Walleyes!

Thanks to Dan Donarski for another fantastic guest blog piece about Pure Michigan fishing!

The planets have aligned, the sun has been shining, the temperatures are warming. What normally happens after the general walleye closure is happening right now. As in this minute, and it will continue until the general season closes on the 15th of the month.

What I’m so dang excited about is the walleye bite. Right now the fish are invading the shallow spawning areas in our lakes and spawning rivers. This is at least a couple of weeks earlier than normal. This is great news for walleye anglers and eaters. However, before we get to the spots of note, one word of caution please– the walleyes you are going to be catching are getting ready to spawn. There will be some big females. Please release those big girls as they are creating the fish you’ll want to catch in a few short years.

My good friend Mike Avery of radio and TV note has seen some great fishing coming from open water on the Tittabawassee River as well as the Saginaw. You don’t need a boat either, though it will help. Anglers fishing from shore are having good success, while anglers in boats are having great success. Casting Rapalas or a similar stick bait works well, but it is jigging with a live minnow, or using a three-way with a minnow that is really producing the best catches.

The same goes for the Detroit and St. Joseph rivers. Oh, and the Muskegon and Grand rivers, too. In fact, if there is open water on a river nearby your home, and it is known for its spring walleye fishery, there’s a better than good chance that it’s getting stuffed with fish right now.

On the inland lakes, the same pre-spawn activity is taking place. Up here in the U.P., Munuscong Bay (just south of the Soo), the Manistique Lakes, Indian, and Gogebic are all seeing walleyes in the shallows.

Because of the snow leaving the ice, the fish can get a bit spooky. Try using a longer rod, like a five footer, to get away from your hole in the ice. Jigging spoons, preferably tipped with a minnow head, seems to be attracting the most attention. A simple live minnow rig is also working, but the fish seem to really like the flash and dash of the jigging spoons better.

What about ice conditions, you ask? Last Friday, March 5, Munuscong had approximately 25 inches of good, hard ice in the inner bay. Out in deeper water it gets thinner as the current gets stronger. As always, ask before you venture out on the ice.

Yes, I’m a bit giddy over this last week of the season. Rarely do we see such a massive push of fish this early. Then again, rarely do I see daffodils poking through in my gardens this time of year. Yet, sure enough, they are doing just that.

Now I’m going fishing. Walleyes are on the menu!

Dan Donarski is an award-winning journalist/photographer and author. He specializes in the outdoors and adventure travel. When he’s not out and about he lays his head in Sault Ste. Marie.

  • Michelle Selonke

    Great Article! Thanks Dan. This is only my 2nd year fishing so im excited that fishing season is starting up again! My fiance has been fishing for many years, so I printed the article for him to read.

  • http://www.exploremunising.com Da Yoop

    Love fishing for the walleyes myself! Fished at L. Independence (Big Bay, MI) last Sat. & did decent. Had one just hammer a silver Swedish Pimple w/ live minnow. The fish didn’t even show up on fish finder it was so quick of a bite!

  • http://www.michiganhooksandbullets.com John

    Got to say walleye is probably my favorite fish to eat!