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As we enter the beginning stages of the open water season here in central Minnesota, there are a series of techniques I like to use no matter what lake or river I am fishing. These techniques are basically universal in success. Here are some of my go-to strategies for early May walleyes.

Tiny jig and minnow

May walleye fishing means very shallow water and tiny jigs. It’s funny because I don’t even have any 1/4-ounce jigs in my boat, only 1/16 and 1/8 ounce. By utilizing 6 pound test monofilament, you can get those tiny jigs down as deep as 20 feet. Remember, your jig doesn’t have to be in constant contact with the bottom.

With lots of line out, you will waiver just off the bottom and many times it will cruise along the bottom. It’s easier for May walleyes to pick up a tiny jig than a larger jig. Small jigs are not as crucial in later months, but can make a huge difference in May.

Lipless crankbaits

These style of baits get hardly any notice, but are awesome early season walleye catchers. These baits have no plastic lip and feature just the crank bait body. Because there is no lip, you can determine your own retrieving depth and make them come back to the boat horizontally. They also feature a very loud rattle, which is very helpful in dark water.

Hair jigs

I love my hair jigs! This style of lead head jig with a feathered skirt have been around since the beginning of time. I prefer the 1/8-ounce size with no minnow at all, just the jig.

You can make it dance any way you want and the more aggressive the better. Always put a small barrel swivel about 2 feet above the jig, which keeps the line from kinking up. Make sure the hair jig you choose is a golden hue, such as a perch imitator.

May walleyes are a bit tougher nut to crack than they are in June and July. They are just off the spawn and can be very finicky. Switch between the strategies up above and I guarantee you one or two of these offerings will put walleyes in the boat!

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