Bill Ziegler and his fishing partner had a nice catch of walleyes between them on opening day two years ago on the Peavy Reservoir. (Ziegler photo)
IRON COUNTY—The long awaited game fish (walleye, northern pike and muskie) opening day is Wednesday, May 15. Many anglers will be venturing out to fish on the opening day and opening weekend, although by far the most popular target species is walleye.
Selecting the proper spot is crucial to walleye fishing success. Many walleye should be found near their spawning areas since the spawn was relatively late this season. When walleye spawning occurs early, like the 2012 season, walleye often move away from typical locations and disperse into early summer locations. As we approach opening day local water temperatures should be nearing 50 degrees, up from 42 degrees when they spawn. This year, predominantly male walleye should be found relatively close to their spawning grounds this opening day. Females only stay on the spawning area at the peak and then disperse to other areas of the lake where forage is available. For example, post-spawn female walleye move to mud bars or flats where burrowing mayflies reside.
In most walleye lakes, walleye spawn on the windward rocky or gravelly shorelines and on rock and gravel bars out in the main lake. If the lake has a significant inlet, try looking near or in the lower portion of the inlet. Walleye will spawn on the first significant gravel and rock riffle or rapids. Michigamme Reservoir (Way Dam), Peavy Reservoir, Perch Lake (north Iron county), Bond Falls Reservoir ( East Gogebic county) all currently have adequate walleye populations to produce good fishing. These are all larger waters and will take some experience to find productive fishing areas. Michigamme Reservoir has spawning inlets of the Deer, Fence and Michigamme Rivers. Peavy Reservoir has the Michigamme and diversion of the Paint Rivers as inlets. In Perch Lake most walleye spawn in main lake areas, and Bond Falls has main lake spawning along with the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon River.
Iron and Dickinson counties have many lakes with excellent adult walleye habitat although most of these lakes must be maintained by regular maintenance planting of walleye fingerlings by local DNR Fisheries managers.
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