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Thorne Bros nique of choice, especially after dark. Larger baits, such as the ones you would use in late fall conditions, can be deadly this time of year. The Rapala Original Floater is an old favorite. Also, you can never go wrong with the Rapala Husky Jerk. I would recommend sizes 10, 12 and even 14 if you feel you can entice them with a larger profile. You want to let out enough line so your bait is just over the top of the weeds. Remember, walleyes like to feed on prey that is above them. If you are fishing in eleven feet of water, your weed top is six feet down and you run your Husky Jerk at five feet, you will be okay. Walleyes will feed on baits that are ten feet away or more depending on water clarity. Your trolling speed at this time of year can vary. As a rule of thumb, start by trolling slowly, then incorporate series of “s” turns. This technique will manipulate the speed of your bait under the water without increasing or decreasing your boat’s speed on the surface. As you begin to turn, the rod on the outside of the turn will increase in speed, while the inside line will do the opposite. If you are able to trigger a strike on either line, knowing which line was hit will tell you which way to adjust your speed. Rocks and gravel are also dynamite areas to target in those first moments of the season. Look for the smaller rock versus the large boulder reefs at this time of year. Try fishing water depths that are as shallow as two feet to as deep as eleven feet. Much like weeds, these areas draw bait fish. The water temps tend to be higher due to the rock or gravel retaining some of the sun’s warmth from the day. Active walleyes hold in this cover. In structures such as these, a stealthy approach can be your ally. Set your boat up just far enough outside the structure so you can cast over it. Casting crank baits, especially at night, is one of the most overlooked techniques on opening day. This technique works particularly well when the constant speed of trolling will not trigger a fish or your lighted bobber refuses to make itself go away. At times like these, casting offers a different approach. The most important aspect of casting is that it allows you to change things up. If a straight retrieve does not work, Be very aware, the walleye will. Remember, you are in the environment of the walleye. They are attuned to everything going on around them through the sense of their lateral line. Caution, be quiet and your catch ratio will skyrocket.

you can incorporate a series of jerks or twitches. Try to picture in your mind how your bait is reacting in the water. If you observe a school of bait fish, you will notice that they are rarely all swimming in one constant motion. In this instance, move your rod position from one side of your body to the other to change the direction of the bait. You can also try changing your rod position, moving the tip from high in the air all the way down to below the water’s surface. When you catch a fish, try to duplicate the motion. Many times little subtleties like this are the ones that can increase your odds versus the other person in the boat. Baits like the new Rapala X-Rap offer the perfect versatility. They are excellent change up baits. With their unique design they can be extremely effective on a straight retrieve or even deadlier when you incorporate a slight pause and then begin the retrieve again. They offer a broad variety of color patterns that can be matched to the forage in the body of water you chose to fish. Using a longer rod can also be an advantage. It will allow you to cast bait further and put more action on bait with little effort. When casting for walleyes, I prefer a spinning rod and reel set up. There are many anglers awaiting their chance to produce a respectable limit the first night of the season. For some, the experience will be similar to the prior year’s- a livewell full of aluminum cans, plastic bottles, candy wrappers and maybe a walleye or two somewhere in there. Then there will be others that decide to capitalize on an opportunity. Whether it is a tributary or a nice gravel shoreline on the northwest side of a lake, make sure to do some research on the body of water you will be fishing. Look for the key locations where fish are likely to spawn. Then look for the rock reefs, weed lines, sand flats and drop offs that the walleyes will relate to as they leave these areas. Make sure to arm yourself with the proper baits and equipment to help increase your chances of catching fish. By adopting these concepts your first night will not only be the fulfillment of traditions but also the transition to opening night fishing success. Contact Bart Rosen for your next walleye or muskie adventure, as Bart would say “Game ON” Want a muskie? Here are a few guides that can help you out Kyle Brickson 2155 E Chub Lake Rd Carlton, MN 55718 Day Ph: 218-590-0216 muskyle@netzero.net www.minnesotamuskieadventures.com -Mille Lacs Lake -Vermilion Area Kevin Dickinson 2930 Oakland Rd Minnetonka, MN 55305 Day Ph: 612-804-8364 -Twin Cities Area Brian Gulseth 17725 327th Ave Isle, MN 56342 Day Ph: 218-821-7843 Eve Ph: 320-676-8064 bgulseth@mlec2.net www.figure8guideservice.com -Mille Lacs Lake Ted S. Gwinn 301 Tianna Ave Walker, MN 56484 Day Ph: 218-547-3514 Eve Ph: 218-547-3514 tgfish@arvig.net Al Moss 200 Summit Ave PO Box 253 Walker, MN 56484 Day Ph: 218-547-1600 Eve Ph: 218-547-1600 aldimaas@paulbunyan.net www.leechlakeguides.com/almaas Ted Roos 22048 Old Curre Rd SE Cass Lake, MN 56633 Eve Ph: 218-335-8805 -Cass Lake Any of these guides can help you achieve your muskie goals this season, go get em...