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Spin diggin walleye

Random guy

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With the muddy conditions that have plagued Upper Red Lake this season we find ourselves changing just how we do things to get results. The latest spin is just one more way to conjure up bigger walleyes during a small fish bite.

Just as the seasons change, the Walleye are making their normal calendar period moves. The larger fish are traveling out of the warm shallow water for cooler deep haunts, leaving behind the runts of the pack to pick up scraps.

Deeper Upper Red Lake with its stained water and wind churned sediment makes for poor visibility, even for old marble eye. The now deeper walleyes often feed only when conditions are optimum. This could be a very small window of opportunity when predatory fish actually make the effort to hunt. The remainder of the day is spent doing what walleyes do; hanging out by deeper structure just being walleye, waiting for those easy bonus snacks to come by.

The problem with these fish is they like spinners and crankbait rattles along with other things that go bump in the dark, but how to get shaker and mover lures in closes enough to neutral walleye hugging structure? Bottom bouncers snag up, crankbaits wedge under rocks like a door stop and Lindy rigs with wiggling live bait are no match for the cannon ball boulder fields of Upper Red Lake.

Now what about combining the attractiveness of a live bait profile, the flash and dash of a spinner all in a package you can pick around the rocks? How about the Lindy Watsit Spin?


This little lure I will admit did not get much praise from me when they arrived on the scene. “Big Deal, somebody stuck a spinner on a jig”, was the first thing out of my mouth. I tossed them in the back of the tackle box where they have ridden along silently waiting for their moment to shine. Today was that day.

Frustrated by marking fish after fish tight to the rocks I ran jig after jig by them with a few takers. I kept upping the boldness of the colors and size trying to get them noticed in the muddy water. Only after trying to come up with a way to run a spinner in front of them I tied on a Watsit Spin and started bouncing it off the rocks with a slow drift of .3-.5 mph. WhammO! WhammO! WhammO again and again! Every time I would impact a rock and let the jig slowly fall back down with its little spinner flashing away it would get slammed, BY BIGGER FISH! It became very apparent that the simple spinner attached to the jig head I mocked earlier was taking an average guide trip to in incredible one. After a few hours of barely hooked 10” walleyes we stepped up to hook engulfing 17, 18 and 20” walleye, all because of that little spinner. It was one of the cases where lure selection was key for both placement and presentation.


For bigger fish on Upper Red Lake grab a handful and jigs, make some of them Watsit Spins and head for the deeper rock piles. Fish are hiding behind every rock.

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Excellent read jonny.... This looks like something i could use for my boundary waters trip at the end of august. Have u ever bothered to try these lures ice fishing??

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Great read Jonny P and that sure sounds like fun and gotta love that type of bite I know its amoung my favorite.

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That's a good lookin' jig, and I could see those working well pitching into, and around rocks and current breaks in the river.

The old beetle-spin, safety pin style add on spinner blade to jigs and large plastics has been a great go to bait in our river system for years.

Do you think these would be more, or less snag free vs. the old school safety pin spinner blade? I've always liked the feature of the safety pin as it seems to slide around light weed cover very nicely without hanging up on the jig eye.

There's also another fixed spinner blade jig very similar to this one on the market. Been around for many years, but the name escapes me? Tiny spinner blade mounted to the bottom of the jig head. I have several in my arsenal.

Great little article again, Jon. Pretty much impossible to beat the "precision" of a jig on tight cover, and that little bit of flash and thump is no doubt the "schnitzel" that triggered these fish!

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I was kinda thinkin' it was something--something--Runner....but couldn't remember for certain.

I'm ashamed that I couldn't remember the name of a fishing lure! I live, sleep, and eat these things!

I really love the old stuff. Kinda funny, but haven't really seen much innovation beyond what was invented 40 yrs ago. Fish like minnows, leeches, and worms. Can't improve on that too much. smile

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I can't wait to try them in a couple of weeks in Canada. The Fuzzy Grub body in the root beer (orange/brown) color with a a flourescent red/orange/black jig head has always been dynamite in Canada the end of July. I think the fish are relating to the crawdad hatch that time of the year. The new wazit body in orange/brown with the little tentacles should be even better. I also picked up some pink/white bodies after our trip to the Rainy River this spring.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • JerkinLips
      Earlier this morning it looked like Vermilion froze over last night but now I see open water on the Hibbing Point webcam.  The strong winds must have opened the lake back up.  Tonight the temps drop to single digits and the wind dies down by 5am so it will freeze over tonight.  Expecting 1-2" of snow on Friday with high winds so hopefully the snow will blow off the new ice.  Saturday-Thursday looks very cold with no more snow, so the main lake should get a solid freeze.  Some are ice fishing in Stuntz Bay already, and some braver than I may walk out from McKinley Park this weekend.  I'm going to wait until the end of next week to venture out, although it will be very cold.
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end... Ice is forming, but other than some back bays, it isn't ready quite yet.  Mother Nature is on track.  Some resorts are making the prediction of December 10th for day houses being out, give or take, but at this point, this isn't set in stone and time will tell.  There are cold temps in the forecast and things look optimistic.  Many resorts and outfitters have been checking ice conditions.  When the time is right, resorts and outfitters will slowly and safely begin marking and grooming trails for ice travel.    Please remember, ice conditions vary greatly in different parts of the lake.  One ice road can have good ice that has been checked and marked while down the shoreline there may be ice not suitable for travel yet.  Work through resorts and outfitters on the ice and stay on the marked trails for safety. Anticipation is high as the walleye and sauger fishing this fall was good and fish were staged in good numbers along the south shore.   On the Rainy River...   Much of the Rainy River is frozen up.  Things are progressing but it certainly needs cold weather and some time. Ice conditions vary and on the river there is current, so much like the lake, we encourage visitors to work through a resort or outfitter for safety.   Up at the NW Angle... Ice is forming nicely and is right on track for this year's ice fishing season.  There has been no ice fishing yet as resorts are simply monitoring ice conditions at this time, waiting until the ice is thicker before marking trails and getting fish houses out. Fall fishing was excellent with walleyes in good numbers along with some monster pike being caught.  All indications point to good fishing when the ice is ready as the fish are there. Driving through Canada to reach the Angle no longer requires COVID vaccinations or the use of the ArriveCan App (which is optional).   For those looking to access the Angle while avoiding customs, there are few options.   1.  When ice conditions allow, the snowmobile trail will be groomed and staked from the south shore up to the Angle. 2.  The Lake of the Woods Passenger service provides round trip bombardier service across the lake.   3.  Lake Country Air provides air service to both the south end and NW Angle.    
    • Wanderer
    • leech~~
      Was just going to post this!  
    • Wanderer
      At least they can all say they were there early!  
    • SkunkedAgain
      I'm still hoping for a sunny warm-up to melt all of the existing snow off of the existing ice, and then an arctic blast. After that, I'm hoping for a giant walleye to hop out of the lake and filet itself before skinny dipping in some batter and then relaxing in a hot pan of oil in my kitchen.
    • gimruis
      I'm planning to go later this week.  There's fresh snow coming tomorrow too.
    • gimruis
      I would highly recommend not doodling around out there at night time either.  When those cracks form, the piece breaks off from the main sheet or the land and you are then caught "adrift" with no way back.   The bite is not as good as it normally is from what I have read either.  We're so used to hearing that "its on fire" for the early ice bite but that doesn't appear to be the case.
    • leech~~
      Well, a new report for today talked about cracks opening up and ice piling up!  Better check the night before you head up.  😕
    • Harv
      Leech,  that's what I've been reading.  I'm heading up on Friday the 2nd, for the weekend.   Fingers crossed limits are caught
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