Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tricks for when the walleye turn finicky

Bass Pro XPS walleye spinner rig
No sooner does your walleye spinner trolling rig and 1/4-ounce sinker hit the bottom behind the boat than you get a walleye. So does your partner. And not far away, your buddies in another boat both connect to walleye with 1/4-ounce jigs baited with worms or leeches. And it happens again and again, for maybe an hour. Then, as if someone threw a switch, it stops. The feeding frenzy is over.
What happened?
No one really knows, but this is a common scenario: walleye hit like crazy for awhile, and then they stop. They will start again but it might take hours.
What happens to most of us is that we work the area thoroughly with exactly the same tackle, perhaps picking up a couple more fish, before we change locations and look for another frenzy.
Some fishermen, however, don't switch areas, they change how they are fishing. As a general rule, when walleye turn finicky you want to use less metal and fish slower. The fish aren't as aggressive now so you need to cater to their whims.
Instead of trolling with a metal-bladed walleye spinner, you might try just drifting with a Lindy rig that has a small float and hook. And instead of a 1/4-ounce sinker you should probably switch to a split shot. If you were jigging with the 1/4-ounce, switch to a 1/8-ounce, even a 1/16 ounce. Or even better, use a split shot and a floating jig head and just let the floater with a bit of worm or leech rest just off the bottom and wait for a fish to pick it up.
Think of it as the walleyes that were gorging on minnows (and your lures) earlier are now full and lazy, kind of like us after Thanksgiving dinner. They may be lying on the bottom doing the equivalent of watching football games on TV.  However, when someone passes a plate of snacks, well, there's room for a little bit more, just as long as they don't have to chase it.
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