Walleye Opener: Deep Water ConceptBy John Andrew - May 1, 2011
My guests and I headed across the chain of lakes, moving thru the large waves when I noticed they were becoming too big for us, the date was 1983 and I was guiding out of a smaller boat, as I turned the boat slowly to head to another area to fish I turned on my Lowrance X-15 B paper graph to look for a particular rock bar up wind.
It was still dark and I could not use my land marks to locate the bar, as we were far from shore. While watching my graph over deep water around 65 ft. I noticed small piles of rocks on the bottom of the lake, but as we began reaching shallower water, around 60, 55, up to 45ft. the humps and rocks stopped showing up on my graph until I got to about 30 ft. deep, then they reappeared. When I turned the boat and went back down the drop off I noticed some of the arches were actually about 6 inches or a foot off the bottom. After retying my guests line to heavier jigs tipped with a 2 inch red tail chub, we dropped our lines down to about the 65ft. depth and drifted up the slope of the rock bar. We never did get in to the shallow 5 to 25 ft. of water I was going to actually focus on, as we limited out in about 3 hours of fishing.
This was the deepest I ever caught Walleye at any time of the year and they ranged from 16 to 24 inches long. A new era of Walleye fishing was being created, for my guests. The next morning as the wind dropped off and the waves shrank down to a controllable size, we went back to the weed bed and fished in 7 to 13 ft. of water, although we caught 4 Walleye, there were 2 other boats in the area and we could not work the weed bed as well as I would normally do.
When I mentioned we were going back to the rock bar we limited out on the morning before, the 2 guests moaned and said, that was a fluke, we won't catch anything there.
On the way down the ledge I could again see, what looked like deep rocks. These were not rocks, as I fine tuned my graph, we worked vertically with our jigs, "slowly", from 65 ft. up to about 45 ft. and stayed in that depth for the next 2 ½ hrs. We limited out a second time in the same location.
This was all the conformation I needed, the on coming days and weeks my guests and I worked several different rock bars and ledges in the same depths and produced limits of Walleye. Now, we continued to fish shallow on the same lake at twilight conditions and caught fish, but during the day time we fished deep. How is that possible my guests use to ask and they still ask that same question every opening day when I tell them we are starting out in 65 ft. of water vertical jigging. Remember, not all fish spawn along the shoreline and I am not saying the Walleye spawn in 65ft. of water, but they could and some do spawn deeper than the shoreline.
Now that several years have passed, this deep water connection on opening day has been found to work on many, many deep clear lakes all across Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Canada and certain areas of the Great Lakes.
This method of fishing works on many lakes, they do not need to be clear water, or 80 ft. deep, although it does seem to work better on lakes, that do indeed, develop a thermo cline.
Stay positive, think clearly, do not listen to negative talk and do not listen to negative people. God Bless.