Mid-Ice Walleyes: 4 Guide Tactics & Tips

Brian "Bro" Brosdahl On Catching More Fish Right Now

by Lake-Link Staff

It's been a crazy year weather-wise throughout the Ice Belt with warmer than average temperatures early on, late freezes (if hardwater at all), followed by some cold weather in northern regions, but now another warm spell approaching.

Because of the late ice, when asked if walleyes are in "early" or "mid" patterns, veteran Northern Minnesota guide, Brian "Bro" Brosdahl laid it out for Lake-Link readers.

"Because of the rain and the thaw, there are still a lot of walleyes lingering near shores and on primary breaks, while others are moving to deeper, mid-season areas. You find pods of walleyes in both kinds of locations. But the bite is definitely mid-winter. What I mean by that is the bite is decent but with all the changes in weather, it can really vary from day-to-day, hour-to-hour," comments Bro.

Bro Walleye

Bro's Top 4 Hardwater Walleye Tactics Right Now:

#1: GLOW
"Glow can really be key, so dig through your box and find spoons, jig heads, or small- to medium glide baits that are glow and/or UV painted. For me, I've been using Northland Fishing Tackle's new Super-Glo Coffin Spoons and Buck-Shot Rattle Spoons since the new, longer-lasting, and brighter glow paint formulation was being dialed in, well over a year ago," says Bro.
Northland Fishing Tackle's new Super-Glo Coffin Spoons
Super-Glo Coffin Spoon
Buck-Shot Rattle Spoons
Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon
As far as glow colors, Bro likes pink, white, and chartreuse, also admitting that glow blue is used by a lot of tournament anglers.

"A lot of times, you have to call in walleyes from afar. For me, I like the higher pitch of the glass rattle in the Glass Buck-Shot spoon-and given we have so many young-of-the-year perch in northern Minnesota lakes-I like the iridescent perch pattern for its visual, too. That combination of the bait's finish and unique rattle will call in walleyes based on sound, lateral line, and sight in lakes with 20 feet of water clarity."


On lakes with an overabundance of baitfish, Bro likes to size down in his spoon choice, sizing up toward dark. For example, he'll fish during daylight hours with an 1/8th ounce but switches out to something with a bigger profile-typically spoons in the ¼-ounce range-for transitional early a.m., late afternoon., and nighttime fishing.

"If I see a big fish on my MEGA Live, I always keep a ¼-ounce spoon tipped with a whole fathead ready to drop down. I'll use just the minnow head on an 1/8-ounce spoon but since there's just a crazy abundance of young perch on lakes like Winnie, you need a bigger profile in spoon and what you're tipping it with. So, the fish are healthier than ever with the buffet of available food, so they can be a bit more reluctant to bite. But the Glass Buck-Shot really rocks them out."

Humminbird's Ice Helix 9 MEGA Live
Humminbird's Ice Helix 9 MEGA Live

"I designed the Bro Bug Spoon to mimic critters emerging out of the mud, which walleyes eat, too. It's not just perch and crappies. An 1/8-ounce Bro Bug in Red, Sneeze, or Electric Perch can really do the trick when the fish are on a bug feed. Destinations like Red Lake, Lake of the Woods, Devils Lake, your Dakotas potholes and larger waters are all populated with opportunistic walleyes that eat a lot of emerging larvae, freshwater shrimp (in the Dakotas), you-name-it," offers Bro.

Bro Bug
Bro Bug Spoon
One of the cool things about the slender Bro Bug Spoon with bulging eyes is that it also makes a great dead-stick bait. Bro often runs a second line in Minnesota with a Bro Bug Spoon and fathead hooked laterally under the dorsal fin, letting it just dangle and kick while he jigs another rod.

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