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Out from ~5pm to ~11pm last two nights (shore). Sub 18 eyes are prolific, I stopped counting Fri evening after a dozen once I realized what I was into and began to really expedite the CnR, get them back in as quickly and gently as possible, and get my line back to the bottom. Seems clear this is a #s game.

This is a great problem to have, as an angler this is phenomenal fishing right now. But after ~6 dozen total eyes on back to back evenings I've not had a single fish hit the 18 mark. Fri they primarily were hefty 16s and maybe ~10 of them at 17+ (but short). Last night they were primarily 15s and 16s (some hefty) with maybe just 5 even touching 17. Last eye of the night hit 17 1/2 .. thought for SURE upon netting this one was 18+ but nope. Every time one's on and it feels like a better fish ... turns out it's just heavier. A lot in like the ~16.5 range (give or take a half inch) certainly seem to be eating well.

I'm pretty stunned. I know from the survey summary that "...approximately 3 to 7 out of every 100 fish is of legal size..." but I can't believe I haven't hit one at 18. Literally my last eye over 18 was 30. Where's the middle ground? Could I be experiencing variance? Have folks already efficiently plucked out most of coveted 18-22" population?

Someone reassure me there's some quality eating legal fish in there. I'm catching them on a spectrum of presentations .. jigs, jerks, rattles (all at varying speeds/cadences) .. so I'm not sure it's a lure issue though I don't count that possibility out. Jigs are either 3 or 4", jerks are 4", and rattles are either 1/4 or 1/2 oz. Profile seems right for the size fish I'm seeking.

In terms of quality (18-22") is it getting late in the walleye game, or is it just now getting good? I'm temping water all over the lake at MINIMUM high 50s, most of the lake coming in >60° (low-mid 60s).
 

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Several years ago fishing the crack I bet I landed 300-400 eyes without a legal keeper-
 

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there are lots of good fish out there, last week i only caught one eye but it was an 18 while my friend only caught 15 eyes and no over 18we were in a school of small fish. we could have moved to another spot that hasn't been hit so hard. there are a lot of places to catch keepers that don't get hit as hard
 

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Glad I'm not the only one. This is why I focus on panfish for table fare. Gets too irritating playing around with dink walleye. I appreciate the report. I feel better about myself now. :>
 

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I got around 15 walleyes today and 3 were keepers...2 right at 18" and one at 19". I actually seem to have a little bit better keeper to short ratio than other people I see out there. I've had boats close to me hauling shorts out one right after the other while I'm getting keepers. I don't get the numbers they do, not even close sometimes, but a little bit larger ones when they hit.
 

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Year after year I keep hearing of so many shorts to keeper ratio. First off, I'm not really good at catching eyes, but I keep trying, at least for the last 2 or 3 years about 8-10 trips a year. I try to follow general advice but I've never caught more than 8 in one day and only had 3 or 4 keepers. Enough to know I like to eat them. I always think with all those shorts they will eventually grow and become keepers so there should be plenty right? I'm almost starting to wonder if there isn't something biologically limiting about the lake that affects their size. Temp cycles, lack of the cover and structure they like, shad cycle, food availability during the rest of the year? You would think all those shorts would grow at least an inch during a season, or maybe they just know the 18 reg.....:)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got around 15 walleyes today and 3 were keepers...2 right at 18" and one at 19". I actually seem to have a little bit better keeper to short ratio than other people I see out there. I've had boats close to me hauling shorts out one right after the other while I'm getting keepers. I don't get the numbers they do, not even close sometimes, but a little bit larger ones when they hit.
You would seem to be suggesting presentation is a larger factor?
 

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Several years ago fishing the crack I bet I landed 300-400 eyes without a legal keeper-
Simultaneously encouraging and disheartening. Luckily fishing is fun.

Glad I'm not the only one. This is why I focus on panfish for table fare. Gets too irritating playing around with dink walleye. I appreciate the report. I feel better about myself now. :>
Hmmm well, I'm not the type to give up so easily. There's so many walleye in that lake there's got to be some premium quality size eating fish.

Though I have heard crappie is good eating and I've caught some 12-14" "on accident". I don't know if targeting crappie is any easier than targeting 18+ walleye?

Year after year I keep hearing of so many shorts to keeper ratio. First off, I'm not really good at catching eyes, but I keep trying, at least for the last 2 or 3 years about 8-10 trips a year. I try to follow general advice but I've never caught more than 8 in one day and only had 3 or 4 keepers. Enough to know I like to eat them. I always think with all those shorts they will eventually grow and become keepers so there should be plenty right? I'm almost starting to wonder if there isn't something biologically limiting about the lake that affects their size. Temp cycles, lack of the cover and structure they like, shad cycle, food availability during the rest of the year? You would think all those shorts would grow at least an inch during a season, or maybe they just know the 18 reg.....:)
Seems to me, per my observations, folks are pretty good at hitting productive spots at productive times. So much so, perhaps, that this seasonal walleye game has essentially been "solved".

The most recent gillnet sampling indicates there are less >18 eyes than in the 5 most recent years. Perhaps the gap between trophy size fish and sub 18s is getting wider?



There's boats trolling up and down the dam and other key parts of the lake. Weekends AND weekdays. With all that pressure and all the equipment and info out there, it seems quite possible that over the years it's gotten more difficult to get quality keepers because of the general efficiency at locating and catching walleye.

Like anything competitive or coveted, just means you gotta work harder.
 

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You should be able to pull limits at Pueblo all through the month of May and early June during day time hours. You can get them all summer long if you switch to low light hours and nights. Right now a lot of smaller eyes are moving off the mud flats and out onto main lake points in shallow water. They're the first to leave the mud. Bigger fish will either be deeper, in shaded cover, or darker, stained water. As walleyes get older, their eyes get more sensitive to light. Blue sky days will put them deeper, although wave action diffuses the light and acts as an equalizer. If you're catching dinks and want more keepers, leave the dinks alone and go find a school of bigger fish. You may only have to move a hundred feet.

Also if you're fishing with the "fleet", expect the fish to be picked over since walleyes are so easy to catch. Good fish aren't hard to catch, just harder to find. Fish where others aren't fishing for best results. That lake has so many spots to fish that people never fish because everyone follows the crowd...the secret is not to hunt the boats that are catching, but to do as one prominent ex poster used to say... GFYODF.
 

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Thanks hobie.

You should be able to pull limits at Pueblo all through the month of May and early June during day time hours. You can get them all summer long if you switch to low light hours and nights. Right now a lot of smaller eyes are moving off the mud flats and out onto main lake points in shallow water. They're the first to leave the mud. Bigger fish will either be deeper, in shaded cover, or darker, stained water. As walleyes get older, their eyes get more sensitive to light. Blue sky days will put them deeper, although wave action diffuses the light and acts as an equalizer. If you're catching dinks and want more keepers, leave the dinks alone and go find a school of bigger fish. You may only have to move a hundred feet.

Also if you're fishing with the "fleet", expect the fish to be picked over since walleyes are so easy to catch. Good fish aren't hard to catch, just harder to find. Fish where others aren't fishing for best results. That lake has so many spots to fish that people never fish because everyone follows the crowd...the secret is not to hunt the boats that are catching, but to do as one prominent ex poster used to say... GFYODF.
 

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You should be able to pull limits at Pueblo all through the month of May and early June during day time hours. You can get them all summer long if you switch to low light hours and nights. Right now a lot of smaller eyes are moving off the mud flats and out onto main lake points in shallow water. They're the first to leave the mud. Bigger fish will either be deeper, in shaded cover, or darker, stained water. As walleyes get older, their eyes get more sensitive to light. Blue sky days will put them deeper, although wave action diffuses the light and acts as an equalizer. If you're catching dinks and want more keepers, leave the dinks alone and go find a school of bigger fish. You may only have to move a hundred feet.

Also if you're fishing with the "fleet", expect the fish to be picked over since walleyes are so easy to catch. Good fish aren't hard to catch, just harder to find. Fish where others aren't fishing for best results. That lake has so many spots to fish that people never fish because everyone follows the crowd...the secret is not to hunt the boats that are catching, but to do as one prominent ex poster used to say... GFYODF.


right on the nose Dave i have had days where i caught 3 keepers in three cast out of a small spot i know about. i also have had to move a lot but got three keepers on the first cast. but a lot more days that i couldn't get a keeper if my life depended on it. my yearly average is about 7 to 1 most years my best year was 379 and 74 keepers for a 5.1 avg years ago when it was just a lot of fun catching u s fish we fished at night and many nights would catch over 200 eyes and not a keeper in the lot, but in those days we would try and catch 2 or 3 wipers to go into the live well and then do c&r on the eyes till about 2 am. now you can't do that because the wipers aren't as plentiful as they were and you have to quit by 10:30 to get your boat off by 11, those were the good old days
 

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Yeah Byron, I miss night fishing. just not as willing to skip sleep to do it anymore. Now, if the wiper ever really come back...
 

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You would seem to be suggesting presentation is a larger factor?
Maybe it's presentation, I don't know. I've never caught a walleye with bait or lures. I use a streamer type fly tied on a jig hook and strip it in with varying speeds with a sinking fly line. I think that a lure that would have the closest to similar action would be a tube jig.
 

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Just got back home from Pueblo, caught 4 keepers out of about 30 fish for 3 anglers, had some great bass and crappie fishing also!! At the North Marina cleaning station I also saw a catfish that was close to 30 lbs.
 

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That lake has so many spots to fish that people never fish because everyone follows the crowd...the secret is not to hunt the boats that are catching, but to do as one prominent ex poster used to say... GFYODF.

LMFAO!!! Or.....don't tell everyone where you are catching them! Let people put in some "work".

The internet has made it too easy for "hot spotters" to sit back and gather information without ever having to put in time or effort to find fish. What ever happened to good all fashioned hard work????
 

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One of things that I see being down there all the time is people fishing to deep and using to many crawlers. Bigger fish are shallow and we are basically bass fishing. It seems like if you want catch a lot of dinks just put on a bouncer and a crawler. You will catch fish all day and have fun but you probably won’t have to stop at the cleaning station.

During the Dog days (summer) troll for suspended fish relating to shad. There are lots of deep humps where they suspend right on the side of the hump at the same depth as the fish suspended out in the basin. Get your crank down to them and you will catch some nice fish! It is really hot out though😎
 
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