Ontario Walleye Fishing Tips
In Ontario Walleye are in more demand than all other game fish put together. Most of the people fishing Northern Ontario's best Walleye lakes are from the USA or Southern Ontario and often do not adjust their Walleye fishing methods for northern lakes thus they are not taking full advantage of the fishing potential of the lake. Water conditions, environmental conditions and Walleye behavior is much different than farther south. Red Cedar Lake's water is crystal clear in most areas and cooler with a diverse rocky structure while southern lakes tend to have a flat sandy or muddy bottom. Because of longer warmer summers down south the water clarity is usually compromised by suspended algae, aquatic weed pollen and other suspended organic materials. Fishing in crystal clear water is a whole new ball game. Below describes some adjustments made to your Walleye technique as well as tips of Walleye rigs.
Jigging & Rubber Baits:
Scented baits do not work well in the north because the water is so clean. If the Walleye are really hitting you may get away with scanted baits but generally unscented rubbers work much better. Salted baits do work extremely well. Walleye along with most game fish have surface pores on the bottom of their jaws and in these pores are chemoreceptors, which detect magnetic fields and electrically ionized particles in the water. When bait fish swim the lateral line discharges static electricity by ionizing water molecules and predatory fish can sense these ions and track down their pray. Salt mimics these ions thus get game fish excited and go into attack mode.
If you are going to jig for Walleye then use 1/8 to 3/8 oz jig heads for shallow water and to 1/4 oz for deeper water. These are the most commonly used sizes. You want to use rubbers that are big enough to be visible but not too big that they cover up too much of the hook. Using a rubber that is too thick means you lose fish and can't add additional bate. You need to always keep an open mind and try different colors but generally white, transparent green, worm color and black work best. Yellow works well in the spring. White seems to be the best overall twistertail color for Walleye. You can also add a tiny bit of worm, Perch belly meat or Walleye Gullet to add some flavor. Many people find success tipping a jig head with a dangling worm or minnow without the rubber.
In the spring from ice-out until the first week in June the Walleyes will be very shallow. They spawn on sandy shorelines, sand bars and in current. You can find them in 1 to 3 feet of water. As soon as they finish spawning the bigger females will head to deeper water during the day or out to rocky points but the smaller males will hang around for a long time and stay shallow. They are very aggressive this time of year. Many believe Walleyes hit bright colors in the spring because they are defending the spawning beds, not because they are hungry. Red, orange, chartreuse and fire-tiger seem to work very well in the spring.
As summer moves in and the weather gets warm the Walleyes tend to go after lures with more natural or neutral colors such as silver-&-black, silver-&-blue, Perch, dark green and silver-&-brown. Trolling along the shore or over shallower areas in the 4 to 7 foot range with small Original Floating Rapalas, whether jointed or straight, along with Thundersticks, Rebels and other similar lures work best. If you are fishing a rocky area and are tired of losing your jigs on snags try casting small Fat Raps and rattlebaits.
Fishing Deep & Bottom Bouncing for Walleye:
After the spawn the big females will go deep. You will find most of them down around 15 to 25 feet. They still come shallow to feed during the day once in a while and always come shallow at night. On bright sunny days even the smaller good eating size Walleyes will go deeper to avoid the bright sunlight. There are a couple of effective ways to fish deeper for Walleye with your regular equipment.
The first is to back-troll slowly with a 3-way swivel and a 1 oz weight. You can easily fish 25 fish deep with a 1 oz weight. You can use floating lures or spinners and worm harnesses with small blades. Big blades cause too much resistance with the water and can make it hard to get down. Just drop your line slowly until you hit bottom and then real in a foot so you are just above bottom. See diagram below:
Another effective way to fish right close to bottom for Walleyes is with a slip sinker and a floating jig. If you just have a Lindy Sinker with a floating jig it's referred to as a Lindy Rig. If you use a big worm on a floating jig and inflate the worm with a hypodermic needle and add a trailer hook it's referred to as a Loten Rig. With a Loten Rig make sure the jig hook goes into the head of the worm and then out again before you hit the discolored ring on the worm, which is called the Clitellum. This way the air stays in the worm and gives it more floatation thus you can jig without the jig sinking too deep. It's also best for jigging slow while trolling.