Early Season Game Plan

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Opening day may be quite a ways off but it’s not too soon to start thinking about how exactly you’re going to put a few extra walleyes in the boat. A little pre-opener thought can help you put together a winning game plan, a plan that includes some catching and no matter what they say; catching is a major part of a quality experience.

Exactly where you stake your claim is a big part of a solid plan and may not even be a consideration if you’re already locked in to a specific body of water. In that case you’ll have to try and make do (no matter what the conditions), and adjust to whatever Mother Nature dishes out. Flexibility on the other hand can give you a much better shot at putting a few more fish in the boat. A good boat trailer and being flexible allows for last minute adjustments, and may help to put you in the enviable position of being in the right place at the right time. Being in the right place at the right time is more than just dumb luck, although a little luck never hurts. In fact it’s more a matter of reading the conditions and reacting accordingly, which can put you well on your way to finding the season’s first hot spot.

Hot lakes and hot spots can vary from year to year and it seldom pays to get caught up in chasing memories. Variances in populations of walleyes and baitfish can have a dramatic effect on the activity levels of your intended victims and a number of things have to come together to get the odds in your favor.

For one, you need an appreciable number of walleyes to have a chance. Sounds simple enough but prior years of poor spawning conditions may have some year classes coming up a little short and if you’re dealing with slot limitations a couple of missing year classes may send you home empty handed.

The amount of available bait a system is carrying can also have a definitive effect, with a shortage being a huge advantage and a surplus being a detriment. Combine a burgeoning walleye population with a shortage of bait and you’re in the driver’s seat. On the other hand when a predator low and a high biomass of bait comes together a Shorelandr’ really becomes important. Predicting highs and lows is way over the average angler’s head and falls more into the realm of the professional biologists, and even they have trouble with the process. One thing you can do is look for trends, and realize that trends are not usually short lived. For example; a good fall is usually followed by a good winter and spring. A tough fall and winter on the other hand can translate into a tough spring and summer, but not always. About the only thing you can take away from it all is that it does happens, and if you’ve exhausted all of your options with little or no success a change in venue may be in order.

Another key factor affecting success on the opener is the type of spring we’ve been handed with warm and consistent being preferred. A big warm up before the opener can make good things happen for everybody, and the

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