Msg 1 Posted: 10:49 AM 06/19/06 (CST)
By Charles 'Turk' Gierke Contributing Writer |
Wednesday, June 14, 2006 12:31 PM EDT
Once the summer breeze rolls into the great northwoods, the walleyes move out of the springtime shallows, and the easy days of catching white-tips end. Summertime walleyes are on the move, and it's time to get after them.
There are many ways to find walleyes in the summer. Above all is time on the water. Everyone knows that truth and agrees 'practice makes perfect.' Condensing my time on the water for you, I've assembled 10 ways to help anglers locate walleyes faster.
1. Play the wind - As cliché as it sounds, the phrase pays in walleyes. The 'eyes love the wind. The wind-side shoreline of a lake has muddied water that reduces light, and also attracts opportunistic baitfish. Combine the reduced light and baitfish, and you know the rest.
2. Troll - You can't argue with this search and destroy tactic, either troll spinners or cranks. Either on home or new waters, cover ground on prime locations to find active walleyes for that day.
3. Follow seasonal depth patterns - Walleyes locate shallow in the spring and deep in the fall, usually no matter where you are. This tip is a basic principle to walleye fishing. Step one is putting together a plan of attack.
4. Research the lake - This tip reveals tactics that are 'go to' on the particular body of water you are new to or learning. Talking to a true expert will reveal the depth to fish at that particular time of day, and more importantly provide a background to give you confidence that your presentation catches walleyes.
One cannot overstate the confidence factor. Without confidence on a new body of water, either lake or river, doubt can set in. 'Is this really the right lure/presentation?' When doubting presentation, an angler concentrates less on location/depth and fishes fewer new areas.
5. Understand the lakes/rivers water clarity - This is not only a river fishing must, but every angler really should be aware of the lakes Secchi disk reading. A Secchi disk reading normally ranges from 4 to 14 feet of water.
A reading of only a few feet means the water is very stained and a reading in the teens means the lake is clear. I have found that stained water lake walleyes hit well from 9 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m. (similar to the St. Croix River).
In the clear lakes it's a dawn, dusk, or night-bite period. River clarity is a whole different ball of wax, because you need to know the starting point or where the clarity determines fish location. River fish will locate shallower as the water darkens and move deeper as it clears.
6. Use a quick-changing livebait slip weight system - Many rig set ups exists. Make sure you can go from a 1/8-ounce to 1/4-ounce quickly and easily so you don't hesitate to search different depths on a particular piece of structure. I get lazy, too, but my set-up for rigging is quickly changeable; so I change depths readily.
7. Bring as many anglers as possible - As a border water river angler, I have learned the power of two lines (legally I can fish two lines), and four are better than two. Load up the boat, and like the tentacles of an octopus, he - who has the most anglers - will grope and feel the bottom to a thorough survey of the area. Plus the gang won't let you wimp out on the search!
8. Cover multiple depths - Before fishing a 'good spot' be determined to cover at least two different depths, if not three, before you move. Also of utmost importance to remember is the sad fact about fishing. You can leave the spot you just checked, and in 10 minutes that spot can go bananas for walleye. Yes luck is still a big part of fishing.
9. Know where you are on the structure - If you can't replay the last event, unfortunately it's luck. The second a fish is caught you need to get a depth mark (note the depth) from the graph, and better yet a shoreline reference, just as you mark a downed rooster pheasant while hunting. These days the real work is taken out of this lost art, and it's now called a GPS waypoint.
10. Put in two or three days of straight fishing - Consecutive days on the water really bring together the clues where the 'eyes are.It takes time, but a systematic checking of the lake, after studying the map, will sooner rather than later bring all the pieces together to a worthy hunt of the famed walleye.
Editor's note: The author operates Croixsippi Fishing Guide Service, and can be reached through www.croixsippi.com.
IF IT'S WET...IT'S CATCH'N FISH