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BobT

Suckers & Walleye

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BobT

I prefer a jig and minnow or jig and leech presentation for walleyes. My goto minnows for walleyes have been fatheads, shiners, or rainbows depending on where I'm at. Rainbows are almost unheard of around here in central MN. I have never really found one type of minnow that outshines the others. Recently, I decided to pick up some light northern minnows (suckers). I've never used these for walleye before. Anyone have any experience using them? Thoughts? 

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Wanderer

We had bought bait for pike fishing last winter, well I sent my wife in to buy it while I fueled the truck.  Scoop of crappies and a dozen suckers for tip ups.  She came back with a scoop of crappies and a dozen light pike suckers.  Those are for pike, right?

 

We couldn’t get on the lake we intended to so went to plan B for walleyes with friends.  I “gave em a try” and was really impressed how well they worked.  I’ll definitely do it again.

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Kettle

I've used light suckers when I couldn't get shiners or rainbows and was going after bigger walleye and they did work. 

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tacklejunkie

Agree with the above. But I've also caught plenty of eating sized walleyes with them, also

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BobT

One of the reasons I decided to try them is size. Can't find shiners here and the fatheads are small, almost as small as crappie minnows. The light pike sucker minnows are 4" - 5" and with the water cooling down and the later part of the season, I'm thinking the size will more closely match natural forage. We'll see how things go. 

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tacklejunkie

I’ve used smaller sucker minnows on spinners in autumn with good luck

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gimruis

I use artificials instead and the catch rate is almost unnoticeable.  Plus you don't have to worry about keeping them alive, stopping at a bait shop, or re-rigging all the time with a live one.

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BobT

I have never used artificial bait that outfished live bait. We go to the Lac Seul every spring in June and on a typical day we expect to boat at least 75 walleyes per day per person. We go through a lot of bait so one year I brought Berkeley Power Bait along to test it out and see if we could reduce our bait bill a little. 

 

I tried everything from finesse jigging to snap jigging over the five-day trip and the result was that live minnows out-performed the Power Bait by at least 20:1. It wasn't even a remote competition. 

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tacklejunkie
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, BobT said:

I have never used artificial bait that outfished live bait. We go to the Lac Seul every spring in June and on a typical day we expect to boat at least 75 walleyes per day per person. We go through a lot of bait so one year I brought Berkeley Power Bait along to test it out and see if we could reduce our bait bill a little. 

 

I tried everything from finesse jigging to snap jigging over the five-day trip and the result was that live minnows out-performed the Power Bait by at least 20:1. It wasn't even a remote competition. 

 

 I tried  scented plastics on jigs one year while on Lake of the Woods and I ended up switching back to frozen shiners.   Tried it again on the Rainy River one fall and still ended up switching back to live bait 

 

 It’s live bait for me, also. The exception is   when on Lake Superior I use spoons exclusively. Another occasional exception is if I’m trolling the shallow flats on the St. Louis River and my crawlers are being picked the death by perch  I’ll then tie on a few crank baits 

 

 

I have also noticed that the last couple years the fat head chubs are getting smaller.

 

 But I have picked up the smallest sucker minnows I could find and have had no issues with walleyes snapping at them.  Walleyes eat minnows and they are minnows

 

Edited by tacklejunkie
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ozzie
Posted (edited)

I have used light pike and had success with them and catching walleyes.  As for the artificial...there are some that tend to work better than others, but they are a reaction bite just like a jigging rap is.   They have their time and place but also take confidence in catching fish.  I have been panfishing and had plastics out fish live bait, but that doesn't mean I won't use live bait for panfish ever again.

Edited by ozzie
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Rick

I have fished with some of the top anglers in the state. Some are very diehard livebait anglers during certain times of the year. Many of you would know them.

 

I've used plastics on Rainy, Rainy River, LOTW, Winnie, Leech, Mille Lacs,Tonka, and almost all of the top rivers and have yet to lose out using plastics during the spring or fall. Especially on the Rainy River in the fall. One of my live bait friends was so stubborn they still wouldn't switch when they couldn't buy a fish using emerald shiners on a jig while I was hammering them.

 

The way I learned to use plastics was to not bring any live bait on those early outings. It really is a confidence thing. Really.

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Bigfatbert

Quote Rick : It really is a confidence thing . really .  

 

I  totally agree 100% , but with that being said , I would also say that one does usually work better than the other at any given time  , usually not a 50-50 thing .

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gimruis

Live bait has its uses.  I don't disagree with that.  Some people are just so set in their ways using ONLY live bait they are wasting time, energy, and money buying it for every outing.  I have only used live bait once all season and that was crappie minnows one day when the water was still very cold in early May.  With the outrageous cost of live bait at times, its just one more incentive to use artificial lures more often.  Another thing I should mention is that I release 95% of the fish I catch so I am not targeting any one specific species on a trip to harvest.  Live bait results in a much higher mortality rate and I want these fish to be fully alive when I release them - artificial lures helps that cause.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Kettle
      Drove past the west side of Mille Lacs today. Large areas of ice with a few open areas and even a boat fishing, looks like they busted ice at the Garrison access to get out. Saw a handful of goldeneye and mergansers but that was it
    • Sculpin
      The addition of beads really adds something,  I go to the fabric store in St Cloud and buy glass beads, and use them above hooks on my deadsticks. I believe glass is better, they are brighter in color, more reflective, you can find more colors and sizes. Plus they click clack a little bit when you jig. 
    • BRULEDRIFTER
      I personally would like to see the smallie wiped off the map in this lake (and all laker lakes). They aren't native and I assume they are detrimental to laker populations.  I can only imagine what they do to laker fry and yoy on those rocks and reefs.  It seems as the laker population declined on W. Bearskin, the smallies have exploded.  Not sure if that's because the SM have more food to work with with less lakers, or because the lake trout are the smallies food. I''ll be curious to see how the DNR responds to that question I asked, if they respond at all.  
    • BRULEDRIFTER
      Thanks for the heads up on this!  I just sent them the following email.    Good afternoon,    I am curious if potentially implementing a slot limit, or maximum size regulation on lake trout is being considered in this management plan?   As an avid and passionate lake trout angler for over 15 years, I have noticed that over the last number of years lake trout angling has greatly increased in popularity, and with that, the overall quality and quantity of the fish populations have significantly decreased (at least in my experiences).  Stocking them has long been discontinued and it seems the vast majority of anglers keep fish of any size. In fact, it seems in the world of lake trout, the bigger the better. It seems that education about how fragile these fish are is just not readily available for people. There is some stuff out there if one were to dig deep enough, and a few of the more popular fishing shows are doing some education, but overall, it seems to be lacking because walleye are king.   Personally, I practice and promote selective harvest with lakers. My personal slot (and one I would love to see here in all MN Inland waters) is anything less than 17" and and greater than 25" go back in the lake ( so, a 2 fish total bag limit, 17-25", with 1 fish allowed over 32"). It would also be nice to see more strict limits put in place on the most popular lake trout fisheries, but a statewide slot would be a great place to start.    I have felt for quite a long time (as I've seen their popularity grow, and stocking discontinue) that some additional protection for these fish was greatly needed. There are Esox groups, bass groups, walleye groups, stream trout/steelhead groups and even catfish and sturgeon groups out there promoting and cheer leading for those fish species, but nothing out there for the laker.   I would love to see the MN DNR finally take some steps to help protect what we have left of lake trout fisheries while we still have them.     So, in summary,    Are there any additional protections (slots, limits, etc) for lake trout being included in this new management plan?   Has there been any research done on how smallmouth bass are impacting lake trout populations?  And if so, are they impacting them?    If smallies are having an impact on lakers, can there be anything done, aside from aggressive harvest of smallmouth to protect laker populations?       Thank you very much for your time!   Sincerely,    An Extremely Passionate Lake Trout Angler
    • Sculpin
      There are a few porty's starting to show up in the bays on the south side, although there is still a good deal of open water on the main lake. There were two houses out on Waukon bay yesterday, and an ATV and a small hard side spear shack in Cove bay, and one house in Isle Bay.  I would imagine by the weekend, there will be significant foot traffic in the bays. Bear in mind you can't fish walleyes until Dec. 1st, but you can be perchin or pike fishing and, and still be catching those pesky "incidental" fish. Good luck, and use extreme caution 
    • AlwaysFishing23
      Tuned up custom inferno series in UL for panfish and the M for walleyes. Inline reels like the CGI or decent for the Ul. And a okuma ceymar c10 or Shimano Sienna 1000 FE for the M. 
    • shaky legs2
      I was back on the ice a week after hip replacement surgery.  My wife wasn’t too happy and threatened to tell the surgeon but I went anyway.  After I graduated from the walker to a cane I decided one morning to take a walk and visit some of Kelly’s customers.  Every house I went to nobody would talk to me.  I was just trying to be sociable and a good neighbor.  When I got back Doc asked me how it went.  I said we had a bunch of rufusses for neighbors that were unsociable and nobody would talk to me.  Doc said, “Don’t you remember rule #1?” “ Kelly has them posted in all his houses”.  “Don’t talk to strangers!”  😀😀😀
    • Naturboy
      I like taking the Power Bait maggots and threading onto my pan fish jigs the same way. gives a soft tasty body.
    • shaky legs2
      God, I miss those times Kelly.  You are a great friend and Doc and I commented so many times how fortunate we were that you took us under your wing.  You probably felt sorry for us and thought we were harmless.  I remember your first year with the press-board houses that you later painted sky blue so they would blend into the horizon, that fire engine red truck you had, sneaky snaky roads with a gatekeeper house smack in the middle, that sneaky off-shoot road right off the Hillman road on the south side of the pressure ridge.  That area witnessed the hottest crappie bite I have ever seen and it went on for months and the crappie Highway.  Doc is reading this right now and chuckling.  Take care my friend, stay healthy and give Freddy a hug from Shaky.
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