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winter fishing

Techniques & Advice, The Lowdown

How to find walleyes in the wintertime

January 16, 2012
The walleye stamp from the Minnesota DNR

Winter is here! Well, the snow cover is lacking, but there is good ice on many lakes. Lurking under that ice is the elusive walleye, however you are going to have to know where to find them. Please remember that ice is never safe; so always check the local conditions before you head out.

Just like summertime walleyes the wintertime fish like structure. The difference you are going to find in the winter is that the structure which is holding fish will be deeper. Use your depth maps and your locator to find humps and lines of structure that may be 25 to 30 feet deep with good drops on either side. Get your holes drilled by the late afternoon, because when the sun starts heading for the horizon you want to have a line down.

Drilling multiple holes will help you cover several different depths along a line of structure or a sunken island.  Spend ten to fifteen minutes jigging in each hole and then move to the next one. Keep the presentation slow and easy letting your jig spend more time hanging than moving. And remember: “if you aren’t fishing on the bottom, you aren’t fishing.”

In the winter smaller jigs are better than larger for walleyes and I prefer the brighter colors tipped with a shiner or crappie minnow. At the present time, local reports are telling us that fish also being caught on fatheads. You may even find yourself in the situation where a naked jig will work with that slow presentation.

Again, before you head out on your favorite frozen lake, make sure the ice is plenty thick to hold you safely. The Brainerd Jaycees Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake has been postponed to February 112012 due to ice conditions. Safety should always be the first concern before venturing out on the ice. Take the necessary precautions.

Good luck with the walleyes, and be safe.