May 10, 2016
For once, walleye opener does not coincide with Mother’s Day. This makes May 14 a perfect guilt free day for fishing, especially on Leech.
“A lot of diehard anglers from across Minnesota come to Leech Lake to cash in on our excellent walleye fishing,” said fishing guide Phil Bauerly. “We have good numbers and a shot at some bigger fish all the time out here on Leech.”
If Leech Lake walleye fishing was a book, it would be one with a famous first line that hooks you instantly. You do not have to suffer through boring parts to get to the good stuff.
2016 Fishing Opener
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“For whatever reason, Leech Lake is really a good starter. Some places take longer to get going,” said Phil. “People will usually catch fish on opener.”
There is a lot of water out there on Leech. For the most part in May, the local walleye make it easy, hanging out in a much smaller portion of the lake.
“The fish are shallower on opener. There are a lot of fish from five to ten feet. They are mostly in flats that are all around the lake and it doesn’t take too much detective work to locate big schools or walleye,” said Phil.
These flats are shallow areas like gravel bars and areas near shores. Even cold-blooded creatures don’t like it too cold. During opener, most fish schools are in session in the less deep and less cold areas of the lake. They also aren’t fussy eaters.
“Typically we get them on a jig and minnow,” said Phil. ” We get them on real simple presentations, like a 1/8 ounce jig and a minnow.”
Opener walleye fishing can also be low tech.
“Fish finders are one of the most important tools that we have. But, on opener the fish are shallow. The fish finders don’t work well in shallow water,” said Phil.
Phil mentions how it isn’t hard to find these flat areas, where the fish are. These shallow areas are well marked on maps of the lake. As an experienced guide and fisherman on Leech Lake, Phil offers his advice.
“What I typically do is fish a little shallower and a little bit faster than most of the people out there,” said Phil. “Sometimes you have to hit the fish fast to get them to respond when they are in a neutral mode. Other times you want to just sit there in front of them. It really pays to experiment with speed and don’t be afraid to fish what some people would call too shallow, as well.”
On the opener many will be fishing near the well-known fishing areas. Still, it is a huge lake. Phil says if you are looking for a more solitary experience, you can find good fishing further away from people, if you are willing to travel further north on the lake. But, his advice on how to fish up there is the same. By staying in shallow waters you have a good chance to catch many fish on opening day.