Tom Neustrom shares tips on Fishing for Walleyes, Bluegills and Crappies
Fishing for Walleyes
Tom Neustrom shares tips on fishing for walleyes, bluegills and crappies. Tom is an inductee of the Freshwater and Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame. He owns professional fishing guide service, MN Fishing Connections. “If someone said to me ‘go fly a kite’ I’d say to them ‘a pleasure’! It would be simple with the constant winds we have been having to look into purchasing a whole armful of Kites and string. But I’m not a kite flyer and fishing is our activity of choice,” Neustrom shares.
The weather has been extremely hard to predict and with the storm fronts every few days and higher than normal winds, it makes for making choices difficult at times. Walleye fishing is still pretty good on the majority of lakes in the Grand Rapids area and hopefully will continue to stay that way. There are some changes that are taking place that will add to your decisions on presentations and selection of baits. With the progression into late June and early July there become a change under the surface of lakes that many anglers don’t always notice. Water temperatures are in the upper 60’s and low 70’s on the majority of the lakes in the Grand Rapids area and food choices have expanded past minnow and small perch category. With the hatching of several different larvae, walleyes and other species will key in on these wiggly little critters and many times refuse baits such as minnows for the most part. It’s important to bring along leeches and night crawlers with you as an alternative and there are several different presentations that deserve taking notice of.
If you find walleyes suspended 1-3 feet off the bottom, then a slip bobber and a leech can be deadly. Walleyes just can’t resist a lively leech squirming in their sight without eating it. As with most species of fish, it’s imperative that the bait is presented just above the location of the walleye in the water column. With the position of their eyes they most often don’t look down but directly in front or above. Use a bobber that is just big enough to go down easily with the slightest pressure. Too large of a bobber will many times make the walleye drop the leech or half crawler. This is a very effective presentation when walleyes are suspended or in and around weed beds or rockpiles. Change the location of where the bobber presentation is located. There is no need to be farther than 15-20 feet from the boat. Many times when your electronics is showing you walleyes under the boat, keep the float no more then 5-10 feet away. When the bobber goes down, reel up the slack and set the hook. It’s old school but a very summer time presentation that works. Some of the better walleye lakes in the area that are producing walleyes are Big Splithand, Deer, Big Winnie, Bowstring and Little Bowstring.
Slip sinker rigging is a common practice of novice and even the most experienced walleye fisherman and many times is the only way they fish. The rig basically consists of a sinker that slides up and down your line in weights of 1/8 to ¾ ounce depending on the depth, a swivel to decrease line twist and as a stopper to prevent the sinker from sliding down to the hook. A leader of approximately 34-72 inches in length, and a single #4 or #6 hook. The is slowly drifted or trolled in areas of walleye’s location with the bail open and your index finger pinching the line to the rod. When you gat a bite, release the line for approximately 5 seconds. Then close the bail on your reel and firmly set the hook. It’s an easy presentation that catches lots of walleyes especially with leeches and crawlers. Minnows can also be used, but it is far more effective with the aforementioned baits.
Fishing For Bluegills & Crappies
Bluegills and crappies have moved out of their traditional spawning areas and are seeking out places to consume food and cover. The first weed beds are usually a tell tale sign of their location and can provide some pretty fast action. Slip bobber or float fishing is probably the best way to catch them when they are in and around weed beds. Just suspend a small jig baited with a chunk of crawler or small leech just under the float and you’re in business. Keep you bait above the weeds and the bites will come fast. A small plastic bait like a Bobby Garland grub can be equally effective. Bluegill and crappie lakes abound in the Grand Rapids area. Some good ones to try are Bass Lake in Cohasset, Big Rice, Pokegama, Little Cutfoot, Little Moose, and Round Lake on the Scenic HWY..
Bobber or float fishing can be fun and effective with understanding the position of the fish and the proper depth your bait is presented. If you haven’t already tried it, put it on your list.
The Grand Rapids, MN area has a lot of lodging options to choose from. Weather you are looking for a conveniently located in town Hotel or Motel or you are looking for a cabin at a MN Fishing Resort, you will find it in the Grand Rapids, MN area. If you are looking for a summer fishing vacation, you will want to check out our Last Minute Openings. These are summer lodging openings that have opened up last minute, or summer availability that Grand Rapids area resorts still have open. Because Grand Rapids is a “going to the lake ” destination in the summer, our lodging books up in the summer months. Our suggestion is to book early. Find all of the Grand Rapids, MN Lodging HERE.