Going Rogue for Post-Spawn Walleye

Pete measuring his post-spawn walleye before releasing it.

There are two pieces of advice I can give about fishing success at Two Moon Lodge. 1. Listen to the outfitter and 2. Don’t listen to the outfitter. (Remember: I’m the guy who said we missed blackfly season this year…what do I know, eh?)

Here, I have been suggesting to our guests that the walleye are in the bays (which they are), in the shallows (which they sometimes are), and feeding at dusk (which is generally true). I created the Two Moon Tackle Box on our website to help anglers jump the learning curve for fishing on Kipawa. It’s worth using this as your shopping list when hitting your local fishing store, as probably 90% of the fish caught here hit on one of the baits recommended on our webpage. I have given everyone the information needed about location and how to present the bait. Should be easy, right?

Sometimes, it is. But other days, not so much. Take the past two weeks as a case in point. Colder water, week-long winds from the north, a layer of pollen on the surface so thick that fishing lines wouldn’t sink, bright days, ferocious mosquitoes–all these factors combined to make for some challenging walleye fishing. The bite might be  fast and furious during the magic 30 minutes after sunset, and the next evening it might be pretty slow. Or the catch is predominately immature male walleye at the bottom end of the slot limit. But that’s what you get for listening to the outfitter.

Then there are those who do their own thing. Be it a factor of knowing more, going with a hunch, sticking with a style that they like or just dumb luck, the biggest fish over the past weeks have been taken during the day, in deeper water, in the main lake. These guys have chosen to skip off on their own and the gamble has paid off. They put in the time and mileage by trolling shoreline, trying new areas, and getting the bait over 15 to 10 foot depths.

But it makes sense. The large walleye have returned to the main lake after their spawning run. The spent females drop into deeper water to recuperate. They haven’t actively fed in some time and are certainly not chasing minnows in the warm shallows with the boys. They just want some quiet mommy time. Staying in their pyjamas all day and laying around the house. But, sooner or later, along comes a perfectly trolled Thin Fin or Rapala or crawler harness and it’s like the doorbell just rang with a delivery from Skip the Dishes. With wine and chocolate for desert.

Thanks to our slot size on the lake and conscientious anglers, these breeding hens are returned to spawn again. Plenty of good eating-sized walleye have come from the evening shallows and while these may have fed the gang back at the camp, the one who takes home the big-walleye prize pack is likely the one who went rogue.

Then again, what do I know?

Connor with his dad’s big walleye