28" and was FAT. It tipped the scales at 9.1lbs and was one of many nice fish we have been able to catch and release on recent trips.
Jen has also been getting in on some of the great action. She has put some nice fish in the 24"-26" above the ice for a few photo's before being put back down the hole to fight another fight some day. I am asked almost daily, "how do you catch big walleyes, and so many of them"?! Well I am going to clue many of you in ona few guide secrets.
First and foremost, fish a big bait-big live bait(3"-5")! Big bait seems to get big bites. I am not afraid to fish suckers, pike shiners, or anything else that is a big minnow. Don't get me wrong, sometimes big bait catches 14" fish. I always fish a minnow much bigger then most people would ever think. Let's be honest, if you are a big fish you need something big to make you feel full. Plus if they are going to use energy to eat, why aren't they going to want something big with lots of benefits for them. The next thing I do a lot of is fish 2-3 feet of the bottom. Some of the biggest fish in the water column will "cruise" for food and getting it higher in the water then you are used to can help.
Remember this is not a #'s game, this is the pursuit of the biggest walleye in the water. You have to commit to these giants if you want to catch them. The next thing I do is catch ALL of these giant fish on hand lines(rattle reel, tip-up). I always catch these fish on hand lines and believe that if you set yourself up for big eyes you too are gonna want to fish them on set hand lines. The last thing I do is fish a lot at night at always through the night. Many of these fish bite in the middle of the night, hence at times why we might look a little sleepy in some of the pics.
Here is a great example of what likes to feed at night on many of the lakes we guide and fish on. These two fish fell victim to my set-up and both were over 28". One was even 29.5"
Hopefully this helps you catch a fish of your lifetime the next time you hit the ice. If not, you can always book me for a trip and I will show and teach you what I do to have so much success with giant gravel lizards. Until next time, Fish On!