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Suckers & Walleye


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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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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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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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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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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
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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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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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

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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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 :)

    • JerkinLips
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