As the weather begins to warm in earnest and we trend into the Summer months, we see not only the air temperature rise; but more importantly-the water temperature. Just as we tend to become much more active, fish of all species respond in kind, particularly my favorite-walleye’s. Meaning we can now begin to leave behind some of the finesse tactics that are so common early in the open water period.
The fish begin to spread out and away from their traditional spawning grounds in search of plentiful food sources in which to replenish themselves from the rigors of spawning as well as achieve their annual growth potential, which is limited to just a few short months in the Northern climates we call home. Walleye’s can now be found most anywhere. From large flats to prominent points and everywhere in between, including suspended in open water…which is a vastly overlooked option.
What this should tell us as anglers is that we need to be willing to cover some water in our search and nothing accomplishes that more efficiently than trolling. Over the last several years trolling has become more mainstream and not just the territory of tournament anglers or your hard-core types. Crankbaits are the standard fare, but there is an option that is largely overlooked. That being trolling of Spinner/Crawler harnesses. Our Great Lakes brethren have been utilizing this to great effectiveness for years and it is equally effective on all inland waters. Heck, you know how darn well they work behind a bottom bouncer; why not employ a little meat into your trolling spread?
We can easily run a combination of crankbaits and spinners in the same trolling spread with just a little thought and imagination. There are many methods in which to deliver your spinner and crawler combo ranging from super heavy bottom bouncers and snap weights to jet and dispy divers. Each and every one is effective and worthy of consideration. But something that most of you are becoming more familiar with is the use of Leadcore Line. As amazingly simple as it is effective, I feel Leadcore just enhances the action of any lure choice.
A typical scenario that I employ is to use two long rods such as the 10 or 12 foot models in St. Croix’s Eyecon Series with crankbaits and then run two of their short 5 footers directly out the back with Leadcore. A vital feature of these rods is that they are made of a high modulus fiberglass that not only lends strength for the stresses we put trolling rods under, but also gives us the ability to read exactly what our baits our doing behind the boat. Thus, allowing us to immediately become aware of a plug picking up a bit of debris or panfish pecking off our crawlers.
I often begin by running a very small crankbait on one of the short rods and a spinner/crawler combination on the other. Two exciting new options for this season is ReefRunner’s hot new little 100 Series and JB Lures Irresistible UV Spinners. Reefrunner’s trademark action and the UV paint schemes on JB’s spinners should no doubt prove to provide a totally new look and be quite advantageous. By going this route, we can let the fish tell us what they prefer on any given day. If one starts overwhelmingly out-producing the other, then by all means switch over to two rods of the successful bait of the day.
This should give you something to consider and another very viable option in your pursuit of becoming a more consistent walleye angler.
Dennis Foster is a widely published Outdoor Writer, as well an accomplished Fishing and Pheasant Hunting Guide. He welcomes comments and can be reached at www.eyetimepromotions.com.