Sunday, April 12, 2015

Unconventional walleye techniques

A loon takes a stretch by a likely-looking walleye spot. Vic Fazekas photo
Right from the start let me say that if you want to catch large numbers of walleye, and almost nothing else, than you should stick to regular walleye fishing methods like back-trolling walleye spinners laced with worms, leeches or minnows, or fish with 1/4 or 1/8 ounce jigs with the same bait attached. That is how the best walleye fishermen do it. But I'm not one of those people. I'm a northern pike fisherman who, while casting the shorelines and weedbeds for my favourite fish, notices a likely walleye spot and with no live bait whatsoever, tries a bit for walleye. And I frequently get some, maybe not as many as the dyed-in-the-wool 'eye anglers, but enough to make it interesting.
I find these fish in places that I strongly suspect normal walleye fishermen never even consider, like weedbeds and lily pads, and I always cast for them, with the same lures I'm using for pike. One of these is the quarter-ounce Beetle Spin which catches the daylights out of northern pike and does pretty darn good on the golden fish as well. It's just that I fish it differently when I think there might be walleyes at hand.
For northern pike, a Beetle Spin, or just a plain quarter-ounce jig with a three-inch or 3.5-inch twister tail should be cast to shore or through a break in the weedbed and reeled steadily back to the boat while letting the lure run about three feet down, at least after it clears the shallows. For walleye I use the exact same rig but usually cast it to a likely-looking spot, let it sink all the way to the bottom, then slowly crank it in, letting it run as deep as possible.
The trick, if there is one, is knowing what is a "likely-looking" spot.
I look for a pile of boulders among the weeds or for a place where the bottom drops off to deeper water, often signaled by the fact there is no weed growth. Sometimes I fish for walleye right in the midst of the weeds but only because I have caught walleye in this place before, probably while fishing for pike.
In the photo above, the water looks like it gets deep pretty close to the weed growth on this little island; so, it would be worth a try.
Usually I just get a walleye or two and move on but sometimes I hit the mother lode and find a cluster of fish in these spots.
I would probably do better on the walleye if I didn't fish with a steel leader but since it's northern pike that I'm really fishing the most for, I always have a leader. However, I usually make my own out of 10-pound-or-so Knot2Kinky wire which is so fine I don't think walleye pay it much attention. I also use small swivels and snap-swivels which don't shout METAL! to keen-eyed walleye.

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Anonymous said...

I would have to say that I,m getting familiar with the camp and lake when I recognize the rocks in the photos and one of my go to spots. Our trip will not be here soon enough Mike t

joe overman said...

Sadler Bay?