DNR Official Offers His Advice For Walleye Weekend

Thu 4-29-2021

(Orleans)-- When it comes to Walleye Weekend this weekend on the Iowa Great Lakes, officials say there's one factor in particular anglers will need to keep in mind. Mike Hawkins, a fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says water temperatures are much colder than usual for this time of the year...Hawkins & Walleye Weekend01 

"We're still just in the upper 40's for water temperatures on Spirit Lake and the Okoboji's, maybe just brushing into that 50 degree range, which is pretty far behind normal for this time of year. I'm not sure how that will affect fishing but, you know, I think the sun and a little bit of warmth this weekend should bring some of those fish up shallow which is what anglers are looking for is that a lot of activity in the evening and early morning hours when those fish are the most active."

Hawkins describes the walleye population as among the best ever in the Iowa Great Lakes...Hawkins & Walleye Weekend02 

"We see large numbers of good size brood stock which we would classify as over 17 inches. Our netting this year was tremendous. We brought in 1,900 female walleyes this year. We took eggs from 1,700 of those females. Great body condition, good size structure, lots of young females in the population. And so we're also seeing some nice numbers of fish in the 13 to 14 inch range, even 14 and-a-half inch range up on Big Spirit Lake, a fairly nice year class of fish in that size range as well. So yeah, it won't be because the fish aren't there if folks aren't catching them. It's going to be a little bit more condition dependent I think this weekend."

Hawkins also encourages everyone to be safe out on the water this weekend...Hawkins & Walleye Weekend03 

"The lakes are a little bit lower than they have been in the last few years, and so that changes things around the points and some of those hazards that might be out there so folks just need to take that into consideration. And then those water temperatures. Anybody that gets into the water at this temperature, they don't have long before they're, you know, incapacitated. So be wearing the PFD's and making sure we're taking care of each other out there."

Officials say it's also a good idea to make sure your boat and motor are in good working condition and that the lights are working. They also urge everyone to be patient at boat ramps this weekend.