Like many "opener" fishing excursions, the majority of anglers I observed were trying shallow water probably somewhere between 5-12 ft deep--and with some success. Atleast for my boat, last Saturday pushed us into a couple of different depth ranges. Now that I think of it, we didnt even fish shallower than 19ft. The majority of the fish we boated were pulled out of 25ft or more. Not surprising to me at all, but maybe to others? What's at 25ft? Schools of shiners and perch fry--walleye food that is. A jig and a minnow was all it took to have a fish fry that night. Besides the deeper water , we also had success using another pattern--new green weeds.
With the warm spring we have been having, the weed growth in many lakes has had a jump start almost thrusting the weed developement into summer mode, So what the heck, I decided to look for some green cabbage weed. To my surprise the weed in some areas was already 4-5ft tall, --should make for a good Musky opener? Anyway, the walleye were using the weeds to their advantage and taking the jig/minnow OR the jig/crawler combo with no regrets. What do you look for? I recommend looking for the new weed growth close to spawning areas. Typically the best weed beds will be just off the edge of a large flat with deep water (30 ft or more). The weeds themselves should be in the 8-15ft range. Why? Thats just a common depth range for cabbage weed to grow in most lakes throughout the state. Find the base of the weedline using your electronics reading skills and simply work the deeper edge looking for pockets/points/ anything irregular on the weed edge. If the band of weeds is narrow, do not forget about the inside weed edge --the edge on the shore side of the weed bed.
This time of the year I'm a fan of blue/white colors and maybe a green as well. Try to stay shiner minnow orientated when picking your colors. Although when fishing weed edges it doesn't hurt to lean towards chartreuse/orange combos (perch colors). Tip the jig or live bait rig with a lively 3" shiner minnow and you are in business. These ideas will work for another couple weeks untilt he shiner spawn is finished. And dont worry about the sunlight, its all about food this time of the year. Personally I would rather have a nice calm sunny day--more fun to fish in that;s for sure.
We'll I better get packing, after spending the last 10 minutes writting about weeds I'm heading north to Rainy Lake to fish rock/sand for the most part. Although, there is a really good shallow weed pattern there as well. Thats a little different--3-6 ft cabbage in side bays and castinc plastics or crankbaits--basically fishing walleye with bass tactics. Will be fun--not to mention the bonus monster pike! Good Luck, Capt. Josh www.minnesotaguideservice.com