Lake Winnibigoshish, better known as "Big Winnie," is one of my favorite lakes to fish not only in the spring, but also throughout the entire soft water season. Why? Well, first of all, it is the 5th largest lake in Minnesota, covering nearly 60,000 acres, which is nice. But then consider in that vast acreage, only one per cent of the shoreline is developed.
Yes, it is a virtual wilderness compared to many Minnesota lakes. Some of these have nice fishing, but they are house and cabin filled. Fishing Winnie is like fishing the Boundary Waters, but being able to use your boat and motor while launching in comfort at the many public landings and resorts. As an added perk, it also has more fish. It's a gem. Here's why:
In spring, post spawn walleyes mostly cruise the sand flats looking for shiners and small perch. Find these and you will usually find fish. Here are a couple tips to locating prey bait. One way is to cruise the flats at different depths, zigzagging while watching your graph. A mass of minnows will appear as a cloud on your graph's screen. Another way is pay attention to the wind. Which direction has it been blowing the last few days? Keep in mind that because minnows will bunch up on the shoreline where waves have been rolling in, this will probably be a good place to start.
In spring and fall, I usually start with a 1/8 oz. Northland Gumball jig. If the wind is really wild, I will move up to a 1/4 oz. jig, but, conversely, if it is really calm I will go down to a 1/16 oz. jig. I do prefer to fish with a 1/8 oz. jig if I can keep it on the bottom. I also generally tip my jig with live minnow bait. If possible, I prefer natural Big Winnie shiners, but if I can't get them, I will go to chubs. When fishing the shallower flats, the wind will usually determine the jig weight, but when fishing rocks, the lightest possible jig is best, otherwise you will constantly be getting snagged. If the fish don't cooperate, don't be afraid to change jig weights, maybe even going heavier and vertical jigging.
I also usually go with a snap jigging technique, especially in a good wind. Because it is harder to snap jig with less wind, you might have to adjust with a slower popping of the jig. Remember, the best bet with less wind is to use a lighter jig.
The greatest benefit of spring (and fall) fishing on Winnie is the action. You will not only catch walleyes, but nice hefty northern pike and jumbo perch. Both are not only great fighters, but also great table fare for a fish fry. To be sure, there is always something biting on the Big Pond. "Action" is its middle name.
If you are looking for a great lake to fish in spring, summer and fall, check out Lake Winnibigosh, Big Winnie won't disappoint you. Good luck fishing and be safe.
For more information about fishing the "Big Pond" and other great fisheries and guided fishing trips to bring you there, please contact me at: .
Walleye & Northern Pike - May 11, 2019
Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass - May 11, 2019
Muskie - June 1, 2019
2019 Fishing RegulationsMN DNR Fishing Regulation Handbook for 2019
Charlie Worrath talks early season walleye for the television program Jason Mitchell Outdoors on Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota. (watch the video)
Jason Boser appearing on an episode for the television program Jason Mitchell Outdoors on Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota. (watch the video)
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