You knew it had to happen. It seemed like a long time coming, but this past week saw the return of walleye the subsequent walleye buffet. Thanks to a few hot days early in the week, the water temperature hit the high 60’s. Then some wind stirred things up and the walleye moved into the bays to feed. The bulk of the walleye action occurred after sunset when our guests who were fishing with slip bobbers and leeches or tiny jigs and half a night crawler were able to catch 20 to 30 walleye most evenings.
The trick here is to anchor close to shore, use light and ultra light gear, fish until dark and brave the mosquitoes and black flies. Most nights the fish were finicky, lightly mouthing the bait and dropping it at the first hint of resistance from a sinker, float or fishline. If you are using that broomstick of a rod that you caught your hundred pound marlin on or 40 lb test braided line, you are simply not going to feel light bite and the fish will feel the weight of your tackle. Going light mean 1/8 oz jigs, tied directly on to 6 or 8 lb monofilament or 10 lb braided line. No snap swivels, no steel leaders. Same with using a bobber: light line, number 10 circle hook, one small split shot and a small bobber that sinks with the slightest pressure. Rig it up as a slip bobber with a stopper so you can cast close to shore and play the fish right to the boat.
While we saw excellent catches all week with most walleye falling into the slot size, a lot of nice fish were released too. If anglers on this lake continue to respect the size limits and live release fish promptly, the fishery will only improve.
One great thing about the North end of Lake Kipawa is the abundance of big smallmouth bass. On a bright day when walleye action is a restricted to dusk and dawn, the smallies are willing to hit all day. Makes for a great afternoon of heavy hitting action. And the healthy population of these bass means they are the perfect fish for keeping to eat. The average size this year is 16 to 18 inches, with many over 20 inches taken. Out of cold, clear water like Kipawa, they are a great table fare. “Save a walleye, eat a bass” as the song goes (or something like that!)
I imagine this coming week will prove to be another stellar fishing week. With the walleye now feeding on minnows, my guess is we’ll see the action pick up for those trolling body baits and crawler harnesses.
Til then…fish on!