Outdoor Journal: Lessons on trying to catch walleye

The latest on the outdoors from Ed Noonan
Bill Morris of Schenectady shows off a brown trout he recently caught in a small creek in Dutchess County while fly fishing.
Bill Morris of Schenectady shows off a brown trout he recently caught in a small creek in Dutchess County while fly fishing.

Recently, while in Dick’s Sporting Goods, a gentleman said, “Ed Noonan, I read your column in The Daily Gazette every Thursday.” I thanked him and said, “Keep it up.” 

He then said,“Why only bass and never about walleye fishing?”

I don’t remember the last time I actually fished for walleye, and any that I did catch were on a wacky worm while fishing for bass. So, I said to him, “Thank you and keep watching.”

The next day, I was at the Saratoga Lake launch site at sunup and, as the boaters pulled in and they had a rod in the boat, I asked what they were fishing for, if they answered walleye, I asked them how, what and where and that it was for my column.

None of them wanted to have their name in the paper, but they were willing to tell me how they fish. They were a bit hesitant with the “where,” which I understood, but here is what I found out.

Temperature is important, as is clarity is for locating walleye. Look for stained water from 3-6 feet deep and water temperatures from 65 to 75 degrees.

The walleye are also structure-oriented. In lakes like Saratoga, fish the edges of contour or channel breaks and weed line edges. Also try to find underground humps and rocky rip-rap, and when found, mark them. Those that I talked to said usually during the summer it is good to “run and gun.”

As for bait, they proffered 4-inch minnows, but the majority of walleye anglers are using June Bug spinners with night crawlers. Now there are equally as many that like to use a lead-headed jig with a plastic grub. I suggest you try them both.

Good luck when you catch the big one let me know, especially if you beat the current NYS Freshwater 18-pound, 2-ounce walleye caught this month on the St. Lawrence River.

As a reminder, DEC has an Angler Achievement Awards Program each year for trophy-sized fish caught in lakes, ponds, and streams that produce trophy-sized fish. They recognize exceptional catches in several categories, including the annual award recognizing anglers that caught the three heaviest fish of the year for 43 different species, the catch and release award for 21 major gamefish species and state record award that recognizes anglers who break current records for any of the 45 eligible fish species.

For more information, go to https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7727.html.


Outdoor writer Steven George of Amsterdam recently went on a bear hunt at the Oak Mountain Outfitters in New Brunswick and he downed a big black bear with just one well-placed arrow. His bear tipped the scale at 422 pounds which should make the Pope and Young record book. 

Now when Steven got home, he didn’t waste any time getting back in the Fulton County turkey woods.  He put out a Strutter decoy, and when a real tom saw the decoy’s tail moving in the wind, he came running. He said it was fun to watch, and when in range, Steven ended the hunt. His tom carried a 10-inch beard and weighed in at 20 pounds. 

Steve Zahurak of Schenectady, also a NYS outdoor writer, had a 15-minute drive to his turkey hunting grounds, and when they got there they were already gobbling. He settled in sitting beneath three trees about three yards from the field. At first, there were no responses but a hen walking through the tall grass walked right pass him. After a short nap Steve called again which got two red headed toms coming his way. Now Steve had to determine which one was the biggest. He picked a good one; it weighed 18 pounds with a 9-inch beard and 1 1/8-inch spurs. 


This is a reminder of the Mike Ryan 21St Northeast NY Make A Wish Kids Free Fishing Contest. It will be held on June 2 at the 6 Mile Water Works at 135 Fuller Road, Albany. Fishing hours are 9:30 am until 11:30 am. 

And be sure to buy a raffle ticket. The winner will get a fishing trip with me. To register, go to https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5040001008789547204#allposts/postNum=0.

See you there!


Any person who has a fishing license, small game hunting license or is entitled to fish without a license may take carp of any size and in any number with a longbow from May 15 through September 30; from any water in the state where fishing and the discharge of a bow is permitted. No other fish may be taken with a bow. It is the responsibility of the person discharging a bow to follow all state laws and local ordinances. I have been bowfishing for more than 50 years; it can be very exciting especially when wading or from a boat with a light at night. For more information go to http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7914.html.


Most hunters and fishermen are a bit fussy with their equipment and that can make it very difficult when the kids and your wife are wondering what you may want. Here is how I get around it. I make a list of what I want and paste it on the refrigerator now.

Here are a few ideas of what I would like to see on June 16.

Pocket knife, most men are in need of a good knife and my choice here is the Bear & Son Cutlery Model 112, and Bass Pro Shop’s 36-piece sets of Stik-O-Worms (basspro.com).

And if you do not have a boat, why not treat dad to spending a day fishing with a guide. Who knows you might be asked to go with him?

Categories: Sports

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