Now that the walleye season is back open on the big lake to catch and release, it’s very important to be conscious of how long you give the fish to eat your livebait before setting the hook. The longer you give them, the more the risk of the fish swallowing your offering. And if they swallow it, you must be very careful not to injure the fish by trying to remove the hook.
The best thing to do if the hook is in the stomach is to cut the line close to the mouth and immediately release the fish. Pulling the hook out is certain death for the fish, so please don’t try to pretend you’re a surgeon.
As far as white bellies, not all bellies are walleyes. As a matter of fact, most are not. They’re tullibies. If you look closely there is a noticeable difference between the two. Walleyes are tan/brown and have a round belly and rounded fins, and tullibies are silver and really thin and have sharply pointed fins.
When the water warms up to summer levels, tullibee have to stay down deeper in the water column where the water is cooler. They will still venture towards the surface to feed on bugs and what not but cannot stay there too long. If they stay there too long, the warmer water zaps their strength and they are not able to swim back down and will slowly make their way to the surface and die.
So next time you’re out on the lake, take a good look at the fish floating out there. I think you’ll find that most of them are tulibee’s and not my fellow walleyes.
Loose lines and tight lips,