In order to catch the walleye, there are a few things an angler can do to increase their chances of success. Research is probably number one, Steve says. He uses research to help him find bodies of water to fish, to help him decide which waters are worth going to, to decide what time of year he should be there and more. The more work you do on the front end with research, the more likely you are to be successful there. Paying attention to seasonal clues is also important. The spawn drives fish position in the spring so understanding where the fish spawn and where they will stop on the way there and back provides you a better understanding of what areas to target. Water clarity and the ability to fish bodies of water with different levels of clarity is key. Steve says he does a lot of fishing on agricultural lakes where you can see down a foot or two, and he also fishes a lot of very clear lakes where you can see down 20 - 30 feet. The water clarity determines how deep the weeds can grow in a lake and determining where that vegetation line is helps you really pinpoint where the fish are going to be. Steve cautions against letting memories get in the way of catching fish. A lot of people will go out and head back to the same places or fish the same water levels they did when they caught them in the past. However, things change and you can't let those memories get in the way of getting on the fish faster. In order to catch fish you need to rely on research, take seasonal cues and look at the water clarity in order to make educated guesses as to where the fish are. There are a lot of different ways to catch walleyes, but jigs are hard to beat, Steve says. They allow you to adjust the bait you are using - live, soft plastics or a trailer of some sort. The weight can also be adjusted based on the water depth and the speed you need to fish. Many anglers fish very small jigs with the idea that finesse is the key and that is true at times, Steve says. However, there are also times, especially when you're fishing soft plastics, particularly swimbaits with big paddle tails, that you need to make sure the jig head is heavy enough to drive the tail instead of the tail driving the head. There are times, he notes, that he'll fish a ½ to ¾ oz jig just to control the soft plastic and that's definitely not finesse, but walleyes love them.
Of Minnesota's more than 10,000 lakes, Steve says the majority of them are excellent fisheries. Lake Millie Lacs, Leech Lake and some of the bigger bodies of water in Minnesota are world class. Because there are so many fishing opportunities available, it can be hard to single out just one body of water to fish. That's one of the beauties of Lake Commandos, Steve says, is that instead of fishing the same spot continually, they fish new bodies of water all the time. While they hit up places like Lake Millie Lacs occasionally, the majority of the time they are fishing lakes they have never been on before, and in some cases, waters they have never seen until they get there. Trying to figure out a new body of water is part of the challenge. What happens when you start fishing new bodies of water is that you develop a confidence in making bait selections a little faster, Steve says, and take cues from the fish. Throughout his career, Steve has fished more than 40 states with top notch anglers on a wide variety of waters. Those experiences, he says, really help you bring a new perspective to your fishing and hone in on subtle changes you can make to be more successful.