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Early Ice Walleye locations


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Where would I look for the early ice walleye?

I have no clue where to start looking.

In deep holes? Shallows? Trenches?

Steep dropoffs? Flats? Gentle slopes?

At the weedlines? Deep humps?

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I usually start my search near the shallow weedline. I've had ok success fishing walleyes in these areas in the past couple years. Shallow water structure seems to produce the best for me at early ice. I'm usually running anywhere between 6-15 feet of water. Shallow rocks (both points and piles) can be good too. Last winter there was a shallow mud flat (7-8 feet) that I hit a couple times that was pretty good throughout December. Water clarity can play a role on where you'll find your walleyes at early ice too...

Good Fishin,

Matt Johnson

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I would fallow Matt’s line of reason, very sound advice.

A tip is to get as much “[PoorWordUsage]” on where the bite was before freeze-up. Odds are very good they will frequent the same areas after the ice sets in. As long as the food is there, they will show up.

Often this is a shallow bite at first ice. A helpful tip is to scout these areas during the day and drill a wide pattern of holes deep and shallow. Then as dusk nears creep on into the spot and start hole hopping using an aggressive jigging search lure. Once you hone in on the fish adjust to stay on them. By pre-drilling a area you limit spooking them at dusk. Often these shallow clear water walleye are nocturnal feeders and a bit spooky.

They may move in waves, so once you see slow action on a group circle back and start your search anew. Frequently these shallow raiders feed well into the first couple of hours after dark then vanishes tell dawn. They may very likely have just moved back to the next drop off or shelf and hold. That is why you should lay a pattern of holes from deep to tight to structure so you can adjust efficiently.

I love perch lakes where anglers honeycomb a shoreline during the day searching for active fish. I see them move off for home late in the afternoon and I have a million new holes on a shelf that I can hit and run for active walleye. Sure save a lot of time.


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So would it be safe to say that a good perch location will hold walleye at night? One lake I fish has a really good shallow perch bite during the day, 5-8 FOW. I know there are walleye in the lake and have never targeted them, would this same area that I'm getting these perch in be a good place to start my walleye search in?

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Forage is the key. I would use Ed's idea of drilling a bunch of holes and take them out to the break. I would also start out on the break, and if they hit for a while then stop. Try in closer, they may move up to your 5-8ft.

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