Minnesota Walleye Opener is the Super Bowl of fishing if you live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. In this video, experienced walleye angler Joel Nelson shares some excellent tips & tactics you can use to track down walleyes and put them in the net this spring, whether you’re fishing in Minnesota or anywhere else across the “Walleye Belt”.
Location is everything in the early season, think post-spawn walleyes in the mid-depth range around good weed growth like coontail and cabbage. Jigs are the perfect way to present to spring walleyes and you want to make sure no matter what you’re maintaining good bottom contact. Pitch downwind so you don’t have a bow in your line where you can’t feel bites. Low and slow is the way to go, you aren’t looking for reaction bites so drag, pull, or lightly hop your jig slowly across the bottom so you feel everything on the lake bottom.
Joel mixes up his jig variety depending on the conditions but his staple is the original fire-ball jig which gives you a variety of rigging options for live bait. He will also utilize a long shank fire-ball when using shiners because the bigger bait can lead to short striking walleyes.
If he wants a little bigger presentation he will go to the Dee Vee Bucktail especially on rivers where he pitch it and get that natural hair glide. The wire keeper allows for easy rigging of live bait and plastics alike but he says especially with plastics the jig head designs keeps it tracking straighter than other jigs.
Don’t skimp out of your rod and reel either, for anything 1/8 oz or under a medium light does the trick, but anything larger he goes to a medium action rod with an extra fast taper for better casting and better hooksets.