> Each fall armies of leopard frogs migrate from woodlands to water where they burrow into soft bottom for winter. …on many Sept and Oct nights across the Midwest, there are countless miles of unexploited shorelines lined with walleyes waiting for the kill. …skinny, marshy water, areas you wouldn’t normally associate with fall walleye fishing.
> I first experienced the annual frog migration/walleye connection as a kid. My dad and his buddies would shoulder a gunny sack of frogs and set up camp on the north end of a lake just outside of town. Over a few beers and bologna sandwiches they’d swap stories around a campfire, watching the tips of long fiberglass rods planted into improvised rod holders.
> The rigs weren’t rocket science: a hook, a 10-12” mono leader, barrel swivel, and a 3/8- to 1/2-oz egg sinker. Sometimes the fish were close to shore, other times a bit farther out. Duck hunting waders made it easier to get additional casting distance and land big walleyes.
> Like fall shore walleye fishing in general, froggin’ for fall walleyes has fallen under the radar in today’s high-tech world – which is really too bad, it’s a heck of a good time.
> Areas to investigate include bays of larger lakes, river backwaters, and shorelines only a road crossing away from wetlands mixed with woods or pasture land.
> Guide Jason Feldner says that Devils Lake, ND has a good frog-walleye bite that old-school anglers have kept on the down-low for years. The same deal applies to countless other lakes in the Dakotas and west-central MN.
> Jason: “I typically look for cattail areas, which have a softer bottom and is where frogs are going to hibernate. If you see frogs crossing the road towards water, just follow them.
> “The first frost is a good marker for the frog bite….
> “Although the old-timers mostly fished at night from the shore, there can be a good frog bite during the day from a boat, too. I just trim up my big motor, use my bow-mount Minn Kota and Talon down in the soft-bottomed bays.
> “As far as the night fishing goes, fishing a couple days before or after the full moon is hard to beat.”
> Feldner’s main live frog set-ups include a Lindy-style live bait rig or a jig head w/stinger hook combo, each fished on 8-lb mono. The first approach is set-it-and-forget-it – the jig head set-up is fan-casted and worked back to the shore or boat in a slow jigging or swimming fashion.
> “Some days the walleyes like the Lindy Rig, other days they like ‘Kermit’ on a jig. You’ll cover more water with the jig head and stinger hook, but there’s something to be said for letting that frog swim on a tether around a bell sinker.
> “I hook the frog through the top lip only, sometimes with a weedless-style hook so the frog can still breathe but stays impaled to the hook.”
I believe when he’s talking about “weedless-style hooks” he means something similar to this Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap Weedless hook which basically pins the bait in. I’ve used this exact hook before (fished weightless) when pitching BIG, expensive creek chubs into shallow water for late-fall walleye: