Walleye fishing techniques and tips
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For walleye anglers, springtime is the time to fine tune gear in anticipation of the May season opener. Setting fresh line on the reel and organising the fishing gear box helps prepared anglers for the coming season. They eagerly anticipate hooking a fish whose cautious nature makes it a challenge to capture and whose delicious fillets offer a great meal.
Empire State anglers are blessed; New York has a lot of outstanding walleye waters. Actually, they happen in every major watershed in New York State and offer important recreational fisheries in Lake Erie, eastern Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake, Canadarago Lake, as well as the Susquehanna and Mohawk Rivers. Thus, wherever you live in the state, there is a walleye water near you.
Although the fish aren’t known as magnificent combatants, they stay challenging quarry. They are careful and skittish. Anglers must keep on their toes as they attempt to entice these fish to bite. Since walleye flavor deep water sections of big lakes, streams and rivers, anglers focus their efforts there.
Though fishing techniques vary considerably determined by the water or season, trolling or drifting to find groups of fish is the most frequent overall strategy. When you hook into a fish, focus your time and effort in that region as walleye often go in groups while feeding. Live lure, spinner-and-worm rigs, spoons, plugs and jigs generate the most effective outcomes.
Walleye have big, light sensitive eyes which help them find food in poor light. To safeguard their eyes from sunlight, they remain in sheltered or deep water during the day and go into shallower water during the night. This behaviour makes fishing most productive during early morning or evening hours, particularly in clear water lakes and rivers. In more turbid waters, anglers frequently see them increasingly active in the day.
Lake Erie is among the state’s highest walleye waters. Here, anglers use quite different fishing techniques determined by the season. In early May when the season opens, walleye are focused along well known nearshore spawning shoals which are reachable by small boat. Anglers capture fish by trolling at nighttime in four to six feet of water using two- to four-inch baits that mimic minnows. This nighttime fishery regularly creates the most effective walleye catches.
During summer, Lake Erie they head to deeper water and serious anglers frequently travel two to ten miles offshore to find big fish. At this time, walleye fishing is mainly a daytime trolling action which uses more advanced techniques made to put baits 20 to 60 feet below the surface. Downriggers, lead-core line, wire line, and heavy weights are needed gear. Worm harnesses, stick baits mimicking minnows, and spoons are the key lures of choice. Since the fish are usually suspended over deeper waters among open water schools of forage fish, summer anglers use depth sounders to find concentrations of suspended forage fish.
When fishing a large water like Lake Erie, anglers must take into consideration security! During springtime night fishing, boat anglers expertise poor visibility. This could make navigation dangerous, particularly since walleye are focused in shallow, rocky shoals. For offshore anglers, orientation to visible landmarks becomes increasingly challenging, particularly on misty days. Along with all of the security gear mandated by the Coast Guard, boaters should bring a GPS, compass, marine radio or cellular phone on board.
DEC keeps a fishing hotline with info on Lake Erie fishing, including fishing hotspots and techniques which are working best
Native to New York State, they are the greatest member of the perch family, frequently surpassing 20 inches in length. They have sharp teeth and may be recognised by the dark spot located at the base of their first dorsal fin. Most walleye are green or olive, but sometimes a variation happens which provides the fish a light blue colour.
Walleye favour deep sections of big lakes, streams, and rivers. Spawning happens from mid March to mid-April (see All Eyes on Walleyes in Conservationist, April 2004). Mature fish release their eggs over rugged bottoms of lake shoals or gravel bars in rivers and streams. The adhesive eggs fall in rock crevices, where they after hatch.
Depending on weather, predation and other variables, spawning success varies considerably among years. Frequently simply a few, or occasionally even one walleye year group, will control the adult population. They are voracious predators and use their big canine teeth to get a number of minnows as well as the young of other fish. Youthful yellow perch, smelt and gizzard shad are often favourite meals. Comparatively long lived, walleye have always been understood that they reach 20 years old.
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