Starting on that day, the normal protected slot of 17-26 inches for walleyes shrinks to 20-26 inches. So, those fish between 17 and 20 inches, for the first time this year, will be fair game.
Folks, there are a lot of fish that size in this lake. If the weather holds up, it should be a bonanza. Since the opener, the walleyes have been shallow and biting aggressively when the weather is decent. But, strong winds can make the lake unfishable, especially when they’re out of the west, northwest or north.
Looking at the weather forecast for the area, things are looking pretty good for this week. Looks like there could be some rain on Wednesday, but nice after that. If the winds are light, anglers should have a walleye feast.
The nice thing is, we have had a cold spring so far, which means the walleyes will stay shallow. There is a break along the shoreline that goes from 4 feet to about 10 feet, and as long as the water stays cool enough, the walleyes will hang out on this break.
I have anchored on the break and fished many times, and it’s generally pretty easy to catch walleyes on a jig and a minnow. Some folks troll Rapalas and catch fish, too. In fact, both methods work well.
I looked at a recent fishing report on a website called iDoFishing.com and the fishing has been good on Upper Red, as I suspected it would be. What’s nice about Upper Red is that it’s an easy lake to fish — find the break, anchor and throw out a jig and a minnow. You will catch walleyes, and also freshwater drum (commonly known as sheepshead). With the expanded slot, it will be possible to catch a four-fish limit of walleyes, all between 19 and 20 inches. That’s tough to beat on any lake!
If you’ve got a little more time, I would suggest adding a day or two on Lake of the Woods to your agenda. The fishing is also excellent on this lake, and it has a year-round protected slot of 19 1/2-28 inches. Not only that, but once you reach your four-fish limit on walleyes, you can add two more sauger (you can keep up to six walleyes and sauger in combination, with up to four of them being walleyes).
What some people don’t know is that, if you fish both lakes on the same trip, you can keep a total of six walleyes (the statewide limit), as long as no more than four come from either one of these two lakes. So, if you would like to take home the most walleyes that you can, this would be a nice way to go. I’ve never been able to a catch a combined six walleyes on the two lakes, but have tried a few times.
A good place for a fishing report on Lake of the Woods is a website called Walleye Hunter. It actually has fishing reports from several sources, including resorts on the lake, which are updated regularly. Plus, on several of them, you can read the history of fishing reports going all the way back to the opener and, in some cases, the ice-fishing season. Basically, unless the winds are really strong, the fishing is good on this lake. There were some high winds last week, but things look quieter for this week.
If you can take some vacation days this week, now’s a good time to head up north!