5 walleye-catching tips from a fishing guide for the Minnesota fishing opener

Jason Freed says you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn.
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The 2019 Minnesota fishing opener hits this weekend and fishing conditions could be quite good on most Minnesota lakes, and for the second year in a row temperatures are expected to start out a bit chilly and then warm into the 50s and 60s. 

There is, however, a threat of some afternoon showers and thunderstorms that anglers will need to keep an eye on. 

Jason Freed, a fishing guide with Leisure Outdoor Adventures in Walker, who served as a fishing guide for Vikings players Eric Kendricks and Trae Waynes during the 2018 opener, gave Bring Me The News a list of five tips and tricks he plans to pull out of his tackle box. 

1. Fish in shallow water

"Fish should be pretty shallow," Freed said. "Fish will be shallow but high boat traffic could push them out a little deeper."

Freed doesn't plan to fish any deeper than 12-13 feet. 

He also doesn't think it's necessary to be out at the crack of dawn to catch walleye. 

"Peak times to catch walleye, throw early morning out the window because water temperatures rising is what gets fish moving," he said. "A little wind in the middle of the afternoon and that water warms up, that's when the fish will start to go."

2. Keep the boat moving less than 1 mph

You don't want your boat moving any faster than 0.6 to 0.9 mph. Freed says it's the perfect drifting speed if you're using a jig and minnow, which he suspects about 90 percent of people will be.

3. Be patient, fish the edge of the boats

"Just a matter of being patient and doing your due diligence," says Freed. "Opener is fun and you gotta make sure you're enjoying yourself. If you can, find a way to fish on the edge of the boats."

Freed says the masses of boats, especially in the morning, will push the fish out a little deeper (12-13 feet). 

4. Time of day affects type of bait you should use

"Jigs and minnows in the morning, slip bobber and a minnow in the evening," Freed recommends. 

At dark, switch over to crank bait and start trolling the shallow flats and shorelines, so long as there aren't a lot of boats around. You shouldn't use crank bait when the lake is busy with boats.  

A #5 shad rap is his go-to. 

5. Be active with your fishing rod

"Really good piece of advice is to pay attention to your cadence while you're jigging. Sometimes rip and snap it, other times just hold it near the bottom. Just mixing things up." 

If you have multiple people in the boat, make sure your jigs have different colors, Freed says. 

The perfect lake?

"It's tough to beat Leech Lake. That's one of my go-to lakes," Freed said. "Cass Lake is a great lake, any of these big lakes. If you want to go catch fish, Lake Mille Lacs should be dynamite."

He added that Red Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish are also really good. 

If you're looking for less chaos, he recommends trying a smaller lake. 

"Just go out on some of these little lakes and it's going to be you and a couple of other boats. It's what I would do if I wasn't guiding." 

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