TACKLE and TECHNIQUES
Leech Lake has the reputation as one of Minnesota's top walleye lakes. This reputation was earned by producing limits of fish throughout
the fishing season. If you like a variety of fishing methods to choose from, then you will like fishing on Leech. The one word that would describe Leech best would be "diversity". Walleyes will be
using many different areas including shallow rock reefs, windblown shorelines, massive weedbeds, deep breaklines and deep humps. Anglers need to be versatile and willing to try different locations and presentations to
be successful. Leech's walleye population is extremely healthy at this time, and the average size is getting bigger as well. Anglers are reporting more fish in the four to six pound
range than ever before. This can be attributed to strong year classes and the practice of selective harvest. Indeed the good old days of walleye fishing on Leech Lake are right now!
Location and Presentation Patterns for Leech Lake Walleyes
Walleye patterns on Leech vary depending on the time of the year. Minnesota's opener usually is soon after the walleyes finish spawning and are staging on shallow food shelves where they will be dining on perch and shiner minnows. The windy sides of points and shorelines is where the active walleyes will be. Points such as Pine, Ottertail, Stony, Little and Big Hardwood, Duck Point and many others will be productive at this time of year. By far the best presentation this time of year is a jig and minnow.
Northland Fireball Jigs tipped with shiner minnows are the local favorite. Remember to bring along stinger hooks to use for the days that the walleyes are biting light. You can work the jig one of two different ways. The first way is to work the jig with a gradual lift and drop motion. The second way is to snap jig. This method involves snapping the jig with a swift motion, letting it fall, and snapping it again. this method will trigger walleyes that will not respond to normal jigging techniques.
By mid-June Leech Lake has gone through changes and so have the walleyes. Water temperatures have warmed and weedbeds have developed. Walleyes will be using areas with sandgrass and also cabbage weedbeds. The cabbage weedbeds located in Portage and Sucker bay will have numerous walleyes in and on the edge of the weeds. These fish are susceptible to live bait rigs with leeches and nightcrawlers. A gumdrop floater works well to keep your bait off the bottom. The fish using the sandgrass flats such as The Meadows are best caught by trolling crankbaits with perch or minnow patterns. These areas are quite large and have roving schools of walleyes using them.
Trolling Crankbaits such as Shad Raps is the best way to contact these active fish. By mid-September the lake has changed again and the walleyes are moving.
Rock reefs will have many fish using them. Spots such as Pelican Reef, Huddles Reef and Submarine Island are good areas to fish. The gap between Battle Point and Bear Island will draw many walleyes as well. Cooling water temperatures make a jig and minnow presentation the best bet again.
Leech Lake offers anglers a wide variety of options and by following the above advice you will be catching your share.