Walleye can be elusive as summer wanesPublished 5:24am Thursday, June 6, 2013
Finding and catching summer walleye can be a challenge. Though walleye are typically feeding during summer, lakes are often full of “walleye food” now.
For that reason, I often prefer to troll crankbaits. Crankbaits produce action, sound, and vibration, a combination good for triggering bites. Not only are they good for triggering “reaction” bites, but crankbaits also fish quickly meaning anglers can use them to cover lots of water.
Crankbait trolling for walleye can be a high tech process using line counting reels, planer boards, and the like.
For me, however, I prefer to keep my trolling simpler by “long lining” mid-depth diving baits across shallow to mid-depth flats in the 6-to-12-foot depth ranges.
Large, expansive flats in these depths will often host active walleye, especially during windy, overcast conditions.
Lots of anglers use lining counting reels for this style of fishing, choosing baits that dive to these depths with around 100 feet of line out behind the boat.
I use some line counters, but have found that using a baitcasting reel and “counting the passes” when the line is let out allows me to duplicate productive bait diving depths as well.
For example, if I my bait ticks bottom with 16-reel passes of line let out, I can adjust by letting 15-passes out.
Or, if I catch a fish with 15-passes of line out, I know to duplicate that presentation.
When summer walleye are my trolling targets, I often select perch-imitating crankbaits.
Perch are a common summer forage for walleye in lots of lakes and crankbaits that mimic them do a great job producing summer walleye.
Two other keys to summer trolling success are line choice and trolling speed. Long line trolling often works well on 10-pound monofilament line as the baits reach close to their maximum diving depths on lines in that range.
Also, 1.5 mph to 2.5 mph is usually a productive trolling speed.
Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide. Visit his website at www.fishinwithfrisch.com