Dive into a frigid morning on Devils Lake backwaters with professional walleye angler Duane Hjelm as he embarks on a hunt for shallow water walleyes. Hjelm shares his experience and insights into tracking fish down on a shallow flat, and what adjustments to make on a day to day basis.
TACKLE USED (retail links)
- BAIT – Rapala Jigging Rap, Glow Tiger, #5: Buy at Bass Pro Shops
- BAIT – VMC Tingler Spoon: Buy at Bass Pro Shops
- REEL – 13 Fishing Black Betty Freefall Carbon: Buy at 13 Fishing
- ROD – 13 Fishing Wicked Pro Ice Rod, 28″ Quick Tip: Buy at 13 Fishing
- ELECTRONICS – Garmin LiveScope Plus Ice Fishing Bundle 93sv: Buy at Bass Pro Shops
- BATTERY – Dakota Lithium 12V 23AH Battery with Dual Port & Voltmeter: Buy at Dakota Lithium
- BATTERY – Dakota Lithium Powerbox 10, 12V 10AH Battery: Buy at Dakota Lithium
- LODGE – 6 Mile Lodge on Devils Lake: Check out at 6 Mile Lodge
FINDING SHALLOW WALLEYES
Hjelm begins the day on a large flat, targeting areas of Devils Lake with abundant weeds in search of roaming walleye. The depth, hovering around 4 to 5 feet, presents a unique challenge as it lacks significant features. The focus is on identifying areas where baitfish and active walleye converge, making early mornings the prime time for action.
TWEAKING TACTICS FOR SUCCESS
Hjelm reveals his preferred tweaks to enhance his favorite walleye baits, such as adding a VMC bladed treble tipped with a minnow to a spoon. He emphasizes the importance of adapting to the fish’s behavior, noticing how some walleye exhibit heightened aggression while others remain indifferent. Slight lure changes can make a huge difference from fish to fish. Gliding baits like a Jigging Rap can be a great alternative to more aggressive fish. These small modifications can prove to be essential in triggering bites in challenging conditions.
ROD SELECTION IN CLOSE QUARTERS
The confined space inside fish houses and snow machines necessitates a shorter rod for comfort and efficiency. Hjelm opts for a 26″ medium-light rod, finding it ideal for the indoor setup. The compact setup also allows for precise control and ease of use without compromising on the ability to handle lively walleye in shallow water on Devils Lake.