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basin tactics for summer walleyes



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!


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