February 09, 2012
By Matt Straw
Right now, big walleyes are getting a tad lethargic. Sitting on bottom. Won't rise to the jig. Or is it just me? What day is this? Oh, yeah. Beware the Ides of February. Time seemed to fly this year, as the ice failed to become safe to walk on for record periods of time. According to NASA, this January was the fourth warmest on record, overall. I have a sneaky suspicion it was the warmest ever up here in Minnesota, but I haven't seen the statistics yet.
At least we have ice. Lots of ice fishermen had to do without this year. On behalf of the entire state, let me extend the invitation. We still have a couple weeks of walleye, pike, and trout fishing left, and maybe another month for bluegills, whitefish, crappies, eel pout — did I mention whitefish?
Love those whitefish. Since they receive very little angling pressure, we can safely harvest a few each time out. They have great visual acuity, so you need light line (I often use 2-pound fluorocarbon), but they fight like trout. Challenging little guys, and very tasty baked, broiled, or fried. We're planning some local outings for "whiteys" right now, and I'll detail our tactical approach for you.
As for those walleyes, they get the heebie jeebies this time of year. Takes a lot longer to trigger one than it did at first ice. But don't give up. The longer it takes, the harder they fall.