MN Fishing Pros

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Grand Rapids, Deer River and surrounding areas

Fishing Pro Guides Bill Broberg, Jeff Skelley, Charlie Worrath, Jason Boser at L&M Supply MN Fishing Pros Powered by Amsoil

Jigging for Walleye 101

by fishing guide Charlie Worrath

If you asked the majority of walleye fisherman which lure they would choose if they only had one choice, 95% of them would pick the jig. The main reason is versatility. With a jig, you can cast, lift/drop, drift or troll; a jig does it all. There are days it can be worked fast with soft plastics for aggressive fish and other days where it can be slowed down and tipped with a lively minnow, leech or crawler.

Jigs come in many shapes and sizes, but basically they are all the same. Choosing a jig of the right size, the right hook and bait holder, if needed, for your technique, is the only difference. For example, live bait jigs should have a thin-wire hook to preserve bait action and to avoid tearing apart minnows. A thin-wire hook also enhances hook penetration when lethargic walleyes just mouth the bait.

Jig weight is one of the most critical aspects when selecting a jig; it must be just heavy enough to maintain bottom contact so that walleyes can easily suck in the lure. A jig thats too heavy will consistently hang up. Other factors, such as wind, water depth, current and experience level, will dictate the correct jig size. In ninety percent of my jig fishing, my weight of choice is 1/8 oz., even when Im vertical jigging crappies in 20 to 30 ft depth. Sometimes, however, with walleyes, I do use to 3/8 oz jigs if I am trolling or drifting, but, again, that is in the 20 to 30 ft or deeper range or in heavy waves. In these circumstances, I need the extra weight to keep the jig vertical or moderately vertical.

How about a "stinger"? Should I use a "stinger" hook or not? Most of the guides I know shy away from using "stinger" hooks with a minnow because they snag frequently and grab bottom debris. They also hinder minnow action and even cause the minnow to die sooner. My best advice on stinger hooks is to avoid them all together if at all possible. However, if you do decide to use one, make sure the hook and line are high quality.

MN Fishing Guide Charlie Worrath catching Walleye on Lake Winnie
MN Fishing Guide Charlie Worrath
catching walleye on Lake Winnie

Discounting soft plastics, there are more jig head shapes and over all jig designs for freshwater fishing than there are variations of almost any other lure. Here are some of my favorites you should consider for walleye fishing:

To conclude, I will tell you honestly that jigging is one of my favorite presentations. I will also tell you, it is not all that complicated. I like to skip in short hops along the bottom in three short hops. After that, I like drag it and then skip it.

If my technique doesnt work, try various jigging motions. Keep in mind that every day is different. Start with my technique and then vary it if it doesnt work. Obviously, the best presentation is the one that works.

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Fishing 411

2019 Fishing Opener Dates

Walleye & Northern Pike - May 11, 2019
Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass - May 11, 2019
Muskie - June 1, 2019

2019 Fishing Regulations

2019 Fishing Regulations

MN DNR Fishing Regulation Handbook for 2019

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Charlie Worrath on Jason Mitchell Outdoors talking early season walleyes

Jason Mitchell Outdoors host Jason Mitchell with MN Fishing Pro Guide Charlie Worrath and early season walleye

Charlie Worrath talks early season walleye for the television program Jason Mitchell Outdoors on Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota. (watch the video)

Jason Boser appears with Jason Mitchell on Jason Mitchell Outdoors

Jason Mitchell Outdoors host Jason Mitchell with MN FIshing Pro Guide Jason Boser and a Lake Winnibigoshish walleye
(l - r) Jason Boser and Jason Mitchell pose with a Lake Winnie walleye

Jason Boser appearing on an episode for the television program Jason Mitchell Outdoors on Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota. (watch the video)

Listen for Charlie and Jason on "Fishin' Paul Bunyan Country" on Continuous Country KB 101 in Bemidji at 12:30 and 5:30 pm Monday through Friday beginning May 2 and continuing throughout the fishing season.
Charlie Worrath - May Fishing on Lake Winnie- click for audio
Jason Boser - Why Do You Fish?- click for audio

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