‘Get a jump’ on walleye [UPDATED]Published 9:18am Tuesday, April 2, 2013 Updated 11:54am Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Many walleye anglers seek fishing destinations where they can “get a jump” on the open-water season.
One such fishery is Big Stone Lake. This 26-mile long, 12,610-acre lake is a Minnesota-South Dakota border water and opens to walleye fishing earlier than its neighboring Minnesota-inland waters. Big Stone opens April 20 this year.
Artie Arndt is an Ortonville native who has fished the lake since childhood. “The lake actually is a reservoir, with the walleye migrating up lake for their spawning ritual,” offered Arndt.
Arndt advises anglers to head north on the opener and beyond, depending on how far along the fish are in their spawning.
“Often the stretch 13-18 miles up the lake, particularly on the South Dakota side, is best early,” Arndt continued. “As the water warms, working south and following the migration becomes key.”
Not only do Big Stone walleye migrate, but they are often found ultra-shallow. “Targeting the shoreline rocks is very important early on,” Arndt advised. “Using a small jig tipped with a minnow and casting tight to shore is by far the most popular early season technique.”
Because of the walleye’s shallow early season nature, Arndt favors a light jig. “The 1/16-ounce green Fire-Ball Jig tipped with a fathead minnow is my favorite,” Arndt stated.
In addition to a favorite jig, Arndt also favors a particular retrieve when casting his jig/minnow combination. “Typically, using a slow retrieve keeping the jig just off the bottom is best.” Arndt advised.
Several quality public accesses are available to anglers to access the lake from both the South Dakota and Minnesota sides. Information about the entire Big Stone Lake area, including food and lodging details, can be found by visiting the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at www.bigstonelake.com.
For fishing information, anglers can talk to Arndt himself. He recently purchased Ortonville’s long-standing bait shop, Bud’s Bait, and renamed it Artie’s Bait and Tackle. In addition to a full offering of bait and tackle, anglers wanting up-to-the minute fishing reports and suggestions can call the bait shop at (320) 839-2480 or simply stop by!