As we head into the early walleye season, the weather we have been experiencing has really thrown a wrench into the scheme of things and this will not be a normal May and June. Here are some thoughts on my strategies for our early season and why I believe we need to adapt to this abnormal Spring.
Water Temperatures are Behind
The month of March was awesome with rising water temperatures followed by a very poor month of April. We were actually ahead of the game in March but we were set back in April. Water temperatures were actually dropping in April which means we are probably a bit behind for normal water temperatures. Instead of the 60’s expect the low 50’s. This is a huge factor in walleye success during early season.
Slow Down your Presentation
Instead of Memorial weekend patterns expect almost post spawn strategies as we head into May. Most of my fishing the past few weeks on the South Dakota/Minnesota border waters has indicated basically a nighttime walleye bite and very little action during the day. This is very typical for cold water conditions. May anglers might want to think about fishing at dusk instead of during the day. Whatever time of the day you choose, slow things down. I believe the walleyes won’t be chasing down baits aggressively until Memorial weekend. This means slowing down with tiny jigs and small leeches behind live bait rigs. The slower your presentation the better off you will be. Use your electric motor to creep along the breaks and shoreline drops and go as slow as you can for best success.
Lake Choice is Critical to Success
Sometimes the lake choice makes all the difference in the world when it comes to walleye success in May. I personally am choosing western and central lakes that are shallow and quick to warm. I know from past experience that fishing a shallow lake increases your odds immensely when you are faced with cold water conditions. You can expect to struggle in May on big water such as Leech and Mille Lacs but as usual these lakes will come around later in the Spring. It’s all about timing on most lakes in Minnesota and if you use your common sense you’ll know which lakes to fish and when.
More than anything, be patient. Early Spring fishing for walleyes can be very frustrating but know the best fishing of the open water season is on the doorstep. Keep the faith, improvise and adapt and it will happen!