Late Ice Walleyes


Last Saturday was officially the last time I’ll stand on the water for this hardwater season and it did not disappoint.

The forecast was favorable in terms of weather, so a plan was put in action to target walleyes on Rainy Lake. Due to the recent warming trend, most of the snow cover on the lake has disappeared so we opted for ATV travel and did not regret the decision.

This time of year, walleyes are in transition to their spawning grounds so we chose a narrows outside of a spawning area with the strategy to intercept walleyes on the move.

The narrows we selected has a saddle that drops off into deeper water adjacent to the main lake. We drilled holes in 20-28 feet of water along the break and found there to be 15.5 inches of solid ice below 4 inches of rotten slush ice.

We had the fortune of soaking up a bluebird day with highs reaching the lower 50’s, but the bite was sporadic, producing a few short flurries of action throughout the day. The best bite came at mid-day where several fish were put topside highlighted with 25- and 27-inch razorbacks.

The mood of the fish was on both spectrums being either extremely aggressive or extremely negative Glide baits triggered the aggressive fish while downsizing was the key to trigger those negative fish; my bait of choice was a 1/16 oz Northland Firefly jig tipped with a tail hooked minnow.

The Vexilar FLX-28 put me on point when a fish showed up and allowed me to tailor the offering to each individual fish. At times, they were willing to chase the glide bait 6 feet before crushing it while other times they would so subtly slurp in the Firefly jig...in all cases, detecting the fish was crucial to success.

All in all, a blast was had by all and enough memories were made to carry me through to December when I’ll be walking on water again. Any time you can get outdoors, experience nature’s wonder with friends and enjoy lunch over an open flame it’s a great day!!

Please remember to be safe out there...the recent warm weather and rain will not be favorable to the ice conditions.

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