John Hoyer Seminar How to Catch Your Limit This Walleye Opener – Part 2 Where to Fish and How Deep

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Where to Fish

Here is a secret.  Big waters have big populations of walleyes.  That is why there are limits.  DNR has made adjustments to get a harvest quota that keeps the lake in balance.  The bigger the lake is, by nature the fish become opportunistic.  Walleyes are trying to find food.  On a big lake you can see a drawn-out all-day bite.  When can I catch walleyes all day?  Not just 30 minutes at sunrise and sunset.  Anything smaller than 10,000 acres will only have morning and night bites.

Follow the masses.  There is a reason why people are there.  That is where the fish are.

Big water needs a big boat.

Hear John Talk About Big Water

How Deep?

It is a question of how deep.  There is always something that turns into a pattern.  If your depth is not working, change it.  Opener depth is a lot of fun.  It is really shallow.  A big body of water has a lot of depth.  99% of male walleyes are sandwiched into 10% of the water.  8 feet or less.   During colder years females are there too.  Target spawning areas – sand, gravel and rock.  The spawn can be stretched out for 4 to 8 weeks.  The males wait around for females to come in.  On big lakes the males will be in shallow for weeks.  They are kind of sitting ducks. 

The idea of a spawning area was vague to me.  What does spawning area mean?  It took me thousands of hours on the lake to recognize a spawning area.  The keys to a good spawning area 8 ft or less.  In a bay.  Sand is a hard bottom.  Walleyes love to spawn on sand.  Not mud.  Basins are mud.  Come into a bay.  Work to a point where there is rock.  A transition area.  You start to see gravel.  Gravel is a form of sand that has not yet become sand. 

Current connection.  In lakes you will have current that is generated by wind.  Walleyes like current.  You don’t need an inlet.  You can go to any culvert and catch fish.  They will be there after dark. 

A neck down creates current.  Any time you have a big basin that funnels down to a channel will be a funnel for water to pick up speed and create current. 

Leech Lake

Lake there are big bays and small bays, Portage Bay, Sucker Bay and Steamboat Bay.  I could say they spawn in Portage Bay.  It is 20 miles long.  Inside that there are smaller bays.

Here is Hardwood Point.  If you drive here on opener there will be hundreds of boats.  The whole bay is 8 ft deep.  It has a hard bottom.  On either side of the point is all sand.  If there is any wind blowing on it, the walleyes are there.

Mille Lacs

They call it the pond.  75% of the fish spawn in NE corner Melmo bay.  It is a 7 mile stretch of sand.  There is a primary break – on a cold year stay up on the top in 4 ft deep.  As water warms, move to 6-7 feet.  This is where advanced electronics help.  Drive along and you can see pods of fish.  There are other bays, Garrison Bay, Wigwam Bay; they all have lots of sand. 

Gull Lake

John has never fished it.  He is confident he could catch the limit.  It has a lot of walleyes.  Look at the northern part of gull.  There are a bunch of cool spots.  Excuse me if you fished Gull your entire life – I hope I am not giving away your favorite spots.  The center bar is marked and is shallow.  That is where my Dad got his personal best.  On Gull you are on the verge of evening or morning bit unless you have some wind going. 

Northern part of Gull has lots of channels.  There are many current areas where the walleyes will be. 


I live on Minnetonka, well not ON, I am a fisherman.  I live near Minnetonka.  Every lake is connected by a channel.  There are 30.  When there is wind, water will be pushed from one lake into another and generate current.  When it stops, the water will flow back.  So all of these channels are great spots on opener.

Hear John Talk About Where and How Deep

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