The last couple months have been so much trout. A little bit of panfish through the ice, but so much trout. I was getting sick of it. Don't get me wrong, I love trout. Especially small stream wild fish and targeting monster browns. But I also crave variety. I'm a multi-species angler. I like figuring stuff out. And, of all the fish I fish for, trout are one of those that I have pretty well figured out. Walleye though... I only have them a little bit figured out. There is so much to learn with them, especially with fly tackle. So I've been haunting some of my walleye spots these last two weeks, waiting for a sign. And yesterday I got that sign. I could see some things lining up. Temperatures, pressure, amount and timing of rainfall... what I saw told me to fish a specific spot I hadn't fished yet this year, even though I'd never caught a walleye there this early. I pay close attention to patterns and what I saw told me where I should go. I suspected I'd find big walleye feeding and getting ready to spawn.
I knew the bite would coincide with last light. I also knew I wanted to fish before then. So I went for some other toothy critters. The pickerel were all too willing to occupy me.
The conditions played out exactly as they were supposed to. I was confident in my choices and predictions when I got to the spot. I didn't, however, foresee there being largemouth there. Or slab crappies. But you won't see me complaining.
On two consecutive casts, in the very same spot, I came tight to what were clearly substantial walleye. Neither was on for long, just long enough to demonstrate how large and in charge they were. The first just threw the fly. The second made off with both my fly and my clip. Serves me right for using a loop knot with a clip (loop knots bounce around in the clip on the cast and can slip out if they end up in a bad place. Thanks Alberto, for confirming that and setting me straight). Failing to get another take, I downsized flies. That again didn't produce. So I switched my position and covered the same water. That may seem completely pointless, but you'd be surprised by how often it results in a catch. The fish have seen your lure or fly come through the water in the same direction, and probably gotten more finicky if you've moved and hooked a few of their schoolmates. Now they see something coming through their spot in a different direction. That may just be what does the trick. And that's exactly what happened this time. It saved my butt.
he was a spawn ready male, as evidenced by the milt he discharged when I grabbed him. 22 inches long. Not a bad fish.
So, things lined up just as I thought they would. That was perfect. I also widened the scope of the time window within which this spot produces under the right conditions, which is excellent. It puts me leaps and bounds closer to my goal of getting a 30 inch walleye on the fly, as it is far more likely to happen early in the season when the giant females are in close.
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