This past Saturday, HookedUp101 put in some miles working for walleyes in Southeast Wisconsin.
A productive walleye location on a 700 acre lake was the destination, but given the early ice period and that fact that it’s a waiting game in regards to safe access as client safety is always job one!
Not only must an angler remain patient, but they must be determined and willing to work hard by lugging the necessary equipment to the high percentage walleye structure provided in order to achieve ultimate walleye success!
Things might be different if motorized transportation were available, but to add to the ‘walleye challenge, these walleye factories have rules in which no motorized vehicles (cars, trucks, ATVs, snowmobiles, etc.) are allowed onto the ice.
So the job as the guide was this:
1) Ensure we could make it safely to key 100 yard stretch of deep rock (16-24 feet deep) that runs parallel to a lush, green weed edge notoriously known as a walleye highway.
2) Lug all the gear necessary to pinpoint and target these walleyes 1.8 miles out onto and hour in advance with
I ventured out an hour earlier than the onset of the trip exactly 1.8 miles with a life jacket, spud bar, ice safety picks, throw cushion and rope.
This process requires an angler to diligently check the ice thickness along the way.
A smile broke across my face as I arrived successfully at my waypoints on the handheld GPS…we can make it!
I quickly backtracked the 1.8 mile journey to the lake’s access point to meet my client and get all the gear packed into 2 sleds.
With approximately 100 lbs of gear (Portable Ice Shelter, Vexilar fish finders, Minnow Bucket, Power Auger, Tip-Ups, Jig Rods, Propane heater, a couple 5-gallon buckets, etc.) we made the 1.8 mile walk back out to fish just before sunset/prime-walleye-time.
We used the GPS, Power Auger, and Vexilar to pinpoint the exact holes we wanted in 16-24 feet of water with a hard bottom, and a hint of weeds those weeds.
Not long after the tip-ups were put in, we had the first tip-up flag of the night spring to life. Eric quickly scurried from his jigging position to begin his battle with the first walleye of the night. His hook set was flawless and some decent weight at the end of the line was accentuated by some nice hefty head shakes. Unfortunately half way back to the hole, the line went limp and the fish came unbuttoned! BUMMER!
Soon we had flag but this one was a false alarm. Jigging for fish found us only marking a couple more fish that we were unable to coax into biting.
Ten minutes left in the trip and Eric raised a solid mark on the Vexilar indicating a nice fish moving off the bottom…his jig rod doubled over as a nice 22″ walleye completely inhaled his bait. He fought it patiently as it peeled drag near the hole, and when it seemed ready I reached in and hoisted his fish onto the ice!
After a walleye like that, lugging all the gear back ANOTHER 1.8 miles through the slushy, snow-capped ice was more than tolerable now that we had a nice photo memory to share!
SAFETY NOTE: Click to learn more about the essential ice fishing safety tools utilized for this ice fishing adventure