This week’s Grand Rapids Ice Fishing Report is brought to you by Tom Neustrom, professional fishing industry representative and open water fishing guide owner of MN Fishing Connections. Photo: Arlene Goltz caught this nice walleye on a Grand Rapids, MN area lake while fishing with Jeff Johnson, co-owner of Northern Drift Outfitters. Looking for a memorable experience check out our Ice Fishing page for guide suggestions.
As we get into the last few weeks of walleye season, there are a few small adjustments that can help to put a few fish on the ice. This last 10 days have been the coldest weather of the entire winter and the metabolism of all fish species slows down. Only species of trout remain relatively active and unaffected by cold water temperatures.
Over time with the frozen water period extending itself, times of day and bait size
can make a big difference when angling for walleyes. Deep water breaks associated with points and edges are key spots to ambush migrating fish. Early and late in the day can most often be the key times of the day to try for walleyes. Smaller baits such as 1/16th to 1/8 ounce spoons tipped with a minnow head can make a difference. With the smaller spoons you may have to switch the treble hook from a size 8 to a size 4 for better hook ups. Vary your jigging movement to less aggressive and most often just slightly twitching your rod tip can trigger additional bites.
Pay close attention to your electronics and many times the bottom reading will appear to be a lump and that could be just the walleye that in some cases is coming into investigate. In the second hole a dead stick with a medium to smaller fat head or shiner minnow can be a difference maker. Above the plain hook attach a small glow bead and shorten the length between the split shot and the hook to lessen the movement of the minnow. It can make a difference when a slow moving walleye comes shopping and doesn’t want to chase a quicker moving bait.
Some of the lakes in the Grand Rapids area that are good season ending choices are Wabana, Trout, Pokegama, Moose, Swan, and Big Cutfoot. Any of these lakes have good populations of walleyes and can provide a good opportunity for success.