Walleye fishing is an art. I have been out on the lake and seen several boats in close proximity to one another and one guys is doing a number on the fish while the others are starting at him like he just won the lottery and rode off with the prom queen. The truth of the matter is Walleye fishing is not all that difficult if you just know what to do. Depending on what time of the year you are fishing, here are some great tips to make you more successful and the guy that everyone else is trying to figure out.
The key is to understand that at different times of the year and at different water temperatures the fish will have different patterns.
It is vital to understand these habits and to search those types of locations that the fish are most likely to inhabit or move to at that time of the yearand what they most likely will be feeding upon.
After the snow melts and the first signs of spring are in
air the Walleye will usually be very close to the shore and should be found in
sandy areas with patchy sand bars along wild rice beds. Also, look for rocky
jetties or structures that are close to sandy bottom. At this time of the year
the sandy bottom is key as this is where the Walleye will spawn. Early spring
Walleye will be very aggressive and a variety of baits will work especially
jigs. Fishing with jigs is relatively easy once you develop the touch and you
can use various jig heads from 1/8 oz to ¼ oz fitted with a Twister Tail. Have
an assortment of white, Yellow, green and black and try different colors until
you find the one that gets them to strike. In the spring, adding a small piece
of bait such as a worm or belly strip works great all year, but spawning fish
are usually ravenous to begin with. You will find some colors work best at
certain times of the year while others work year round.
When you find an area that is holding fish, understand that
the males, which are a bit smaller, will usually stay shallower and closer to
the sandy areas, which are the spawning areas. If quantity and hot action is
what you are looking for these are the areas to work, if you want a bigger
fish, the females which are larger can be found in the same general vicinity
but just a bit deeper.
I like to cover some ground so I enjoy trolling along the
shore until I get a strike then I will either begin to jig or begin casting
various crank baits and lures such as shallow running Shad Raps, Floating
Rapalas and Junior Thunder sticks. I have had the best results using silver and
blue. Just because it’s still spring and possibly still a bit chilly, do not
forget about fishing at night for Walleyes. This is the time when the larger
females will make their way closer to the shoreline. Remember that this time of
the year, the sandy bottom is key. If it’s the big Walleyes that get your
juices flowing, then try the above-mentioned techniques, but at night. Also, be
on the look out for any weed lines and grassy cover in close proximity to the
sandy bottom, as the big ones will be moving out from that cover to feed. If
you are trolling, go a bit slower than you would during the day.
Towards the end of the spring and throughout the summer, you will need to
modify your Walleye Fishing techniques to account for the warmer waters. Just
like beach-goers heading for shade or under their umbrellas in the summer,
Walleye too will head for the weeds or into deeper water. You can get down to
them with jigs and the Infamous TwisterTails, white seems to work the best
during the warmer months but again, bring an assortment of colors as what works
in one area may draw blanks in another. Like most fishing, you have a good idea
of what works but still need to experiment. Work the deeper weeds and
structures drifting until you find fish.
In the warmer months you can use the same night Walleye fishing techniques
as at other times of the year and troll until you find the fish. Again these
will more than likely be larger fish and the big females will be in deeper
water than the spring so troll appropriate lures to cover more area at the
right depth. Fishing for larger fish during the day requires you to get down
deeper to where the larger fish will be and once you locate them, mark the spot
so you can repeat that drift. Remember that surface water is considerably
warmer than that at the bottom and you need to identify and fish below that
temperature change to effective go after big fish, usually near the bottom.
In the summer you should also look for baitfish on the surface possibly even
in open water as schools of Walleye may be suspended under them waiting to
feed. Trolling the open water with a fish finder is a great way to locate them.
Again, pay attention to possible water temperature changes if possible. If you
have no depth finder you can try blind trolling if you see schools of baitfish
and then jig or cast the area if you get a strike.
Remember that the bigger Walleyes will usually be found nearer to the bottom
and depending upon the area you are fishing and depth of the lake this could
vary greatly but depths from 15 to slightly over 30 feet seem to produce the
bigger fish. Weeds and rocky jetties that drop off quickly are always a great
place to try, and don’t be afraid to experiment with various jigs, lures and
even baited bottom rigs. Those guys that are catching all the fish have figured
something out by experimentation, you can too!