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Hey all, The Lindner’s recently put up an episode of Al and Billy Rosner fishing Vermilion last October: I thought it was a good episode and it was really cool seeing such great anglers taking on Vermilion. I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about open water but this show got me to thinking. Has anyone here on the forum successfully targeted shallow, weed-oriented walleyes?? The video proves it can be done, but it’s just not a pattern you hear much about. Thanks!
In earlier sections I spoke about weed walleye tactics and some of the things to look for and crankbait tactics for early season fishing. As the water temps continue to climb into the upper seventies and low eighties the fish will seek the cover of the weeds and the relative cool deeper water by sliding slightly deeper and moving to offshore humps and deeper breaklines where they bottom out into the basin. This time of year I switch my search to these areas and will cruise the breaks with my electronics looking for pods of fish on the break, near humps and at the bottom of the breaklines where they meet the basin. If you found fish on the shallow edge on the sand flats early in the year these areas are a great place to start your search along the deeper edge of the weedlines and out into the basin. I find myself fishing in the 14-25' range during the heat of summer. One tactic that allows you to cover water is to troll bottom bouncers and spinner rigs. I prefer to use gulp crawlers and leeches to keep the pesky panfish from stealing my bait or trolling deep diving wide wobbling baits like salmo hornets and wally divers to get at the deeper fish. It seems like the fish respond better to a wider wobbling bait trolled at 1.5-2 mph then a tighter wobbling bait like a shad rap this time of year. I use an Okuma line counter reel on a 8'6" medium action Gander mountain trolling rod spooled with 20# power pro tied directly to my crankbaits. On the waters I fish the water clarity is low and the fish aren't line shy but a floro leader can be added when fishing clearer water. The 8' rod has a soft tip so when a fish hits the hooks won't pull free. Trolling the deep edges of the weeds will allow me to find scattered fish and the decision to run cranks or spinners for me is dictated by the aggressiveness of the fish. If I start with cranks and come up empty on areas that appear to be holding fish I will switch tactics and slow down a bit to see if I can get the fish to bite. As we ease into August the shallow weeds start to die back as well as some of the deeper weeds which makes trolling large flats less frustrating as you won't foul your baits as often. The deep water tactics will hold untill the water cools in September. The lakes I fish perch, bluegill and shiners are the predominant forage base and the walleyes will follow these fish when feeding. On larger deeper lakes with tullibies and whitefish you can start trolling the open basin areas with cranks or spinner rigs on leadcore in the 25-50' range targeting the suspended walleyes that are out foraging on these tasty whitefish. Basin trolling with leadcore is fairly simple and will be covered in my next entry. Tightlines! Tunrevir~
Bass fishermen have known for years that weedlines and weed line transitions concentrate and hold fish but mention weeds to a walleye fishermen and many of them will shy away from fishing in and around the weeds opting for easier, more familiar presentations like pulling live bait rigs or spinners away from the salad. To catch walleyes among the weeds you need to know the types of weeds and the habitat in which they grow. Often you can rule out lily pads and cattails as they tend to grow over mucky bottoms and will tend to be marginal spots for walleyes with the exception of early spring and late fall. Early spring the water will warm in the dark bottom bays first and baitfish and forgs will be available as forage sources and hungry walleyes will take advantage of this making feeding forays into the shallows under the cover of darkness. This pattern is most pronounced in the fall when frogs begin to migrate to these areas to spend the winter. One of the best areas to poke around for weed walleyes is near pencil reeds and the adjacent sand flats and weedlines that surround them. Pencil reeds tend to grow on a sand and gravel bottom in 3-6' of water and are a good option to fish near from opener into early June. In some lakes like Winnebago in Wisc., and Cass lakes Pike bay fishing the edges with slip bobbers and leeches or minnows can be outstanding. Once walleyes have spawned and begin to disperse over the sand flats they will start to concentrate along the first break and weedline where there is available forage. Often this puts us in the 6-8' range where sand/mud transitions form and you see a solid weedline or a drop off into deeper water. The sand flats will hold pods of walleyes that will be scattered about looking for perch, shiners and bluegills to feed on. Traditional jig and minnow, plastics can be worked but I prefer to fancast with crankbaits employing techniques that I outlined in previous blog entries. Working out to the weedline surrounding the sand flats near the adjacent reeds you can employ a variety of techniques. On larger flats you can troll stick baits or employ live bait rigs to contact scattered fish but I like to slowly cruise the edges of the weedlines with my trolling motor and fancast crankbaits parallel to the weedline and out onto the sand flats picking off a fish here and there. Slow rolling shad raps early with water temps in the 45-55 degree range and later as water temps move into the mid sixties lipless rattle baits and spinner baits begin to excel. I prefer to use the crankbaits over live bait to discourage pesky panfish and concentrate on the larger predators. You may be pleasantly surprised at the variety of fish you catch including pike, bass, muskies and even some larger panfish when employing this technique in addition to the walleyes that you are targeting. Sand flats are often covered with chara which is a stringy brittle weed that has a slightly skunky smell when you remove it from your hooks. It is a good indicator of a sandy bottom and does not grow over mud. Weeds that make up weedlines tend to include milfoil, coontail and potoemagon(cabbage) which tend to grow where sand and muck congregate at the edges of sabd flats and can be found from 3-8' in most lakes. Depth of the weedline formation is an indicator of bottom content and weeds growing into the 3' range generally indicate a muddy bottom where weedlines forming in the 6-8' depth indicate a sand to mud transition and are a good place to start your search for weedline walleyes. Next week I will go into more detail on tactics for working into the weeds to contact fish and some other details to look for that tend to be more high percentage spots for walleyes. Tightlines! Tunrevir~
Eric T Anderson posted a topic in McGregor-Aitkin-Crosby-Deerwood Fishing Reports - Hunting - EventsFinally made it back to Fishing Minnesota. Had to get a new user name, since I could not locate my old password and haven't used this site in a while... Anyways.... I fished Big Sandy last weekend May 22-26 (Extended trip since it was by birthday), and fared pretty well, only on the walleye side. Fished in 14 to 18 FOT, with live bait, jigs with fatheads and lindy rigs produced fish. Caught mostly 13-16 inchers eyes, along with some decent size perch. Locator was definitely needed, and just backed troll to find fish. Neighbor caught a 28'' eye. He wouldn't tell me where, although he said that was the only eye he caught last Friday, just a plain old lindy and leech. Purpose of the trip was to find the crappie slabs, yet did not find any in the shallows near pencil reeds, only small snakes took my jigs. I tired various locations on the lake from the northwest bays, to islands around "the pass", to bellhorn, etc... yet could not locate them anywhere. Only place where I found a 13 incher was washed up on shore near Davis Bay. Anybody have any luck with any pannies or crappies on BSL? Dont have to be specific... FOT? I wont head back to Big Sandy until June 13th weekend. Going to fish other lakes and getting ready for Muskie opener on the 6th!'' Good luck to everybody!