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leechlake

Targeting Large Walleyes

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leechlake

I may be mocked and told "no chance" but my goal for the balance of the soft water year is to catch a 32" plus walleye. I have caught quite a few 28-29 inch fish and two over 30". I have two lakes in mind that I will be working on. All were caught just fishing for walleyes.

I'm not a big fan of pulling plugs but will do whatever it takes, I will pull plugs during the last full moon in October. My basic strategy will start with large redtails on approximately 20-25 foot breaks in both lakes.

What would you do?

If you were trying to do this

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OnAFly

Well, the first thing you should do is take me with you to those lakes. I'll tell you everything you need to know from there wink

Biggest walleyes I've caught were jig and a minnow. Maybe upsize your baits to small or even medium suckers. Those walleyes will hang out on top of structure at night. Might be worth it to slowly troll around at night with a headlamp and see whats up there after dark.

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CANOPY SAM

You're on the right track. While you're at it, why stop at last full moon in October? Biggest walleyes I've caught have all come in mid to late November, and one big one around the opener.

Pulling plugs is easy. Definitely up-size to #5 #7 #9 ShadRaps, etc.. You don't need a lot of really expensive gear, or special lead core line. Just get your baits near the fish "zone", and the big fish will do the rest.

Also you can try big plastics, all the way up to pike and musky sized baits. Huge walleyes will hit huge baits. If you really wanna target the giants, don't waste your time with small to mid-sized baits.

Go big or go home. You won't catch as many fish, but the ones you do catch will be the biggest fish in the system.

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tunrevir

The biggest obstacle to catching big walleyes consistently is the water that a person fishes. That being said, sounds like you have dialed in on some larger fish and that would be a good place to start, however, a 32" fish is a rare and unique specimen here and to catch one over 30 on a consistent basis may well drive you batty. Red tails are a good way to go especially in the fall but I wouldn't rule out trolling larger baits well into Oct and November late at night and early morning when the fish move shallow. Most importantly, you have to fish regularly on bodies of water that hold fish the size you are looking for. Little bay De noc, Sturgeon Bay, Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake eerie, Red Wing at certain periods of the year all have the ability to produce those oversized giants on a much regular basis then Leech, Mille Lacs, Winnebago, Rainy or other bodies of water. I am not saying that there are no 32" fish in these bodies of water but you have set a lofty goal for yourself and some of these larger bodies of water produce fish into the teens every year. If you do catch a 32" on the bodies of water where you fish regularly relish the fact that you caught a fish that only a small fraction of the population will ever catch there! My homewaters of Forest Lake have produced fish in the 30" range but they are far and few between, so to up your chances, go where there are possibilities at the sized fish you are after. Good luck, look forward to seeing pics from your quest!

Tunrevir~

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Grum

Pool 2 holds some nice sized fish, I've heard, since it's C&R only they could grow pretty nicely. If you live in the cities it's a nice close place to try some new and different tactics without spending a ton on gas driving to the big waters of the north.

My Dad used to use small bullheads with his cat fishing friends growing up on the Mississippi and said on occasion they would catch some large walleyes with them.

I know river fishing is going to be different than the lakes but it's good practice adapting to different waters in your quest for a monster.

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Northlander

Big fish waters = Big Fish. Spend time on lakes that have put out nice fish consistantly and dont waste your time on most smaller lakes. LOW, Mil Lacs, Erie, Superior etc.

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Deitz Dittrich

Like others have said.. You are really going to up your odds by the waters you are fishing. And then can up your odds again fishing slightly off the normal.

I would say your best bet at a legit 32" eye would be Lake Winnipeg.

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CANOPY SAM

I was going to throw that in there too Deitz.

Selkirk in the fall, on up to Pine Falls. 32" fish aren't uncommon. wink

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Raider4ever

...I would say your best bet at a legit 32" eye would be Lake Winnipeg.

If you caught it in Lake Winnipeg, wouldn't you have to call it a "81.28 centimeter(er)"? grin

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Deitz Dittrich

heck- when they are that big.. I just call em BIG..

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CANOPY SAM

That would be "81.28 centimeter(s), eh?" laugh

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DTro

I think a more realistic goal would to catch a “teen” walleye (13lbs or bigger).   You’d be hard pressed to find 10 guys on this entire site that have caught a legit 32”er.  Mostly luck involved.  As you go up from 30”, the number of people who have caught one drops exponentially with each .25"

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eyesonly

I think a more realistic goal would to catch a “teen” walleye (13lbs or bigger).   You’d be hard pressed to find 10 guys on this entire site that have caught a legit 32”er.  Mostly luck involved.  As you go up from 30”, the number of people who have caught one drops exponentially with each .25"

I 100% agree with the 32"er comment. Ive caught a handfull of 29"'s ,a 30 inch walley is my goal as a fisherman, mostly on Mill lacs when we were all catching them 5 years ago and if I had to Pick 1 spot to catch a trophy Walley within 4 hrs of the metro Id be fishing the Missippi River Between Hastings and the Ford dam.Those walleys can get pretty big in the fall and they are not all that hard to catch. we do really well trolling led in the fall. Its a great time

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JohnMickish

I am a big walleye hunter, and my two cents will point you to two bodies of water that offer you your best chance at a lower 30'sinch fish. Green Bay and lake Erie. I have fished them both and will continue to fish them for that very reason, they hold BIG fish.

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fishnowworknever

I know Lake Minnetonka has 1 less 31.75" walleye in it. You'd be hard pressed to find anything like that around the cities though.

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JohnMickish

My good friend boated a 31" and a 32" walleye 30 minutes apart on lake Erie in June. Very hard to do anything like that around here.

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CarpinMNRiver

BIG WALLEYES = BIG FRYING PAN. Yum yum.

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Nathansdad

I've only caught one walleye over 30" open water and that was on Mille Lacs. Hard water is a different story. I've caught 14 walleye over 30". The largest was 31.75 inches. I target large walleye a little different. I focus on small lakes under 1,500 acres that are bass/panfish lakes that have been stocked with walleye. Pleanty of forage in these lakes to grow walleye big and near zero fishing pressure, that is the key, find a lake with near zero fishing pressure. I don't catch large numbers of fish but the average size can be quite nice. Most of the fish I catch are in the primtime of morning and evening but the big girls are almost always between 10pm to 2am. Over the years of keeping track my average fish caught between 10 and 2 on these lakes is 25.5 inches. Pretty impressive for lakes that aren't walleye lakes. You do have to be satisfied taking some skunkings however. It is not easy and it takes a lot of paitence but the rewards can be great.

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leechlake

Like I mentioned I have the lakes chosen already based on fish I've caught in there the past thirty years. I'm very confident in the lake choices and if you asked any of my friends who have fished these lakes with me and if you yourself fished with me yourself we'd all agree and move on to the how. As suggested, it is true that I'm not really stuck on 32" but a teen fish. I mentioned length here so this wouldn't turn into a "are you going to keep it?" thread. Which I don't plan on doing. I've caught a dozen fish 28-29", one 29.5, one 30, and one 30-1/2 in these lakes. Yes, that is over the past thirty years so I do realize this is a lofty goal, as I mentioned, that's why I'm doing it.

Putting my goal into perspective I feel more confident in catching this Large walleye I'm hoping for more than shooting at 150" plus buck from the area. By the way, speaking of metric system I accidentally pressed a button in my truck and was running all digital displays in Metric. I love it, the speedo was still MPH but temp, gas usage, everything was metric. I set the AC to 17 C and hit the gas pedal and headed to the lake!

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corncob

I caught a 30" walleye on Farm Island in early June when actually fishing for Northerns, using a 6inch sucker minnow under a cork....I had a backlash and while I was getting out the birds nest, the cork went under.....Took me a few minutes to get my line in order, and I reeled in the huge walleye with the minnow totally swallowed....So much for the smaller minnows for big walleye?

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Gordie

Another water way that has not been mentioned is the Mighty Mississippi that can produce some real pigs in the spring of the year along with the fall time bite. I have seen 12.8 lb start at 29.5 inches in spring of the year and have caught a 26 incher that was 10lbs personally.

Like its been said Go Big or go home when it comes to bait the big ones in the spring I have caught have been on 3/4 -1 oz jigs with five inch power minnows and tipped with a couple of fatheads. Fall time I will use small suckers or creek chubs up to 6 inches long too.

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fishkins

Get the biggest Red Tails you can find. Big Eyes can't resist'em.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Fathom
      Set up deeper on rock reef for the rest of the weekend and only managed one fish (26" eye), missed a couple others. We wanted to stay deeper due to all the traffic on the lake. We did enjoy a good time at Fishing for Ducks, we saw a nice walleye pulled through the ice but it only measured 27.5". Talk about a bummer for that guy!
    • Jarrid Houston
      Roads to the islands always need to be taken very cautious and I would encourage going with someone who knows the area..  I believe they were shutting down the highway H extension due to this recent weather we just got?  Plenty of fish and opportune situtations in the bay.
    • cookie129
      Another crazy busy weekend is in the books. I really enjoy giving out my fishing/what's happening on the lake reports but finding the time has been tough. To say its a grind is a understatement.
       I can tell you again as the season winds down I'm never ready for it to end, as I truly love being out there in my trucks, moving houses, plowing the  hillmen highway, giving advise, helping other fishermen when they do something silly, Driving into a snow bank, dropping there gun down a hole or any other important object like there keys. Every year all the workers seem to get a little grumpy as fighting mother nature, going from sun up to sunset takes a toll physically and mentally. It also seems I ruffle a few feathers every year and its never my intent  so I have to chalk it up as a long season. If I stepped on anyone's toes it sure was not planned or intended as all most every day plan a turns to plan b and c. Mother nature dictates where I go sometimes as well as any plowed roads that can make our job easier. The cookie shuffle worked very well this year as I tell everyone that gets lost in my maze of trails. I'm not a road engineer.
       Man did we get overwhelmed with wheel house's this past weekend, any fish coming from southwest had to go threw a gauntlet of hooks to find my fishermen.
       I had two wheel house's  that I set up at the end of the hillmens highway and was surprised how bad they did. I guess I should of went south not east? The nw road has gotten to much to maintain, there's one lone house out that way that will need a new trail made .
       Its all started Thursday as jonnny boy and I prepped for the weekend with Joe, Zack, Adam and   his crew arriving fro florida. Zacks birthday wish was fishing red lake, they had a blast. They went to westwind where they enjoyed a fish fry, plus they took home a few fish with a couple even getting a ride in florida fish house as we moved a small distance to put it on fresh ice for there last night sunday. Last year when they came we landed on the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie mother load? I think  they had dreams for a year of repeating that. Every year is different and again this year was no exception.
       Ben who proposed in old Minnesota to Shawna 8 years ago were in old Minnesota with there two adorable kids. Louie the fishing machine and his little sister Willa plus there friend Nelli.
       They had a blast also with Shawna getting a elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie to boot. They also managed to take home a nice batch of upper red lake walleyes.
       Hunter and his two buddies were in north Dakota. It was slow but they also managed to take home a batch of fish.
       Charlie and Rizzo were in montana , They were very serious about there fishing and went home with there 8.
      Jeromy and his gal were in north Carolina Saturday, sunday . They also managed to get there 8.
       Sunday was a very tough day as we had all 5 houses re rented. I was planning on moving all of them so we battled mother nature the whole time as a ne wind with 2 inches of snow made it impossible to see. At one point I was getting sea sick as I struggled to see, With the sky, horizon and the lake all the same color. wow what a struggle.
       It took us  7 1/2 hours but we got every thing cleaned, moved.
       Mother nature has given us another bout of snow so tomorrow I will let every one know how the houses did the last two days as its time to check the fluids and fire up the fleet
       
    • nickeleye
      Figured I should report back... I fished prime time on Saturday morning and Saturday evening. No action. It didn't help that I forgot to grab the vexilar on the first outing, but it didn't help to have it on the second outing either! ha! Marked a few but couldn't get them to bite. Used a GPS chip to punch some holes over structure, but when I came back with the vexilar, they weren't quite as deep as I hoped. Thanks for the pointers BrianF
    • LucasLongCaster
      Around this time last year this thread was started by @Royal_Dutchman. I got my trip planned for April but by the look of the extended forecast it's not looking to promising, especially compared to where it was at last year on Feb 23rd. 
    • osok
      Been a brutal hard water season for me as well, figured it was a continuation of my fall fishing luck. 
    • Wanderer
      Thanks guys.  I checked out Modis for ice coverage and Navionics to help understand how things are laid out.  Knowing what areas certain fish prefer and those typical depths is a big plus.
    • urbaniceteam
      My wife and I are hoping to get up to Mille Lacs this Saturday and spend the night on the ice.  Does anyone have any last minute availability?  All the resorts I've contacted are booked. Thanks!
    • Borch
      Lots of nice fish!  Central Mn is cranking out some nice panfish.
    • eyeguy 54
      I did till about 2 then just had to go for a bit. LOL 
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