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Tonka Walleyes

  • Kyle Wills
    Participant
    Posts: 207
    #2143527

    Hey everyone,

    I am looking for some Tonka walleye insight. I fished Tonka yesterday evening (8/25/22), I hit up several typical walleye structures, Diamond Reef, Swift Point, Ferguson Point, around Big Island, Gale Island. Didn’t end up hooking up with any walleyes, and quite frankly, didn’t see any what I would consider walleyes on Livescope. I spent a lot of time searching from about the weed edge to 30 ft. A lot of bluegills and some bass is what I found.

    I’m not looking for anyone to provide waypoints, but wondering if anyone would be willing to share with me what the walleye bite is like on that lake? Do they hang shallow in/around weeds? Are they out deeper and I just couldn’t seem to find any? Best after dark? Some good general insight would be appreciated for anyone willing to share.

    Thanks!

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7979
    #2143528

    Best after dark?

    This is the best advice I can give you. I don’t target them on Tonka. But I muskie fish out there in the fall at night on occasion, and run into a few sizable fish…even on a big muskie lure. The water is so clear that daytime with sunlight sends them very deep I think. Obviously a rainy or cloudy day would increase your odds too.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 7030
    #2143531

    I’ve never had a ton of success on Tonka, 2-3 eyes in an evening is pretty common, I think the most was like 6. And all the eye’s I’ve caught were at night or dusk. Location varies by season, in the summer I think they get up in the weeds where it’s hard, if not impossible (milfoil mats) to fish. Points and current areas are usually the best spots I’ve found.

    grubson
    Participant
    Harris, Somewhere in VNP
    Posts: 754
    #2143538

    They’re in the weeds. Low light times will always be best because they’ll venture away from cover during those times. During daylight you’ll have to get right in there and get them out.

    brandmoney
    Participant
    Posts: 160
    #2143543

    There’s a bunch of other lakes near Tonka that are a lot better for walleyes imo, so I’d try those instead.

    fishthumper
    Participant
    Sartell, MN.
    Posts: 6992
    #2143567

    Walleyes in Tonka are way different than walleyes in most other better know walleye lakes. The Walleyes in Tonka tend to be much more weed related than in most other lakes. I know a Ton of Bass fishermen who catch them while bass fishing in or real close to the weeds. Like others have said the water clarity in the last 5 years or so has really cleared up. My guess is that you may have better luck fishing right at dusk or even after dark out there. Those fish are more likely to roam a little more out of the weeds or more off the weed edge during low light periods.

    matt
    Participant
    Posts: 615
    #2143575

    Lowlight is best but I have had pretty good days when the wind is blowing,cloudy rainy weather.I allways fished shallow 3-10ft or so pulling stickbaits,shallow shad raps,ect..Search for the cleaner inside weedlines during the daytime then come back and target them lowlight.However-at the same time I would be getting fish shallow I know others that would be fishing deep 17-25 and getting them.Kinda a crapshoot as to where they will be at any given time.Not the easiest to figure out but plenty of walleyes available.

    eyeguy507
    Participant
    SE MN
    Posts: 3224
    #2143679

    kyle, i do not fish Tonka but here is the problem you face for success there. for one it is one of the busiest lakes in the state not for fishing pressure but for the hoards of recreation boats out there. im sure it is filled with zeebz so those smart eyes in there probably bury themselves in the weeds as deep as they can and feed almost exclusively at night. clear water and traffic is a killer and maybe it eases up in the fall?

    matt
    Participant
    Posts: 615
    #2143702

    Boat traffic is a huge reason to fish early or late.Even then sometimes all of the chopped up floating weeds from the boat traffic choke out your spots making them pretty much unfishable

    TMF89
    Participant
    Posts: 310
    #2143707

    I know a lot of guys will soak shiners in the channels when the water starts cooling in the fall.

    tim hurley
    Participant
    Posts: 4300
    #2143746

    Know a guy who does well and does not fish at night, fishes the weeds. Do not assume that boat traffic bothers them, they are used to it. Openings or inside edges in thick milfoil esp. with other structure is key, the lake is probably the best walleye lake in the metro in terms of consistency. Also the lake actually gets less pressure than many lakes in the area. I know that’s hard to believe when you see all the boats and the full parking areas at the major launches, but it is a very big lake and the fishing pressure is divided between many different species. Good Luck

    bigcrappie
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 3082
    #2143796

    I have done well 2 out of the 30 times I went out to target walleyes. One was on a sand point coming off a reef with thick weeds, the point did not have weeds on it. The 2nd time was off the rock point where the water depth dropped quick down to 60ft, they were suspended in 20fow.

    FishBlood&RiverMud
    Participant
    Prescott
    Posts: 6255
    #2143819

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned fishing ‘out to sea’ on the basin thermoclines.
    Summertime thermos typically hold a lot of bait and predators.

    John Rasmussen
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 2511
    #2143859

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned fishing ‘out to sea’ on the basin thermoclines.
    Summertime thermos typically hold a lot of bait and predators.

    Curious what you look for in this approach. Just cruise until you see bait?

    FishBlood&RiverMud
    Participant
    Prescott
    Posts: 6255
    #2143875

    Basically cruise looking for concentrations of arcs. Often found out and away but in relation to shore structure. Don’t be afraid to speed up and you might be amazed how many eyes will be in the upper 10′ over 50′.

    Can be finicky but rewarding also as you typically aren’t dealing with dinks.

    Washington lake by mankato was one where most people fished edges and I’d be running around out to sea after I discovered what then arcs were in the middle of nowhere.

    John Rasmussen
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 2511
    #2143906

    Interesting, thanks for the explanation I appreciate your insight often FBRM. You would be trolling this with cranks I assume.

    FishBlood&RiverMud
    Participant
    Prescott
    Posts: 6255
    #2143921

    No prob man. Yup for sure, me. But there are others who may approach differently i.e. target individual fish via jigging or bobbering type methods.

    Ripjiggen
    Participant
    Posts: 5892
    #2143929

    Do this often on Mille lacs this time of year. Not thermocline per say on ML, but walleyes 10-15 ft down in 35 ft of water.

    On a busy lake like Tonka those fish will be less pressured less likely to spook and you can stay away from the tuna boat waves a bit more.

    tim hurley
    Participant
    Posts: 4300
    #2143974

    ‘Out to sea’ sounds great ’till you get there. Tip my hat to FBRM.
    Picture a football field, now you are in the stands looking at your boat on that field. An acre is about the size of that field and Minnetonka is almost 18 THOUSAND acres. In your house looking at a map stuff does not look that big. I know I’m too impatient to look for that needle in a haystack, then buy leadcore to add to a line counter reel then refer to dive charts etc.

    FishBlood&RiverMud
    Participant
    Prescott
    Posts: 6255
    #2143982

    ‘Out to sea’ sounds great ’till you get there. Tip my hat to FBRM.
    Picture a football field, now you are in the stands looking at your boat on that field. An acre is about the size of that field and Minnetonka is almost 18 THOUSAND acres. In your house looking at a map stuff does not look that big. I know I’m too impatient to look for that needle in a haystack, then buy leadcore to add to a line counter reel then refer to dive charts etc.

    You can turn a molehill into a mountain.

    Ripjiggen
    Participant
    Posts: 5892
    #2144038

    ‘Out to sea’ sounds great ’till you get there. Tip my hat to FBRM.
    Picture a football field, now you are in the stands looking at your boat on that field. An acre is about the size of that field and Minnetonka is almost 18 THOUSAND acres. In your house looking at a map stuff does not look that big. I know I’m too impatient to look for that needle in a haystack, then buy leadcore to add to a line counter reel then refer to dive charts etc.

    No need to necessarily have lead core, line counters or dive charts. All are just a tool in a tool box. I guess you could fish the endless weed line on the 18 thousand acre lake.
    To each there own I guess.

    tim hurley
    Participant
    Posts: 4300
    #2144077

    On a weedline you can troll around with a spinner rig be off a bit and catch fish. The line counter reels, dive charts, leadcore, trolling rods, all that is because for those basin fish that plug needs to be in the strike zone (watching the twins right now) or you will not catch Walter, you can be in the strike zone and still not, but you better start with that lure at or a bit above that level.
    Shhhh, secretly I have been selling all that stuff and getting rich, all you really need in 40 fow is a #5 Shad Rap and a split shot.

    crappie55369
    Participant
    Mound, MN
    Posts: 4842
    #2149561

    The bites been heating up

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    eyeguy507
    Participant
    SE MN
    Posts: 3224
    #2149718

    nice fish crappie! i would think that lake could put out ok in the winter after dark too. its on my list if i can find a sleeper out there this winter. it can’t be any worse than Mille lacs the last few years and a shorter drive.

    basseyes
    Participant
    Posts: 1505
    #2149721

    Inside weedlines leading to points with rock. Like any metro lake keep moving. Develop a milk run ahead of time and don’t spend more than a 1/2hr per spot, unless there’s fish. Points that lead into any current producing area with weeds can be really good. Any points or islands with a channel type scenario where there’s a narrowed down area will likely have some current. Not river type current, but a bit of flow of some sort. Metro walleye are not like an up north lake where you’re going to pound out double digit numbers off one spot typically. Keep moving till you contact fish. Once fish are found make a lot of mental notes and try to replicate it in other spots. Once you can find 3-4 spots, keep finding more spots. If over a couple years you can find half a dozen spots, work through each spot to find the sweet spots to reduce fishing empty water. Burn through areas with anything that fishes somewhat fast to get fish to show themselves. Lipless cranks or shallow cranks work great. Willow leaf bass style spinner baits can work great as search baits. Whites or grays can work well. Silver willow blades typically are better. Slow rolling them can be a wicked tool on inside or outside edges leading to points with good rock. Good sunglasses and sight fishing metro walleyes is another great strategy. Doesn’t mean ur going to see them like fishing bedded bass in the spring, but many times you can see them chase a bait or cruising weed edges. Once you find spots that hold a few fish you can zip through to see if anything shows up on the electronics or shows itself, then you can slow down with a jig and plastic or bait and/or a bobber setup. Not a tactic where an anchor is deployed or spot lock button hit, but moreover mobile/power corking type deal. They can be here one day, gone the next. Metro walleyes feed heavily on young of the year bluegill and are weed oriented a lot of the times. There’ll always be walleyes in deeper more typically walleye structure, but a lot of metro fish are stocked. Those fish behave more like bass than naturally produced walleyes in the big walleye producer’s. If you are seeing or running into pods of younger bluegills those areas probably have walleyes somewhere close by. For some reason an orange jig with a small chunk of crawler on it can be good too if you can keep the panfish at bay which doesn’t work often but when it does it can be another great tool. Good luck with it!

    sunseteyes
    Participant
    Posts: 29
    #2153290

    Tonka is more of a walleye ‘pack’ fishery, rather than a traditional walleye ‘school’ fishery. It is also more of a ‘spot’ fishery, rather than an ‘area’ fishery. What I mean by that is Tonka doesn’t have 40 acre rock reefs or two mile long sand flats – massive fishable areas. So, it typically doesn’t offer schools of 100 fish cruising big areas like that. But what it does have is massive weed flats, and weed flats always have food in them. You can view these as ‘areas’ that likely have more than 100 fish using them, but only a percentage of these flats are fishable, at least effectively. So, the fish tend to pack up in smaller groups – say three to six fish – and sit on very specific spots within that area. That may be a small rock pile in the weeds, an opening in the weeds, inside weed line, etc. It’s not a lake where you are going to sit on a point and jig or rig a breakline and fill a two man limit, at least not consistently. The key is to identify as many of these key spots as you can and be prepared to move around. Most spots will result in nothing, give these 10 minutes max and then move. Hit enough spots, and a few of them will produce 2-3 fish each on even a tough night. On the good nights, most spots produce and that is where you are on the way back to the landing two hours before dark, high fiving.

    John Rasmussen
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 2511
    #2153297

    Basseyes and sunseteyes, thank you for the great post and information. Makes sense.

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