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Frigid temperatures and thick ice can make walleye angling more of a challenge, but if you know how to approach them, you can take home a stringer full. Winter walleyes can be finicky and the bite can be light. The cardinal rule for catching winter walleyes is finesse. Walleyes will spook easily and their sense of caution makes them over sensitive to overhead noise and vibrations on the ice. A snowmobile passing by where an angler is catching fish can end the bite as easily as a cold-fingered fisherman dropping an ice awl. Make sure your tip-up reels runs smoothly so that walleyes won't feel any resistance when they pick up the bait. Using a lightly-hooked minnow with only a split-shot or two is a good rule of thumb. Try artificial baits like a Bay De Noc Swedish Pimple, a small Eppinger Cop-E-Cat or a Luhr Jensen Crippled Herring. Tip one of the hooks on your lure with a minnow or part of a minnow to make it even more tempting. Keep line in the 8- to 10-pound test range in the shallows. For deeper water graduate to a braided super line for greater sensitivity to a light bite.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|