I do not post a lot of fishing how to articles on Northern Jacks. Mainly because I still see myself as a novice fisherman, especially when it comes to walleye. Recently though I was chatting with someone who reached out to me through the site and they were looking for information on a lake I had fished in the past and as I was trying to break down the spots that worked for us, I realized I had focused on 3 specific locations. Well in truth it was more than 3 locations but they all feel into 3 types of spots that have been money for my group on our own trips. So I thought I would share those “walleye magnets” in the hope that it may help others who have decided to spend some time dunking a lure in search of “ol marble eyes”
This type of spot is a the first thing I am looking for on a map or Google earth when I am looking at a new lake. My general idea of a hump may be broader than most. To me it is a sudden change in depth in an area of relatively consistent area. Better if its near or part of the main basin of the lake. Some people may call these rock piles or sunken island but I keep it simple (cause I ain’t that bright) and go with humps. I remember our fly in fishing trip on Miminiska Lake in July Miminiska Report. It was a hot week and overall water levels were down a lot. When I first headed out with my brother-in-law, we cruised to an area that the dock crew had pointed out. The average depth of the area we started in was 12 feet deep. As we drifted along, I noticed a marker buoy off our bow, as I edged us over it was apparent this was a “hump” about this size of a swimming pool. We started to troll crankbaits around the structure and the walleyes were there, fat and hungry. For the rest of the week the pattern held true – we caught them on humps that were in 10 feet of water, 20 feet and my largest walleye came off a hump that topped out at 12 feet but was surrounded by some of the deepest water in the lake. In short – find those humps, find the walleye. You can fish these areas in a myriad of ways but my preference is based on depth. If its 14 feet or less I will start with a crankbait (Hot N Tots are a fave) and if its between 14 and 30 feet I will start with a bottom bouncer/crawler harness. Once I get a sense of where the fish are positioned (regardless of depth) I will swing back and soak a jig.
Island and Points
I could break these into two spots but since I tend to scout and fish them the same, I will cover them as a single entity. There is an old fisherman saying that says “points point out fish” and there’s a reason for it. Not all points and islands are the same. In general, I prefer to start with structures that are close or adjacent to deep water or the “basin” of the lake. I may be biased a bit as of lot of my fishing trips have been in late August or early September but I have had enough success in the spring to know that walleye tend to be close to deeper water any time of the year. Another key for me to sort out the good from the bad is current and wind. The best points or islands are those getting hit by the flow. I remember a day fishing on Ogoki Lake Ogoki Trip Report . We woke up to a heavy wind and one point that we had tried earlier in the week was now getting pounded by waves. I got my bow pointed into the wind and proceeded to crawl along in 20 feet with a bottom bouncer. Once I got good bottom contact, I would slowly turn the boat towards shore and almost every time I hit 17 feet, I struck gold. The rest of the guys soon joined me and it was two hours of epic catching.
Inflows and Outflows
I realize that not all lakes have a true inflow and outflow but in my experience many of the Northern Lakes I have fished are part of a river system. As mentioned, current (wind or river created) is usually a great place to look for walleye. I am no scientist but I do believe its kind of like me looking for the area the waiters are entering with trays of hors d'oeuvres at a wedding. We (me and the walleye) are looking for the spot where the food will flow right to us. On our trip to Lake St Joseph Root Bay Trip Report we decided to spend the morning fishing the dam at the outflow. I was amazed (still am) by the amount of walleye we caught but what was crazier was where. Picture casting a jig into the fastest rapids you have seen and that’s where the walleyes were stacked. Honestly, it was one of the first times I ever experienced a fish on every cast. No bait, just a ¼ ounce jig with a white twister tail. Ryan (Slate Falls Owner and Walleye Whisperer) had told us to cast out, count to 2 and then start reeling and man was he right. Each fish felt lbs. over its actual size because of how strong the current was. We also had an amazing spot where the Root River exited the lake but you can read about that here Great Spots
So those are some of my walleye magnets. To some they may be obvious starting points (I see you trip veterans shaking your heads) but when my group started out they weren’t. Having spent much of our time fishing the shallower, weedier lakes of Southern Ontario we wanted to find weed edges and drop offs. Research helped us start to expand and now success has dictated these 3 area’s are where we tend to focus early in the trip. Sure we find new area’s (neckdowns were good on Lake St Joe) and stumble into new things but I guarantee when we start scouting out our next trip we will look for humps, islands, points, inflows and outflows.