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Wade Joseph

Live bait question

13 posts in this topic

Ok folks. This may sound like a dumb question, but since the majority of my fishing experience is on the Mississippi and then the ocean, I need a simple question answered.

Would you say that walleyes in most lakes in Northern WI, MN preffer different live bait at different temps? For example, minnows in water temps below 60, leeches from 60-62 and then crawlers at anything over 62 or something similar to that?

I have not fished leeches much and am just looking for a way to know about when to switch to what.

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Lakes all bait for walleyes. For certain lake check with local bait shops.

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my parents live on island lake north of duluth and i find that in the spring i jig minnows, and summer months use leeches and crawlers. Up in the BWCA I jig an bobber fish leeches year round and they do fine.

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I'll start the season out with minnows. Thats what the eyes predominately feeding on then. It also matches my approach as to how I go about finding eyes in regards to location. Lastly they keep well with cool water temps.

I'll make the switch to leeches when surface temps hit the 70's. Thats usually around the beginning to mid June.

Another indicator when to switch is when you start seeing leeches in the shallow or even crossing open water. Not saying you won't do well with minnows still because you can but keeping them alive in warmer water is a hassle. Same is true for using leeches on opener, they'll work then too.

I'll start using worms around the same time I start using leeches.

Come Fall its back to minnows again. Why because thats what the eyes are feeding on and again it matches the locations I look for eyes. Leeches are inactive in those cold temps and next to impossible to find at the bait shop.

The million dollar question is what type of minnow to use. That depends on the lake, time of year, and location. Will that make a difference? Sometimes yes but usually no.

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Wade:

Some people swear by leeches all the time, or crawlers, others like me prefer minnows. But when I started fishing the bay about 8 years ago I had no idea what would work and wanted to figure it out. So for most of the year I trolled two lines with bottom bouncers, one with a spinner and minnow, one with a spinner and a nite crawler. The records consistently showed that it was just about 50/50, neither outperformed the other, and that held up throughout the year. When I went with a buddy, he'd consistently use worms, and I stayed with minnows. You guessed it, again, 50/50. We each caught about the same number of fish. Yet the paradox was, if I asked other fishermen what to use, the great majority of fishermen on the river will say "worms". Now I can't say what will work better on Winnie or Boulder because I haven't run this test any where else. And I swear that at times leeches are the ticket. But presentation, finesse, and color may be the stronger factor for the majority of the season. My $0.02 worth.

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yeah, i agree with S.T. The real question is kind of minnow to use. i prefer rainbow chubs, but thats personal preference.

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This year crawlers and leeches will work right away around here. The waters are warming up fast and the walleyes, rockbass and perch are already hitting leech imitations.

When trolling a spinner rig I will use crawlers or Gulp Crawlers 90% of the time. Leeches the other 5%. Minnows I like to jig with and lindy rig. Leeches too. I very seldom run a minnow on a spinner rig. I used to do it a lot but found I catch more with crawlers for some reason. Probably a comfort and confidence thing I guess.

This year will toss all the Rules out the window so do a lot of experimenting and it will pay off. Fish will be in crazy areas this year due to low water. Holes you couldnt get to will be game this year.

Have fun and watch those props. grin.gif

By the way Frank if you wait til 70 degree waters to use leeches your missing out on a lot of good leech fishin.

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Quote:

I very seldom run a minnow on a spinner rig. I used to do it a lot but found I catch more with crawlers for some reason. Probably a comfort and confidence thing I guess.


Alright Steve, I seem to remember you catching that hog walleye you have on a big creek chub and a spinner rig. blush.gif I guess there's an exception to every rule, huh?

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Ya that was a lucky fluke. I had been fighting wind all day and stopped in some calm waters to have a sandwich and coffee. After I was done I grabbed the biggest minnow I had and dew to laziness put it on a crawler harness. crazy.gif

Trolled it for about 100' and the walleye gods blessed me. 31.5" walleye sits on my wall. (Graphite Replica done by Artistic Anglers)

It was 1 of only a couple dozen I have caught trolling minnows in the river. I have caught tons more trolling crawlers. Thats because I know they work all year round and I can kep them a long time.

Now minnows are my go to bait when jigging most of the year.

No matter what bait you use you have to have confidence in it. I have confidence in plastics while others will never use anything but live bait.

No matter what you try have fun this opener and be safe.

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the best minnow is made of plastic unles the spottails are spawning on the rocks, then you must have a spotail.

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for what its worth wade, a buddy and I hit a northern Wisconsin lake this weekend. I dont use leeches until water temps are at least in the 60's but my buddy caught our first walleye on a leech and slip bobber. surface temp was 55.

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Thanks for all the replys. I guess I will stick with Minnows for now till things warm up a bit more.

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Wade go get yourself a bag of 3"-4" Gulp Minnows in Smelt and Blue Shiner colors and you will have a ball on the river this opener.

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