For years I've been trying to perfect my walleye game. As a lake Minnetonka fishing guide, I feel that it is good to be well rounded. Multi-species if you will. There's no doubt that muskies are in high demand. It's been that way for years. Even when muskies take center stage, I still find time to seek out and exploit what I feel is one of the best walleye lakes in the state. Fall on Tonka means big walleyes if you happen to look in the right places.
Last night I took my dad with me on a learning expedition. He loves walleye fishing more than anyone I know. Our mission was simple - fish new water and learn something that we didn't already know. Not only is it a blast, but trying new things help me to learn more about the fish I chase. The best part is that the things I learn walleye fishing apply to muskies and bass too. I believe that targeting many species throughout the year helps me to become a better all around angler. No matter the specie, the details are what matter most.
Our evening was short. Luckily, so was the learning curve. About 15 minutes into our trip I stuck a super chunky walleye. The trademark belly that your hand sinks into. At a hair under 10 pounds, she was a fish that would make anyone happy. The fact that I caught it while trying to learn new tricks makes it all the better.
The recent October heatwave likely means that this bite will only improve once the temps tumble. My approach to the fall bite is based off of one thing - abnormally large bait. I'm talking sucker minnows in the 6 to 7 inch range. The minnows that pike guys hang under a bobber or troll along the weedlines during the summer. Why do I use it? Because everything is bigger in the fall. All the food in the lake is at least 5 months old at this point. Hungry walleyes have no problem taking down a big minnow. I've had 13 inch walleyes engulf 7 inch sucker minnows. Once you get past the size of the large bait and accept that it will work, you will be amazed at what you can catch. The best part, you won't have panfish or pesky bait stealers messing with you. Almost every bite you get will be a walleye or a fish worthy of battle. In this case, bigger is better.
Aside from mixing with new spots and lures, I find that I slow down when I walleye fish. I often get bad habits after months of chasing muskies. I will fly from spot to spot and lose my patience. A big mistake in all aspects of fishing. The slow approach reminds me how to thoroughly work a spot the right way. Where to pitch the jig and how to retrieve it will determine when I get a strike. Again, this is the same for muskies.
Details are the difference in all the fishing that we do. Plus, there is something very special about catching huge walleyes in the fall that get me excited. It's worth putting the big sticks down once in a while and catching something for the frying pan. I love fall walleyes, and the more I fish for them on Tonka, the more I like what I see. Give it a shot, you won't be dissapointed! From the walleye filled waters of the metro pond, keep on livin' your dream!