Leech Lake Ice Fishing: Walleye Edition
While most anglers will be seeking a prize Eelpout in the coming days, Leech Lakes large Walleye population can provide you with the perfect opportunity to stock up on fresh fish this winter. While we hope everyone gets their fill of Eelpout; it’s best not to put all your minnows in one bucket. So with that we would like to make sure you come prepared to maximize your fishing potential with some tips, tricks, and equipment for targeting Walleye while you’re out on the ice.
Walleye Fishing Tips, Tricks and Equipment:
Use Light Lines: By using light fishing lines you’ll get less drag. This lets the walleyes suck in your bait and more importantly the hook it’s attached to, and prevents you from getting short strikes. We have found Walleyes tend to be picky but impatient eaters, thus when they come across a suitable meal, they inhale their prey and if this flow is prevented you will get short strikes.
Don’t Forget About Minnows: These are one among the best baits to use when catching walleyes, especially in cool and clear. 3inch 5inch minnows are sufficient when hooked appropriately behind the dorsal fins or through their lips by #1 to #4 hooks.
Jigging Poles: While not as convenient as a tip up if you’re looking to pull up Walleye, you’re going to want to bring some jigging poles, 32” inchers with recoil guides are the best option if you are serious about filling that fridge. While using jigging poles means a more involved ice fishing experience, you will be rewarded for your efforts, pull your fill up Friday and enjoy all the other activities the Eelpout Festival has to offer the rest of the weekend.
The Right Spot: Get to know the layout of Leech Lake if you don’t already, Walleye have the heaviest presence in Walker Bay, Walker Narrows and Agency Bay. You will also get good results on point, breaks and other mid-lake humps. Keep close to the bottom, and most importantly get your spot early, the lake fills up quick.
Know What to Keep:
In terms of fish size and what you are allowed to keep, Leech Lake has special regulations that vary from much of the rest of the state. On Leech Lake, all walleye from 20-26” must be released and one over 26” is allowed in possession, total possession limit of four. For more info, check out the DNR’s “Lake Finder” for notes and data on the lake.
Have a great Eelpout Festival, and remember just because you’re targeting walleye at some of your holes doesn’t mean you will miss out on a prize Eelpout, they tend to have somewhat similar biting and location habits to Walleye in the winter on Leech Lake.
See you on the Ice!