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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!

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There are walleyes in the weeds on Vermilion year round.

You are right, they are not targeted there by very many people though.

I do not do it very often either but slip bobbers can be very effective in the weeds especially early and late in the season, even in the winter!

Cliff

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A few years back, my Dad, wife, and I would concentrate all efforts early in the spring right up through mid-June in small bays that get choked with weeds later in the summer. Some of our favorites were Everett's Bay, the north shore of Canfield Bay, Bystrom Bay, St. Mary's Bay, and others. Our preferred method was pulling no 7 floating Rapalas in silver/black and gold/black. Cloud cover usually dictated the color that worked best on any given day. We had some absolutely phenomenal days catching a mixed bag of fish species: walleyes, northerns, and perch were the predominant catch but smallmouth, crappies, and giant bluegills were mixed in. Even the occasional muskie showed up. One early June fishing day in Everett's Bay produced 57 walleyes for the 3 of us!! We caught very few walleyes right "in" the weeds but trolling 1-1.5 mph on the weed edge proved deadly. Friends of ours drifted leeches right in the weeds using slip bobbers and did well. Wind blown shorelines in 2'-4' of water were excellent and I don't remember having consistent luck in water over 8' deep. These days, I've kind of moved on from the lure fishing in the early season and switched to either fishing deep water mud flats or slip bobber fishing shallow water reefs. Bottom line is find where the fish are and adapt to the method that catches them.

Good Fishing,

MarkB:)

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I remember a trip to Vermilion years ago before I lived here.  We were on the west end targeting Pike in small may with weeds and reeds along the shoreline.  We were getting ready to leave the area and as I drove the boat near the weed edge 4 beautiful Walleyes game out of the weeds heading to deeper cover.  I was still learning my craft back then and I was shocked by what I saw.  Mind you this was midday with sunshine and it was late June if I recall.  I decided to try fishing weeds for Walleyes and the results were incredible.  East end anglers rarely fish the weeds however many west end anglers target shallow weed beds all season long.  Spinner baits, swim baits, crank baits, soft plastics, slip bobbers and pitching jigs with live bait or plastics, have all caught Walleyes in the weeds.  My wife caught a 22" Walleye on a frog last summer while we were targeting Large mouth bass.

"Ace"

"It's just fishing man"

aceguideservice.com

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Are there times of the day that work better for finding walleye in the weeds, or is it more relational to bright sunlight? In that right, I usually assume that on bright days the walleye move deeper to avoid the light and heat but I guess that it is either a wrong assumption or only partially right.

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Me and My brother were out one day in the middle of July a few years back and were trolling a steep break with weeds up on top which was about 8-10 feet.  I start up the break a little to high so we wee feeling some weeds but ended up getting a walleye right away.  Drop our lines and same thing another nice eater fish.  So we decide to fish right on the very edge of the weeds and we just hammered them.  I believe we had 8-9 nice eater walleyes in a few hours. This all happened in the middle of the day and the sun was out.  It was a good day.  I fish in the weeds more now because if that and I have very good success most of the time.

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  • Official Fishing Report Team - MN

Weeds equal cover, forage, security, and usally eyes. Key is to find good weeds nice green coontail and cabbage are my favorite.  Early in the year I look for eel grass patches on sand flats as they usally hold some good pods and can really concentrate and isolate the schools.  Presentations that work are pitching jigs,swimbaits, and slip bobber rigs into pockets and irregualitys in the weedlines. Another technique is working the outside weed ege with livebait rigs.  My favorite summer technique is pulling spinners tipped with crawlers and weighted with a worm weight over the top just tipping the tops of the weeds. Cant believe how many eyes have fell victim to this combo. For conditions my personal preference is  bright sunny days for fishing weeds but anytime can be good. I will say this you become a good weed fisherman and I guarantee you will put way more eyes in the boat.

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Years back I took my brother-in-law behind Anselmo's (SP?), northwest of Jacobson Point in Head-o-Lakes Bay. I was looking for Muskie along the front of the cabbage. He had no gear so he rigged a small to mid-size in-line spinner bait with a white twister tail. He pulled it across the top of the cabbage beds. I was totally surprised when he caught several walleye. I wouldn't be so surprised if he was fishing in front or down in the weeds but he was basically catching on a surface lure in 3-5' of water in July.

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Pat,

July is my best time for walleyes in the weeds!

I did not cast spinner baits but did pull spinners with 1/2 crawler right along the edges in about 3' to 4' deep water.

We were so close to the boat with our lines that we could see our spinners and actually see the walleyes charge out of the weeds and grab our baits! FUN!!

Now, thanks to the rustys, those cabbage weed beds are gone.:(

Cliff

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I spent a little time last summer looking for weed walleyes in Niles Bay. About 10 minutes into my experiment I caught a chunky 22" on a spinner rig over a weedbed in about 10'. The weeds were growing about halfway to the surface but that fish had no problem smacking my bait. I'll keep experimenting this year.... can't wait for open water!

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Up until about seven or eight years ago we were on Head-o-lakes bay. Minimal to no Rustys. Just the old school guys with the big blue boxer-mit claws. We were seeing rounded gobies.  We're on Frazer now. Wow! It's indescribable how many of those buggers there are. We've been trying to do our part by having frequent crawfish boils. Haven't made a dent but fun and tasty to try.

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There were a lot of cabbage beds on the North side of Pine Is. and on the far East end of Big Bay. Gone now!

Cliff

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I did not have as much of a problem with them eating my crawlers on my lindy rigs last summer either! Maybe they are finally getting thinned out by the fish and other predators!

Cliff

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It's definitely a possibility that the rustys' predators are gaining an upper hand. Another piece of the puzzle could be that they are entering a normal ecological cycle, meaning that they have moved out of the growth stage where the population keeps expanding. At some point they hit that equilibrium point where they run out of food/resources and the population begins a more normal cycle of peaks and valleys. They may have eaten so much of the cabbage that the population couldn't be sustained, and now is leveling out.

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Count walleyes as the rusty’s predator.  Saw times last summer when every walleye we caught was burping up crayfish just like smallmouth do - and this in an area absolutely infested with 4” perch at the time. Seemed super strange, but they must have been specifically targeting them to the exclusion of what we’d consider their normal diet. 

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4 hours ago, BrianF said:

Count walleyes as the rusty’s predator.  Saw times last summer when every walleye we caught was burping up crayfish just like smallmouth do - and this in an area absolutely infested with 4” perch at the time. Seemed super strange, but they must have been specifically targeting them to the exclusion of what we’d consider their normal diet. 

Walleye don't eat crayfish in general , EXCEPT , during the the summer crayfish shed there shell , its called there soft shell phase , and walleye will gorge out on these soft shell phase crayfish . They look weird in this phase , almost just like a shrimp. When there doing this molting , look under rocks , boulders in shallow shoreline areas and you can find these critters and grab them , but you must be quick , because they are quick to escape you , but you can then use them as baiit . Just stick one on a jig , throw it out there , and hold on .. if your seeing the Walleye burping up these soft shell crayfish , then that pretty much tells you when this phenomenon is happening , it's usually a fairly short window when this molting is happening .

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We have had several people roll by our dock saying they have been coming to Vermilion for decades and they remember when our bay was all weeds.  Now it is common travel for bass, northern and musky fisherman. We have eaten several batches of crayfish (not rusties) and have found our biggest competition to be a mink.  He will lay on the end of my dock, on his back, eating the mud bugs.  You can hear him crunching them 100 feet away.  Makes a huge mess.  We have also had otter, there is a family 5 that cruise the middle of the lake, come by from time to time.  They must eat those things by the bushel.  

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When I was up last Sept, mid day I saw a guy and his wife slow trolling Lindy rigs on the edge a large weedy bay.  There were 4 or 5 guys (incuding me) obviously fishing pike, in the area and this lone guy trolling around.  I wondered what he was doing until I saw him net a really nice walleye.  He was pretty stealth about it, got the fish right in the boat and out of site. LOL.  Saw his wife get one too. 

I also noticed a walleye and lots of smallies spitting up rusty crayfish.  The rustys are way more agressive that the crayfish I was used to growing up in OH.  I put down a minnow trap with a part of a hotdog in it and they were all over in just a couple hours.  The trap was full and there were crayfish all over the outside of the trap.  I kept a few small ones that I was going to use for bait.  I took off the pinchers and used one for a while, took it off and put it back in the livewell.  Later in the day I looked in the livewell and the other crayfish had devoured it.  Just a picked clean shell left.

Edited by tarpon6
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Tarpon6,

I tried the rusties for bait also when they first showed up in mass.

Did not catch anything on them even if I just used the tail section as bait!

Almost all the rusties that the walleyes I catch puke up are molting. If you get into an area that has molting rusties the walleyes that are feeding on them will hit anything that you get close to them!

Cliff

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Several years ago, we were camping at McKinley Park, and the swimming beach is crawling (literally) with crayfish. All the kids were catching them and having crayfish races. Anyway, all day long, loons were patrolling the water off in the distance. As evening progressed and all the swimmers head in, the loons swarmed the beach area in mass! Easy pickens for them. I would have to imagine walleyes and other fish would move in as well for an easy meal.

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22 hours ago, tarpon6 said:

When I was up last Sept, mid day I saw a guy and his wife slow trolling Lindy rigs on the edge a large weedy bay.  There were 4 or 5 guys (incuding me) obviously fishing pike, in the area and this lone guy trolling around.  I wondered what he was doing until I saw him net a really nice walleye.  He was pretty stealth about it, got the fish right in the boat and out of site. LOL.  Saw his wife get one too. 

I also noticed a walleye and lots of smallies spitting up rusty crayfish.  The rustys are way more agressive that the crayfish I was used to growing up in OH.  I put down a minnow trap with a part of a hotdog in it and they were all over in just a couple hours.  The trap was full and there were crayfish all over the outside of the trap.  I kept a few small ones that I was going to use for bait.  I took off the pinchers and used one for a while, took it off and put it back in the livewell.  Later in the day I looked in the livewell and the other crayfish had devoured it.  Just a picked clean shell left.

I have seen random walleye with crayfish in their bellies, but as Cliff says when the molt is on walleye target them.  Even so far as leaving their normal haunts for the crayfish basins.  Generally, we have to fish shallow rocky areas to catch good numbers of fish.  I hadn't learned that until recently.  Only lasts a week or so.  What kind of boat did you see last fall?

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There was a mink living under, (and inside), one of the fish houses close to mine this winter.

What a mess for that guy when he finally checked his house!!

I could see the mink's tracks around my house every morning but my hole liners kept it out of the house.

Cliff

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I had a great video of my daughter and a mink. It was playing around right in front of her on the ice and there was a large area of crayfish skeletons near the crack in the ice it was using.  It got corrupted in one of my software conversions and has been lost.  It was very otter like in its playfulness.   

 

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A few years ago we had a mink steal one of our crappies while we were ice fishing. It headed for shore with it but before it made it to shore an eagle hit it twice trying to steal the fish. The eagle must have only punched the mink with its feet because it did no more then roll the mink, which immediately grabbed the fish again and headed for shore! Made it too!:)

Before it stole the fish it was climbing into another guys minnow bucket and stealing his minnows! He had to put the top on the bucket before the bugger ate all of his bait!

Fun stuff to be a part of!

Cliff 

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