Tom Neustrom Netting Walleye

Guest blogger: Tom Neustrom, professional fishing guide, shares his tips for this weekends Minnesota Fishing Opener in Grand Rapids, MN.

It’s about show time and I hope all Minnesota anglers are ready for the 2017 Fishing Opener. So much to do, but it will all get done. A little check list really helps so write a few things down. Life Jackets, fishing license, sun screen, new line on reels, plug for boat, grease trailer bearings, trailer lights and a couple other items that will make your season start on the right foot. Stop at your favorite bait shop and stock up on jigs, rigs, and bait.  If you are a visitor to our area, stopping in at local bait shops will give you direction on current lake information and where the hot lakes are and what they are biting on.

The water temperatures are in the mid to upper 50’s and that will give us some good fishing opportunities. With stable weather the walleyes should be active and biting. Being a big fan of jig and minnow this time of year make sure you have an assortment of colors and sizes.  Minnows of choice are usually spot tail shiners, rainbow chubs and fatheads. One eighth ounce jigs as a rule of thumb most often is the best option. If the walleyes are deeper, say past 15 feet, then switching to a quarter ounce jig is the best option. Many times slip sinker rigs will produce as well. Whether you use a shiner or a leech make sure your leader length is 40 to 50 inches to allow the minnow to swim. Change baits often as to apply the most natural presentation. Gravel points associated to shorelines will be the best place to start on most of the lakes in Itasca County.

If you plan on fishing a river on the opener, we have just the options for you. The Mississippi and the Bigfork Rivers are excellent choices to fish and have plenty of walleyes to catch. Whether you drift or anchor up, pay close attention to the holes and turns in either river. Look also for current breaks and reversals that allow less current and many times attract walleyes looking for less current and food locations. Rivers can be a nice opportunity for anglers without a boat and will shore fish. Bring a pair of waders if you want and fishing can be red hot early in the season.

Whatever you choice the Grand Rapids and Itasca County area has numerous lakes and several small rivers that will give anglers multiple options. Have a great opener and good luck.G