We are 3 weeks into the 2023 Minnesota fishing season and the reports continue to be strong. I've been on the water guiding trips about 1/2 the days so far...and fishing seems to be hot at times and cold at others. I know that isn't a great report, but I get frustrated when resort owners talk about how FANTASTIC the fishing is, and don't get me wrong...fishing is good overall, especially for the late ice out and the cooler temps we've had since opener.
Opener and first week had water temps in the mid to high forty's which likely still has spawning walleyes overnight in the rocks and slow-moving females resting in sandy areas. Lots of smaller fish could be found in deeper waters, and consistently a jig/minnow presentation was the best for us. Bouncing slow moving jigs with plastics or "hair jigs" such as the Northland deep Vee hair jig produced some big fishing up in shallower areas.
Week 2-3- are waters are warming up, and simply finding warmer inflows or shallow warm bays could increase the water temps (surface) more than 5 degrees....so now these areas I'm targeting are 57-61 degrees and the quality of keeper walleyes dramatically improved. Multiple methods to catch these fish: Jig/minnow still undeniable, jigs and plastics, jerk baits such as the Northland "Rumble B" or "Rumble Shiner" that have a neutral bouncy and dive only 4--6 feet. I personally love pitching 1/4 oz whistler jigs or Stand up jigs tipped with a minnow into 2-6 feet of water. Walleyes if in there will hammer it! I had better luck in the evenings with this method (4-9pm)
Next up: leeches and lindy rigs should begin as our water continues warming. You may see minnows and leeches in the shallow area, and this is a good sign that these now post spawn walleyes will but their feed bags on. In my opinion the best fishing of the season will be for the next 2-3 weeks.