Ned Head Walleye of Algoma

Springtime Walleye Doesn't Have To Be A Crowded Affair

Perhaps more than any other time of the year, spring fishing for walleye can be a crowded affair.

Everyone knows where walleye spawn.

Depending on the regions you fish, these same locations can be jam-packed with boats of all shapes and sizes, as anglers look to fill their limits of easy-picking walleye that are stacked together like cordwood.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are regions across Northern Ontario that have many locations with smaller lakes that warm up faster and accelerate the spawning process of springtime walleye. Once the season officially opens to angling, most of the fish have vacated the faster-moving water where they did their business weeks prior and have now started to distribute to early summer locations like rocky points, off-shore humps and reefs, newly emergent weeds, and dark bottom bays that attract baitfish.

The Algoma region of Northern Ontario is one such location, where springtime walleye fishing doesn’t have to be a crowded affair.

Open Lake

This region is world-famous for the early season walleye bite and is blessed with countless locations and rivers with prime walleye spawning characteristics that continually reproduce excellent year classes of walleye, keeping this fishery healthy. Amongst all of those prime Algoma river locations are countless smaller lakes with good populations of walleye. On a recent road trip to the region, we had the opportunity to explore one of these smaller lakes with Adam Vallee of Angling Algoma, who guides in the Algoma region. Adam suggested we try a smaller lake in the Thessalon area close to where we were based for this road trip.

We chose a central lodge location as we wanted to explore some new lakes in the Algoma region on this trip and had everything we so desired. Birchland Cottages is nestled in a beautiful and peaceful private bay on Clear Lake just west of Iron Bridge, Ontario. They are roughly one hour and 15 minutes east of Sault Ste. Marie or two hours west of Sudbury off the Trans-Canada Highway. The cottages offer lakefront views with all the comforts of home—each fully furnished cottage includes appliances, running water, electricity, heat, satellite television, and modern bathrooms as well as a boat launch along with boat and motor rentals for your fishing or recreational pleasures. They also have canoes, kayaks, BBQs, picnic tables, firewood, ice, and more!


A perfect location to base your Algoma angling adventures.

Fewer crowds, chunky walleye, let’s go!

We reviewed several options of lakes in the nearby area that populations of walleye, and chose a lake that had a few rivers flowing in and out, which would provide decent spawning opportunities for these walleyes. This particular lake also featured a lot of smaller, shallow, dark-bottomed back bays close to the rivers, rocky points leading to deeper water, and a few off-shore humps and reefs that had new weed growth.

Perfect, now let’s go fishing.

Walleye 01

Since I had brought my own boat on this trip, I was fortunate to utilize my Garmin sonar, mapping, and Side-Vu systems to help locate and pinpoint these unmarked offshore humps and reefs with new weed. We idled around for a while, zig-zagging off some rocky points looking for these prime locations, and came across an off-shore reef that was located in 20-plus feet of water, rising on one end to 10 feet with thick milfoil weed and a slow taper to the main lake basin. Prime walleye location if you ask me.

Walleye 02

We decided to skip the traditional ball head jig and live bait presentation, and instead utilize the combination of Ned Head (mushroom style jig head) and soft shad bait combination. In this case, it was the Strike King baby Z-too stretchy plastic bait that was infused with scent and looked like a young-of-the-year yellow perch when slowly jigged off bottom on the deep tapering weed beds.


It didn’t take long until we started to hook up with some great eating-sized walleyes in the 16-inch class. Then while exploring the deeper weed edges, we hit the pot of walleye gold in the 14- to 16-foot range, with a school of healthy post-spawn walleyes in the 18- to 22-inch class with multiple doubleheaders. The lake we were fishing allowed one fish over the 18-inch class to be harvested, but we only kept a few fish in the 16- to 17-inch class for an amazing fish fry that same evening back at our cottage.

Springtime walleye are a tradition shared by many anglers across North America who travel to locations such as Algoma Country, fishing the same rivers, streams, and lakes that at times can be very busy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This year, take an opportunity to contact a local guide such as Adam and explore all that is available with a lot less boat traffic.


Book This Trip Today

Birchland Cottages

PH: (705) 842-3356

Angling Algoma

PH: (705) 943-5286

About Karl Kalonka

It's possible Karl's love for fishing began as early as the age of five. His parents took the kids on weekend trips across Ontario fishing for panfish, catfish, and bass. "I started with a bobber and worm from the time I was five years old," says Karl. These days, he has the enviable task of doing what he loves for a living, travelling across Ontario fishing, filming and producing two outdoor series, Extreme Angler and Crappie Angler TV.

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