Get Ready for Wisconsin Walleyes; Target These Waters
March 20, 2018
The new season for Wisconsin walleyes will be upon us before we know it. Here are some excellent places to open it.
Muskies may be Wisconsin's state fish, but DNR surveys say walleyes are our favorite fish to catch.
When the general season opens early both of those species will be cruising in shallow water regardless of whether their home is a lake, flowage or river — from heavily populated southern counties to waters in the cool, blue north.
Right now the walleye fraternity is focusing on rivers, which aren't subject to closed season restrictions as spring spawning activity pushes marble-eyes upstream to carry on the family name under cover of darkness in shallow, quiet waters over a rocky rubble bottom.
Most years the timing of this riverine spawning run is predictable within a few days, beginning on the Rock and lower Wisconsin rivers about April 1, progressing to the mid-sections of the Wisconsin River and Lake Winnebago system about 10 days later, and then on to the Mississippi River and Green Bay tributaries like the Fox, Peshtigo and Menominee rivers, about the 20th of the month.
When the first Saturday in May rolls around, a large segment of the Walleye Circus moves to inland lakes to kick off the opener. This migration suits those who like to fish major rivers and waters like Green Bay and Lake Winnebago just fine.
With some anglers, fishing a certain lake on "the opener" is a tradition, regardless of fish populations and other issues at historic destinations. Other folks make their destination decision a couple of days or maybe hours before hooking up the boat and heading to the launch ramp.
Every angler yearns for the tug of a heavy walleye on the end of their line. Weather conditions, fishing pressure, watercraft capabilities and personal fishing skills are all part of the equation. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the walleyes get a vote, too. The only things you can really control are your attitude — and maybe the boat.
Both of those factors improve with time spent on the water. Time is the major driver of your fishing success this year. Here's a look at the best waters to confirm the fact there is no such thing as a "tangle free" landing net.
Most of the 175 days I spend on the water in an average year are spent working as a full-time fishing guide on Ol' Man River. Although a river is constantly changing, walleyes and other fish fall into fairly predictable patterns as we fish our way through another year.
High water that will reach at least moderate flood levels is a fact of life on the Mississippi. Flood conditions can occur at any time, typically lasting a month or more — sometimes more than once in a calendar year.
Many years, high water driven by runoff from snowmelt can be a major factor in fish location and lure presentation in May.
Robert Blosser: Go-To Search Bait for Walleyes