Great Lakes Angler Blog

Bass Tactics For Hot-Weather Walleyes

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Share |

Think hot weather and walleyes don’t mix? Think again. A walleye is cold-blooded. Like other fish, their metabolism rises along with the water temperature in summer, meaning they need to eat more, not less.

Conventional wisdom, all summer long, demands dragging leeches and minnows on Lindy rigs in deeper water for walleyes. Obviously, it works. Hundreds of thousands of walleye enthusiasts can’t be wrong, especially since it’s still working after half a century.

But the walleyes conventional anglers target are seldom the most active fish around. Hard to convince people of this, but active walleyes are not on bottom in deeper water. They suspend with the baitfish, or prowl around on shallow reefs, weedbeds, shorelines, and points. With years of practice, some walleye anglers have become experts at feeding line and timing hooksets for finicky fish that hold minnows by the tail and regularly drop baits at the least sign of pressure. The only way to become expert at it is by missing a few thousand fish.

Wouldn’t you rather find walleyes that try to rip the rod out of your hands? The three primary attractions for active walleyes in summer are weeds, rocks, and suspended baitfish. Bass tactics will put you on active fish quicker and put more of them in the boat faster this summer.

Bass-Tactic Walleyes

Active walleyes can be approached like bass. Put the trolling motor down at the bow and move quickly to cover those shallow-water spots, Few of the best walleye pros use bait between the beginning of July and the end of September. It’s not necessary. Walleyes in weeds rise right into the tops of cabbage, coontail, hydrilla, and milfoil, looking for small panfish, golden shiners, shad, and any other baitfish that swim by. Bait is a perpetual nuisance here, ripping free of hooks whenever a jig or lure needs to be popped off the weeds.

Almost any lure or package in the 3- to 5-inch range that can be worked between the weeds and the surface will take walleyes here. The crux is finding lures or speeds that touch the weeds without getting too involved. Rattle baits like the Cotton Cordell Super Spot and XCalibur Xr50, pitched on casting gear with 30-pound braid, are perfect because you can simply speed up or slow down as necessary to clip along through the weed tops. During warm, stable weather, walleyes crush rattle baits all through the day. No need to wait until evening.

Minnow-shaped cranks or stick baits are deadly for walleyes. Suspending baits are especially effective, using a basic pause-and-pull retrieve, but they often dig a little too deep to work over the tops of the weeds. Where weed tops are 5 feet or more below the surface, a Suspending Smithwick Rogue or XCalibur XEE4 EEratic Shad worked with the rod tip held low will whack a lot of fish. Where weeds are 4 feet below the surface, retrieve with the rod tip held high or go with a floater-diver like the Bomber Long A and work it slow. When a floating minnowbait makes contact with weeds, stop it, feed it a little slack and let it float up. Hard plastic baits like the Long A float up slow -- an enticing trigger for walleyes skulking around in nearby weed clumps.

Tackle should be fairly stout. Unlike fishing minnowbaits in open water, these baits need to be ripped free of weeds, and after a strike the challenge becomes turning a big walleye and moving it quickly toward the boat. Don’t offer any opportunities for a trophy to turn and burrow into the weeds. Medium-heavy spinning or casting rods coupled with 20- to 30-pound braided line accomplish it best. Braids won’t stretch, so the distance the rod tip moves is pretty much the same distance you move the fish.  Where the water is clear, tie on a 3- to 4-foot section of 12- to 17-pound fluorocarbon, using a small barrel swivel or back-to-back uni knots.

Plastic Tactics

Weeds are basically ambush stations for walleyes. When they set up along the deep weed edge (a strategy often employed where perch populations are dense), approach them with slightly lighter tackle and soft plastics on jigs. Soft swimbaits like the 3.5-inch YUM Money Minnow swimming slowly by on a horizontal plane near bottom brings walleyes ripping out of pockets in the weedline.

With the boat on the weed edge, make short pitches parallel to the weeds in the direction you’re moving and let the bait hit bottom. The right retrieve speed is critical, and tends to be easiest to achieve with a ¼-ounce jighead. After selecting the right head, speed becomes a matter of keeping it near bottom without dragging. If it drags, speed up. If it never touches bottom, slow down. This is a trophy-walleye tactic that will entice more than a few largemouth or smallmouth bass hanging around in the same areas doing the same thing. Be sure to fan cast a little toward deeper water and try walking the baits over the tops and down the deep edge of the weeds, too. The right tackle for a light swimbait like this is 10-pound mono on a fast, medium-power spinning rod.

A similar tactic with slightly lighter tackle absolutely smokes walleyes throughout the open-water season around rock reefs, rip-rap, and rocky shorelines. From spring through ice-up, in areas 8-feet deep or less, try pitching an auger-tail grub, like the YUM Walleye Grub, on a 3/32- to 1/8-ounce head with 6-pound mono. The optimum gear includes a fast, 7-foot, medium-light spinning rod. Just cast to the deep side of boulders, rock piles, or rip-rap, let the jig fall to bottom (or count it down to a spot near bottom where it’s really snaggy) and slowly retrieve with the rod tip held low. Don’t jig it, snap it or rip it. Just reel.

Hard baits, plastics, and bass tactics score massive numbers and trophies from mid summer though early fall, especially during stable-weather periods. Unconventional behavior can be disturbing, though. If it sounds too radical to have a walleye rip the rod out of your hands, don’t try any of this.


GlAngler Subscription

Recent Posts



Tags

Goby Innovative Outdoors Conservation Boating safety Marine NewsWire Stabenow GPS for Lightning Connector IGFA Turning Point Props Tools Ultimate Flannel Shirts Church Tackle Tournament Headgear Berkley Princecraft Boat US Swedish FireKnife Rippin Lips Todd Sokolow Shoremaster 360 Jonathon VanDam Green Bay Gravity Hobie Pro Angler mudsnail Frigibar Bad Elf Boat lifts McMurdo Michigan City, Indiana Jeff Gustafson Rippin' Lips Gear Evolve Whistler Spoon Slide Moor Sun protection Multitools Mack's Lure LCWCC Kayaks Forage Minnow Iaconelli Bass ShowSpan Macho Minnow jigs Fish Hawk XD4 WileyX Ranger Aluminum Deep V Series treestand injury Tackle Bag Raritan InvisaSnap Topwater iPad Navigation PLB Dave Genz On board ATV RAT FINKEE Honda Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo Autotether Wisconsin Davis Instruments tackle storage Rubrail Kayak Electronics Whale Pumps EVOLVE FISHING CO Asian carp Boating Sport Shows boat rental Costa Tides Side Imaging Michigan DNR Cabela's AmVets Ethanol Muskie Lure Insect repellent Bristol Bay Sportsman's rights Weather Buoy tree stand injury Sphaera Aqua Vu WFN Synergy Outdoors Triton Boats Balog Acme www.bigweeniebrand.com Walleyes Ranger Wildlife Forever Smartfind S20 Personal AIS Beacon CLASSIC Baitcast Fishing Pole BBQ Lighter Betsy Bibs Bass lure Gill NA ABT Trout Unlimited Bheestie Bag Muscle Squared 65 Aqualuma Port of Indiana Dave Mull Rugged Shark Video New Lures Serious Shine Swim bait Tyee Andrew Semprevivo Moisture Muncher Crankbait Net Husky Jerk Mosquito repellent Kill switch OHIO EZ BoatPort Ryan Kleckner Marine Radio Games USCG marlin Sharpeners Whale Snow-Shoe Tip-Up Yamaha ATV Plano Tackle Boxes Vick Dave Mull Blog Costa Sunglasses Kevin VanDam Rescue Beckson Safe boating dock lines Telescoping JIggler Long Rod Fort Wayne, Indiana Wind Power yachtpaint.com BASSMASTER Soft Jigwobbler Gary Giudice Team Aqua-Vu iPhone BOLT Padlock Audio Youth Safety Footwear Yamaha Rovermax LR 100 Manistee Accessories Practical Sailor Izaak Walton League St. Croix Rods Aqua-Vu Swim Whizz Launch ramp Smart Guide to Freshwater Fishing SeaLife Cameras NAIFC Championship Steve Wood Lead USCGA Walleye tournament Lowrance Tip-Up Airmar Ranger Boats ABT X-2 Countdown binoculars Lake Huron spinning rod Onyx Bass Pro Hunting LakeMaster Western States Version LineSnubber Ranger VS1780 Scott Martin Martin-Flory Seakeeper gyro Fish America Foundation Chronglobal New Zealand Lures Hamlin Flat Slider 75 Bro Brosdahl PulseTech VMC Hobie Promise Keeper BoatUS Alabama Rig Venice, Louisiana Faria News Alaskan Smart Guide Publications Brite Wash Power Trade Shows Keep Kool Foul weather gear Ascend Clam blue marlin Size limits Lake Assault Technology Nautical Ditty bag Indiana DNR YUMphibian Lighting Legend Gold cruzin Traditions PRADCO Spencer Yachts Ryan Wilson DSC spoon Grady-White Bethel University Mike Seymour Matt Straw Strike King Orca Fin System Radio Catfish EZ Splice Fasteners great lakes Shurhold Fuel BASSMASTER CLASSIC Spreads splice Lake Ontario iPilot Humminbird SOG Jack Links Bristol Bay Salmon Skarlis Buff Barry Brown Marine Oakley Sunglasses USSA Lund Ravenswood Media Custom Jigs & Spins Pharmaceuticals Minn Kota Gary Dollahon Downriggers Prosepec Electronics South Haven Traxstech LOTSA STRATTEC B.A.S.S. Torpedo Divers clubs Tournament Grade Circle Hooks Jeff Wenzel Storage Dunkirk, NY redfish Invasive species Jerky Bob Schmidt HELLA Michigan John E. Phillips Catch & Cook Delorme Quantum ice fishing, Bro Show, Traditions Media Lake trout Marine Speakers Lights Volvo Penta Evinrude Chargers Rods Tom Neustrom Z-Man Brown trout Owners tournament South Haven, Michigan Kindle book WeatherStation Skamania Mania JVD Plano Knives Deep Sea Diver Sunglasses Thermacell AKOYA News/Social Big Bear Products Boat Covers CMP Global Green Bay, Wisconsin Contaminants Normark Ice Fishing Rushton Gregory Accon Marine Clay Dyer Grunden's LineGrabber Salmon Unlimited of Illinois Marine Lighting Ice Features Bait Holder Bug bite relief ASA Records Tim Popfinger University of Buffalo Lake Superior Chicago barrier Bass Pro Shops Lock Apps MATE USA Reese Knife sharpening Mustad Niagara Falls Rain gear Interlux F-Series Storm Gear Fiberglass tiller FRIDAY FUNNIES Ultracoat Optima Titan Chain Boats The Harry Lure Home Port Marine Marketing One-Handle-Does-It-All System Salmon Speakers Rough Weather Tournaments Costa Del Mar DuraSafe Shipping Extended Warranty Reef Runner Brandon Newby Shelter Great Lakes Troller Boat maintenance New York Soo Locks Line Aquatic AV Scholarship Silver Horde Tommy Skarlis Corey Schmidt Chaco Traditions Media Insurance Global Spectrum Monel Metal Air show Matt Serbenski Larson Electronics Oshkosh The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls Gull Lake Marine Jeff's Tackle Shop Camera mount EZ Dock Gene Larew MUSHING exotic invader Cliff Pace Radial Northland Swanson-Russell Marcum Olcott, NY Angler 175T Wedding Ring Aluminum Deep V Series Bait head Mark Chmura CUSTOM JIGS 'N' SPINS Black Earth Creek Coast Guard Soul5 Tackle Labs Angler Hevi-Beads Gunnison, CO Sunstream Boat Lifts Bass Pro Shops Four-Person Dome Tent with Screen Porch exotic species Glacier Glove Bait Rigs Dogs Walleye Lake Michigan Multi-species Rapala Holland RedHead YUM Wounded Warriors Fishing Clubs Odd'ball Fin Spin Brian Brosdahl Pro Polish Batteries Mag Light Mark Zona USO eZSplice Bug repellent Tight Lines Jewelry iPilot Link weather Northwest Indiana Steelheaders Marsh Madness Uncle Norm's Blue Collar Outdoors KVD Wake Fishing Cannon U.S.S.A. Lake Erie Okuma Rain suit hardbaits Shoes Bass Pro Shops Gift Card St. Croix JBL NMEA Magnum Flow-Troll Ditch Contest Endura River Fishing Streams Shock Wave ODNR Patrick Hurst Fiberglass boat BoatUS Angler Alaska Milennia MIL-iDock GPS Speedometer jeffstackleshop.com Mack's Lures Tracker Marine Chatterbait inReach FLW Wild River series Lakemaster Army Corp of Engineers Glorvigen Fishing Frabill DuraSafe Electronics Lock Up Stream Hydration Back Pack Line Recycle Bin Oculus spreader light National Guard

Archive