It's the time of year again that walleye anglers look forward to with so much anticipation and excitement. It's the opening of the Ontario walleye season and the countdown is officially underway.
Things get started this Saturday in Southern Ontario, then a week later in the central part of the province. Finally, on the third Saturday in May, the excitement kicks into high gear in Northern Ontario. And with the cool weather we've experienced this spring, it is going to make for an interesting "opener" no matter where you choose to wet a line.
Or, should I say, a "predictable" beginning to the Ontario walleye season because it is a sure bet, locating the fish in your favourite lake or river will be as easy as knowing where they spawn
Indeed, the opening of the Ontario walleye season is typically timed to coincide with the completion of the spawn which means that in years when the ice leaves our lakes and rivers early, and the water warms up quickly, the fish have often vacated the shallow spawning sites when the big day finally rolls around.
But, that is not likely to be the case over the next few weeks because many fish will likely still be spawning when the season opens.
Ryan Haines with a gorgeous early season walleye he caught in Northwestern Ontario's Lake of the Woods. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)
Walleyes tend to lay their eggs on shallow rocks and boulders where the eggs can settle into protected cracks and crevices. They also require sites exposed to the wind or current so the moving water can clean and aerate the eggs. This makes the mouths of creeks, streams and rivers prime spots to fish early in the season, as well as below dams and weirs.
And while it is a good bet you're going to locate walleyes around spawning sites, don't overlook the muddy, weedy back bays and coves that lie adjacent to the spawning grounds. They are often favoured resting places that the walleyes retreat to after they have laid their eggs.
And what is the best way to catch them once they've pulled back into these protected bays and coves? Have I got a secret for you....
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