May 1, 2020
Walleye love freshwater lakes. So it’s a good thing Minnesota is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Though they are not found in ALL the lakes of Minnesota, they are certainly found throughout the state. In fact, two fishing towns in Minnesota both claim the title “Walleye Capital of the World” – so you know it’s a big deal around here! Here’s everything you need to know about fishing for walleye in Minnesota.
Technically part of the perch family, walleye is a popular fish found throughout the Great Lakes and Midwest United States region. As we mentioned, they thrive in freshwater lakes and prefer deep, cool waters. Walleye are active during the early mornings and evening hours, preferring low-light over the bright afternoon sunshine. They may also be active on a cloudy day, but it depends on how overcast the sky is as they are very sensitive to light.
Walleye are long and thin with gold and green coloring along their back and a white belly. They have two dorsal fins, a mouth full of teeth, and eyes that point outward. There’s actually a special pigment in the walleye’s eye that reflects light; this helps them see better in murky waters, and is why they prefer low-light rather than sunshine. Walleye can grow as long as 3 feet long and upto 20 pounds.
The walleye diet consists of smaller fish, such as yellow perch or minnows, and insects. During the day they are found in the deeper waters under tree roots or other submerged structures. At night they will swim towards more shallow waters, especially near docks, piers, and bridges. It’s very common to see Minnesota fishermen and women casting a line off a pier at the end of the day to bring in a walleye.
Minnesota’s season for walleye this year starts May 9. Typically each angler is able to take home 6 walleye, as long as none are over the 20” limit; but check where you’re fishing because regulations may vary. By this time of year (spring season) many walleye will have either just spawned or are spawning. It’s a great time to get out there and start fishing! Walleye typically spawn in shallow waters with clear rocky bottoms. As the season begins, the shallow waters of Minnesota lakes are the best spots to start your walleye fishing trip. As the year progresses, and water temperatures rise, walleye will move out to the deeper parts of the lake.
When fishing for walleye, make sure you have a tackle box filled with a variety of gear. It doesn’t matter which Minnesota lake you’re fishing, you’ll want a few options to get the fish to the line. Typically live bait is best; try minnow or nightcrawler. Add a sinker (¼ or ½ ounce) depending on how deep you’re fishing, either a No. 4 or No. 6 hook, and enough line for the depths you’re trying to reach. A 6- or 8- pound test line is plenty for most Minnesota lakes.
Anglers can troll slowly over the deeper waters to catch walleye. Or try drifting the bait along the bottom. Jigging is another popular technique as you lure walleye to the line. When a Minnesota lake freezes over, ice fishing is another option, if you can handle the cold!
Remember those two Minnesota towns that both claim to be the “Walleye Capital of the World”? That would be Baudette on Lake of the Woods, and Garrison on Mille Lacs Lake. These two are the top walleye producing lakes in the state, so it’s no wonder why many come here for a great day of walleye fishing.
Lake of the Woods is a truly unique body of water. There are over 14,000 islands across the lake and 25,000 miles of shoreline. It’s a picturesque place with tons of variety for fishing. The South Shore, in particular, is the place to fish for trophy walleye.
Mille Lacs Lake is Minnesota’s second largest lake, but is considered shallow at barely 40 feet deep. But it’s deep enough for walleyes, one of the main populations of this lake along with pike, perch, and muskies.
If you’re fishing Mille Lacs Lake, keep in mind that walleye regulations are different here. All walleye are catch-and-release from May 9 until June 30, and again from August 1 until November 30. During the month of July, walleye may not be targeted at all.
Other popular Minnesota lakes to fish for walleye include Leech Lake, Upper Red Lake, Lake Vermilion, and Lake Winnibigoshish.
If you need help finding a good lake to fish, or where to fish once you’re on the lake, consider hiring a local Minnesota fishing guide. They have all the gear, know where to fish and what it takes to bring the fish to the line. All you have to do is show up and enjoy a great day on the water! When you’re ready for a walleye charter, let FishAnywhere.com help you reserve your trip. Simply search the city you’re embarking from, compare local guides that best fit your criteria, and book a trip with as little as 10% deposit. Don’t wait, the season is about to start! Get your walleye fishing charter booked today!
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