As we progress into summer with the resulting warmer air and water temps, our previously quite predictable walleye’d friends become increasingly difficult to pattern. This is due to the fact that they have completed their spawning rituals and have gobbled up most everything edible in the nearby areas…and are now on the move to greener pastures.
They can literally be found most anywhere as their metabolism is at its’ yearly peak, with eating becoming their overriding priority. With the food chain in full swing with newly hatched minnows, panfish, and insects emerging in unimaginable numbers; this means that the walleye’s have a lot to choose from and different groups of them can be utilizing the many options available, all at the same time. They tend to be loosely scattered, making our job of
finding catchable numbers much more difficult.
But, if we are to accept the conditions we are facing and employ tactics that allow us to stay in contact with them, consistent fishing can be had. To do so, we need to take an active approach and do things that cover a lot of water in a quick, yet disciplined manner. We will want to focus on general areas in which we feel there is a decent population of fish and then decide on the best methods of enticing these fish.
Pulling crankbaits or powering spinners through these areas is probably the first things that come to mind and are without a doubt some of your better options. These tactics can work either shallow or deep, but are ideally suited for the deeper side of things, say 12 foot and out. I will outline a method you may want to consider for targeting fish that are from this point and on in shallower. As a rule, fish in shallower water are much more active and therefore the methods I will describe offer a heck of a lot more in the way of fun than just dragging stuff around waiting for a bite. This is akin to bass fishing with a second option of presenting a more traditional walleye fisherman’s livebait fare.
What I am referring to is taking a very aggressive crankbait casting approach. Using our electric motor, simply move along in the 1.5mph range and cast very quickly with fast retrieves so as to completely pepper any likely looking spots. With two anglers you can cover structure such as a broad shallow point from about every angle imaginable in no time at all. Subtle is not what we are looking for so high action baits such as ReefRunners, several varieties of jointed baits, and even lipless rattling crankbaits are desirable to aggravate the most belligerent fish in the area to reacting with an instant and vicious reaction bite.
For those fish that refuse to give in so easily, we can easily deploy a dead-stick method of dragging livebait in a subtle and seductive manner to cover the same exact same ground while we are casting. Simply pinch on a small split shot directly ahead of a snap swivel and leader with a float and a feather light Mack’s Lure Smile Blade baited with either leeches or crawler’s. I prefer to use a long soft rod such as St.Croix’s 8 foot Slip Stick left in the rod holder for this purpose and let the fish hang themselves. Once the rod loads up, simply reel ‘em in.
This lets you give the fish two distinctly different options in which to choose from, thus allowing yourself to be twice as efficient and ultimately as deadly as possible.