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Big Tube Jigs For Autumn Pike

# 1 choice of lure for Lahrman Group 6/2013

Wawang Lake is the # 1 choice for the Lahrman Group – Chicago (area), IL

There are few a shorter days and cooling water are signals to northern pike that autumn has arrived. During fall, these sleek predators will feed heartily to pack on energy reserves to help them etter ways to catch pike in cold water than using big profile jigs, and giant tubes are particularly productive baits.

Pike Locations From Early Fall To Ice Up
Fall is very much a time of transition. At the start of autumn, pike will still relate to healthy weeds, but as shallow plants die look for northern in deeper vegetation zones. Tributaries and the mouths of feeder streams on rivers are also good late-season spots as baitfish stage in these areas. Sharp breaks where walleyes hold will also attract pike, which will eat walleyes any chance they get. Rock-gravel reefs and points adjacent to deep water are good whitefish and cisco (lake herring) spawning grounds. These two prey species spawn between October and November, so these structures make prime late-fall pike spots.Current areas also attract pike year-round. As an example, on lakes the narrows between shore and an island often has wind-induced current traveling through it. This pushes in baitfish and pike follow.   Northern wait in ambush in current breaks, such as eddies, outwash holes, and deep pools.

An autumn-sized bait. Pictured here is WaterWolf Lures's 7-inch Gator Tube with a 9/0, 1-ounce jig head.

An autumn-sized bait. Pictured here is WaterWolf Lures’s 7-inch Gator Tube with a 9/0, 1-ounce jig head.

Basic Tube Jigs Tips
Big tube jigs between 5- and 7 inches are a supreme autumn bait. The bait’s thickness also appeals to northern stocking up on calories. When pike are sluggish as a result of cold water these baits also have just enough action to get fish interested. Their multi-filament appendages wave at the slightest movement and are deadly at triggering bites when pike are sluggish. Tubes are outstanding lures to work on swimming retrieves. Pumping the rod tip during the retrieve will add either a side-to-side twitch or an up-and-down bob to the tube depending on its rigging.

When fishing tubes near the bottom, be alert and keep a feel on the bait at all times as it sinks. Tubes fall in a shimmy or a spiral that imitates a dying fish and pike often strike during the initial drop. Once on the bottom, you can use either a lazy, lift-drop swim or a drag-pause retrieve.

Hooking Followers Fall fish can be lazy and follows are common. The best scenario is spotting an aggressive fish a distance from the boat. In this case, try speeding up the retrieve or adding some snaps. This imitates escape-moves and sometimes triggers bites. If the fish appears lazy, slow the retrieve slightly. If working the bait along the bottom, add pauses or experiment with the length of drags. Slow twitches that impart an escape-like dart to tubes can also evoke strikes. If you spot a following pike close to the boat while your jig is traveling upwards, letting out line so the jig falls is your best option.

Tackle useTips Rig tube jigs using a long-shank jig head. Large baits featuring a wide body cavity will accommodate a range of jig-head styles. Also, adding a stinger treble hook on a wire leader to large 7-inch tubes can help with hook-up rates when pike bite short.

pikeBig tubes demand heavy gear.  Use heavy-power bait cast outfits. For deep-water applications, use rods at least 7 feet, and most preferred is a 7-1/2’ for better line control when drifting and moving line for deep-water hook sets.

This autumn try casting tube jigs around deep weed edges and rocky structures. This non-traditional tactic is a great way to boat bragging-size northern pike.

 

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WALLEYE PATTERNS

 

26 (4)To become an accomplished walleye angler, the first step is to understand the walleye behavior and seasonal movements in order to shorten the learning curve of where the walleyes will be. Take into consideration all factors, including type of water, weather conditions, time of year, water temperature, wind speed and direction, and time of day. Then choose the appropriate presentation suited to the habitat of feeding walleye. This is the process of developing a pattern, if the presentation you choose is not working but your marking fish on your graph or LCD try something different versus moving to another spot. Usually subtle changes in the presentation will make a big difference, suggestions such as down-sizing minnows or switching from a minnow to a leech, or a slip bobber to a jig and minnow, which allows the bait to hang in the feeding zone, all can change your success.

The topics listed below will help you understand many of the situations you may encounter when fishing for the elusive walleye.

Pre Spawn & Spawning Walleyes:

Almost all Ontario inland waters are closed for the walleye spawning season with the exception of some rivers systems. During this period fishing for walleyes can be the best or worst with the critical factor being the weather. Stable weather for a few days with any increase in water temperature, even a degree or two, can trigger active walleyes to bite. But if a cold front moves in dropping the water temperature this will have the opposite effect and shut down the bite. If you’re walleye fishing during the spring season your best bet is in the afternoon when the water temperature is at the highest point for the day.

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In the early period of the spawn walleyes will stage off spawning areas in deeper water (15 feet plus), and because of the cold temperatures will not be aggressively feeding. You can still catch them by using slow vertical presentations such as jig and minnow or a vibrating blade lure, the key again is very slow and vertical. Later in the spawning period they will move more actively towards the shallow gravel areas, if the water is muddy or dark they can be in water as shallow as 2-3 feet even during the day. For very shallow water try using a 1/32 oz jig tipped with a small fathead minnow or a number 5 floating Rapala.  For best results these presentations should be twitched or retrieved slowly.  Little Joe spinner rigs very well too with a minnow or leech.

During the pre-spawn and spawn your will catch will be mostly all small males, the big females will not bite once they start to spawn but all of them do not spawn at once. Those that have not started to spawn can still be caught, but as the spawning period progresses fishing for females is a waste of time. However, females that have spawned early will recover and begin to feed. Each body of water system has different spawning cycles, stream based walleye spawn first then shoreline and finally shallow reef walleyes spawn last. Knowing this will allow early season walleye anglers to move to different areas or a new lake where the timing of the spawn has not occurred, completed or is in the process.

Spawning Temperatures:

The spawning migration of walleye begins soon after the ice goes out, at water temperatures of 38-44ºF, ordinarily peaking when water temperatures reach 42-50ºF.

Walleye in Weeds:

Normally when you think of fishing for walleye it’s associated with deep water, rock piles and humps that walleyes prefer with hard clean bottom structure. But the few anglers that fish weeds for walleyes know how much time walleyes spend in and around the edges of weed beds.

Walleye will move into the weeds seeking baitfish that use the protection of cover. They also use weeds for shade and cooler temperatures instead of deeper water. The best weeds are submerging broadleaf types such as cabbage next to or in deeper water, than emergent (cattails, bulrushes) or floating (lily pads) that live in very shallow water.

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You can catch walleye in weeds almost any time of the year but weed fishing is best during the summer and into fall once the weeds are established. Fishing for walleye along the weed edge is easy, use a slip sinker rig with a weed less hook or a weed less jig tipped with a minnow, leech or a piece of night crawler keeping it as close as possible to the weed edge. But when walleyes are actually in the weeds or suspended above, use a slip bobber rig or weed less jig in 1/8 to 3/8 oz. by twitching it through the weeds.  Other tactics are 1/8 oz. spinner baits cast into weed pockets and allowing it to helicopter down before retrieving, if the weeds don’t grow to the surface try a shallow running crank bait twitching the lure just above the weed tops.

Walleye on Rocks:

Most wildlife artists that paint walleye portraits will have them displayed over rocks and boulders. The main reason being this one the best places to consistently find walleyes, it is also one of the most difficult lake bottoms to fish especially when using live bait rigs or jigs. Here are some suggestions to catch more walleyes when you find that hot rock pile, mid-lake hump, or rocky point.

  • Bottom Bouncing Artificial Lures:

Deep diving floating crank baits, select a crank bait that will run just off the bottom or bump the rocks, if the lure should get hung up let the line go limp, it should float up.

  • Suspend your Live Bait:

Use a slip bobber rig and position the bait just to hang above the rocks

  • Float your Live Bait:

Use a floating jig head, for night crawlers inject a shot of air from a crawler inflator for slip sinker weights try a No Snag tube weight instead of an egg or walking sinker.

  • Trolling with Sliding Sinker Live Bait Rig:

Keep your line as vertical as possible, by adding weight to this set-up you reduce the angle of your line and therefore reduce your chances to get hung up.

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Swimbaits for Walleye

sbIf you’re looking to land big walleye and prefer casting over trolling, swimbaits are one of the best baits going to accomplish this goal. When other anglers are working small, twister tail jigs with a vertical finesse approach, casting a swimbait can boat you plenty of fish. This season give yourself an advantage, integrating swimbaits into your walleye repertoire. Here’s what you need to know about these productive baits.

There are two main varieties of swimbaits popular with walleye anglers. One style is unrigged bodies teamed with darter, bullet or shad style jig heads anywhere from ¼- to ½-ounces. Examples include Berkley’s PowerBait Hand Pour Swim Shad, YUM’s G-Shad or Samurai Shad, Mister Twister Sassy Shad, and Northland’s Mimic Minnow Shad. For the best action these baits must be rigged straight. Adding a drop of soft-bait glue to the head of the bait before pushing the plastic tight to the jig head keeps bodies properly rigged, even after landing a few fish.

Another type of swimbait style doesn’t require rigging. They feature soft-plastic bodies poured around an internal lead head and hook. Examples include Storm’s WildEye Swim Shad, YUM’s Sweet Cheeks, Northland’s Slurpies Swim Shad, and Berkley’s PowerBait Swim Bait. These style of swimbaits come pre-rigged in packs. Simply tie them on and start fishing.

The Anatomy of a Swimbait
Typical swimbaits for walleye range in size from three to six inches. Compared to thin twister tail grubs, swimbaits provide a more robust profile resembling a hearty meal as opposed to a small morsel. From head to tail, swimbaits offer a level of realism few baits can duplicate. Even the most natural paint job on a crankbait can’t hide the fact it’s a hard-bait; swimbaits squish in a walleye’s mouth like a soft candy. Many are often juiced up with fish attractant or scent, encouraging fish to hold on once they grab a bait. The natural colour patterns on swimbaits help anglers “match the hatch”, which is important in clear water systems. Bright colour patterns are available as well for turbid water or during low-light conditions. Internal holographic materials are standard in many swimbaits, producing an iridescent lustre for added attraction.
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Tempting Tails

Paddletails are predominant on swimbaits. During retrieves these wide appendages wobble, moving water and putting out plenty of vibrations. The flat sides reflect light as the tail wiggles, mimicking the flicker from swimming baitfish. Regardless of the speed, paddletails add a no-nonsense walleye-attracting action to swimbaits. Curly or flat, tapered tails are the other options available on baits. Their design delivers a tighter, seductive saunter to baits in comparison to paddletails.

Fish Them on Flats
Although there are no wrong places to cast swimbaits, there are spots where they are more effective than others. Flats are one such area. Swimbaits excel at covering water when searching for walleyes. This makes them a prime bait for flats whether comprised of rocks, sand, or mud. I often use a 3/8-ounce swimbait with a casting outfit spooled with 30-pound test superline on flats. The rod’s power lets me cast them a considerable distance to cover large flats without getting fatigued.

 

Work them in Weeds
Walleye relate to weeds for shade, but more importantly they’re there for food. Whether ambushing perch or gorging on various aquatic insects, walleye are often willing to bite when you find them in weeds. The up-facing hook on swimbaits makes them ideal for skimming over the top of weeds.

25.5

You also can’t go wrong casting a swimbait along the edge of a weedline near a drop off. Concentrate on the edge but make occasional tosses to deeper water. Use the castability of the bait to your advantage and work the entire area until you start contacting fish. Walleye may be in the weeds, but they may also be hanging off the break waiting to invade the underwater forest come dusk. Be on the look out for bays, points, cuts, and old stream beds. These ones concentrate walleye and serve as route ways for their daily migrations.

Don’t Overlook the Classics
Although flats and weed areas are two top spots to cast swimbaits, there are many other classic walleye areas where these baits produce fish. In essence, anywhere you’d consider working a jig and grub can be dynamite for swimbaits. Rocky structures such as reefs, humps and points are prime locations. In most instances reeling baits in a foot or so off bottom will catch fish on these zones. Yet, like weed edges, make occasional casts to the surrounding deeper water.

Swimbaits are taking the angling world by storm for a variety of species. If your walleye tackle box doesn’t have a space reserved for swimbaits, you’re missing out on an effective presentation. Give swimbaits a dip this season and put more head-turning walleye in your boat.

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WALLEYE PATTERNS

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To become an accomplished walleye angler, the first step is to understand the walleye behavior and seasonal movements in order to shorten the learning curve of where the walleyes will be. Take into consideration all factors, including type of water, weather conditions, time of year, water temperature, wind speed and direction, and time of day. Then choose the appropriate presentation suited to the habitat of feeding walleye. This is the process of developing a pattern, if the presentation you choose is not working but your marking fish on your graph or LCD try something different versus moving to another spot. Usually subtle changes in the presentation will make a big difference, suggestions such as down-sizing minnows or switching from a minnow to a leech, or a slip bobber to a jig and minnow, which allows the bait to hang in the feeding zone, all can change your success.

The topics listed below will help you understand many of the situations you may encounter when fishing for the elusive walleye.

Pre Spawn & Spawning Walleyes:

Almost all Ontario inland waters are closed for the walleye spawning season with the exception of some rivers systems. During this period fishing for walleyes can be the best or worst with the critical factor being the weather. Stable weather for a few days with any increase in water temperature, even a degree or two, can trigger active walleyes to bite. But if a cold front moves in dropping the water temperature this will have the opposite effect and shut down the bite. If you’re walleye fishing during the spring season your best bet is in the afternoon when the water temperature is at the highest point for the day.

25"

Kevin Makinster – Marion, IA 25″ walleye (great fishing at Wawang Lake)

In the early period of the spawn walleyes will stage off spawning areas in deeper water (15 feet plus), and because of the cold temperatures will not be aggressively feeding. You can still catch them by using slow vertical presentations such as jig and minnow or a vibrating blade lure, the key again is very slow and vertical. Later in the spawning period they will move more actively towards the shallow gravel areas, if the water is muddy or dark they can be in water as shallow as 2-3 feet even during the day. For very shallow water try using a 1/32 oz jig tipped with a small fathead minnow or a number 5 floating Rapala.  For best results these presentations should be twitched or retrieved slowly.  Little Joe spinner rigs very well too with a minnow or leech.

During the pre-spawn and spawn your will catch will be mostly all small males, the big females will not bite once they start to spawn but all of them do not spawn at once. Those that have not started to spawn can still be caught, but as the spawning period progresses fishing for females is a waste of time. However, females that have spawned early will recover and begin to feed. Each body of water system has different spawning cycles, stream based walleye spawn first then shoreline and finally shallow reef walleyes spawn last. Knowing this will allow early season walleye anglers to move to different areas or a new lake where the timing of the spawn has not occurred, completed or is in the process.

Spawning Temperatures:

The spawning migration of walleye begins soon after the ice goes out, at water temperatures of 38-44ºF, ordinarily peaking when water temperatures reach 42-50ºF.

Walleye in Weeds:

Normally when you think of fishing for walleye it’s associated with deep water, rock piles and humps that walleyes prefer with hard clean bottom structure. But the few anglers that fish weeds for walleyes know how much time walleyes spend in and around the edges of weed beds.

Walleye will move into the weeds seeking baitfish that use the protection of cover. They also use weeds for shade and cooler temperatures instead of deeper water. The best weeds are submerging broadleaf types such as cabbage next to or in deeper water, than emergent (cattails, bulrushes) or floating (lily pads) that live in very shallow water.

You can catch walleye in weeds almost any time of the year but weed fishing is best during the summer and into fall once the weeds are established. Fishing for walleye along the weed edge is easy, use a slip sinker rig with a weed less hook or a weed less jig tipped with a minnow, leech or a piece of night crawler keeping it as close as possible to the weed edge. But when walleyes are actually in the weeds or suspended above, use a slip bobber rig or weed less jig in 1/8 to 3/8 oz. by twitching it through the weeds.  Other tactics are 1/8 oz. spinner baits cast into weed pockets and allowing it to helicopter down before retrieving, if the weeds don’t grow to the surface try a shallow running crank bait twitching the lure just above the weed tops.

Walleye on Rocks:

Most wildlife artists that paint walleye portraits will have them displayed over rocks and boulders. The main reason being this one the best places to consistently find walleyes, it is also one of the most difficult lake bottoms to fish especially when using live bait rigs or jigs. Here are some suggestions to catch more walleyes when you find that hot rock pile, mid-lake hump, or rocky point.

  • Bottom Bouncing Artificial Lures:

Deep diving floating crank baits, select a crank bait that will run just off the bottom or bump the rocks, if the lure should get hung up let the line go limp, it should float up.

  • Suspend your Live Bait:

Use a slip bobber rig and position the bait just to hang above the rocks

  • Float your Live Bait:

Use a floating jig head, for night crawlers inject a shot of air from a crawler inflator for slip sinker weights try a No Snag tube weight instead of an egg or walking sinker.

  • Trolling with Sliding Sinker Live Bait Rig:

Keep your line as vertical as possible, by adding weight to this set-up you reduce the angle of your line and therefore reduce your chances to get hung up.

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Northern Pike Handling, Filleting & Take the ‘Y’ Bones Out

When it comes to caring for Pike that you plan to use at home, the first and probably most important step in assuring a quality meal is to keep the fish fresh prior to cleaning.   Compared to other popular game fish, the flesh of Northern Pike is among the most likely to deteriorate if care is not taken to keep the fish fresh right up to the cleaning table.   When you plan to save some for the table, one great approach is to wait until later in your fishing trip before you start saving fish to take home.

northern_catch
After filleting it’s best to freeze your filets properly for transportation back home from the lodge.  All your hard work out on the lake could be confiscated by a game warden for the following reasons:

  • frozen in one big blob is considered ‘unidentifiable’
  • failure to keep one square inch patch of skin on the filet
  • packaged improperly (the correct procedure is one fish per package, layed out flat – side by side)

Keeping fish frozen during your stay allows for easy transportation all the way home.  Frozen fish takes the place of ice, however, midway you may want to check the cooler to inspect your filets and add fish accordingly as this could  make a difference at the dinner table.

Another key factor in preparing gourmet meals using Northern Pike is to avoid saving Pike in the freezer for periods of time.  Pike flesh contains a particular Amino Acid that breaks down fairly quickly while fish are stored in the freezer too long. So even if you’ve taken great care to keep the fish fresh up to this point, you could be disappointed when you pull out a package of fish that you’ve been saving for that special occasion.  Because Pike are not well suited for long-term storage, at the simple rule of thumb is Pike are to be eaten within a couple of weeks. 

Removing the “Y” bones from Pike fillets is part of the mystery that has kept lots of otherwise willing anglers away from using these fish in recipes and removing these small bones is really easy! Even the smallest Pike can be easily de-boned by anyone who can fillet a Walleye or most any other fish. In fact, even the term “Y” bone is a misnomer because this so called “Y” bone really isn’t much different than the strip of bones that you’d remove from a Walleye or any other fish caught in our waters. It just happens to be sandwiched into the grain of the fillet where it is protected from “frying out”. 

This is one of those times when it would be easier to do the job than it is to describe how to do it, but look at the picture of the finished fillets and you’ll get a good idea of how to follow these instructions.

npBegin by filleting the fish and removing the rib bones as you would a Walleye or most other freshwater fish. Once you have taken the fillet, study it for a minute. Take a look at the centerline that divides the fillet horizontally and notice the row of light bones visible halfway between this centerline and the top (fishes back) of the fillet. You will be making one cut on each side of this row of bones. You’ll also see that the flesh has a “grain” much like the grain of a nice oak board. The “Y” bones run with this grain and you can use this grain as a directional guide when making your cuts.

COMPLETE DIAGRAM BELOW:

Cut 1:
Start by making a cut just above this row of bones that you can see (and feel). This first cut will be shallow (about ¼ inch) and it is perpendicular to the fillet. This simple, straight cut is used mostly as an access cut to get your knife into position for the next step. Using the tip of your fillet knife, you’ll be able to feel the edge of your knife contact the bones at the inside corner of this “L”  where the bones turn toward the top of the fillet. When you feel the knife contacting those bones, take care not to cut through them.

Cut 2:
Turn the edge of your knife toward the top of the fillet at about a 45-degree angle and follow this edge. You’ll be able to see the bones as you gently slip your knife-edge along this edge. Stop the cut before you reach the top edge of the fillet.

Cut 3:
This is the finishing touch. Start this cut below the row of bones on the side nearest the centerline and simply follow the same angle that you used to make cut 2. As the edge of your knife moves toward the top of the fillet, you’ll begin to feel this strip of bones peeling away from the rest of the fillet. Trim along these edges as needed to remove the strip and voila, you’re finished.

ybone


So There you have it, all you need is a little faith in yourself, a fairly good fillet knife and a little practice. You will soon learn that there is really no trick at all and before long your family and friends will be standing in line at dinner time waiting to sample your newest Pike recipe.

ENJOY YOUR NEXT FEED OF PIKE!

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Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Fishing, Northern Pike, pike

 

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Walleye and Bobbers

Across Ontario, the popularity of fishing for walleye rates hands-down as the most sought after and favorite game fish. The techniques for catching these critters may be well-known and elementary, and include the ever popular jigging, trolling and bottom bouncing.  But how many anglers routinely pack floats, split shot and live bait, searching out precise structure to drift their offerings across? Certainly the minority, but hopefully more will come on board after recognizing the success this technique can bring.

The Basics of Bobbering
We all received our start in fishing courtesy of a bobber. The days were simple back then, but the set up always caught fish. Times have changed, and the use of slip-bobbers (or floats) has put a new twist in the live bait game, and the fish-catching powers certainly have continued and increased.

Sliding Slip Bobber RigUtilizing a float and live bait allows an angler to present their morsel of food to walleye at the precise depth that fish may be found. For the most part, the desired depth would be just off bottom – a favorite hangout for these structure hugging fish.

Slip floats are designed to move freely up and down your line, as the chamber of the float is hollow. By threading your line through the float itself, it is simply a matter of attaching a live bait hook, as well as split shot above the metal to weight your presentation down. A bobber stop is then placed above your float at the desired depth you wish to target. These bobber stops (whether they be small rubber pellets or vinyl tie knots) will pass easily through your line guides and onto your reel itself. Therefore, casting “normally” – without twenty-feet of line hanging from your rod tip – can easily be achieved.

A bobber stop should slide easily up and down your line, but should stay set at the desired depth you wish to fish. Many bobber stops come rated for certain pound-test line, so pay careful attention to this when making your purchase.

An Octopus hook is the most commonly used with this set up, although Circle hooks are also very effective. Hooks will generally range from No. 4’s to No. 8’s, with the 4’s being most effective for large minnows, and the smaller sizes for leeches and night crawlers. Another alternative to a regular hook is a standard jig head. Depending on depth or bobber floatation, a 1/64th to 1/8oz. style would work well, offering the fish a horizontal presentation as opposed to a vertical one, as well as the option to provide color.

As far as baits are concerned, minnows, leeches and crawlers are the cream of the crop (check local regulations to see what is legal). Minnows work great in the spring and fall, with leeches and worms throughout summer. Working all three baits on a given day can be an excellent study for what produces best on different bodies of water.

Finding a Float
Standard floats will cover most situations you come across, but variations in style and design do have their advantages.

Fat-bodied floats are a breeze to cast and will ride waves well, however they do require more effort to pull under. They also blow around more easily with the wind.

Pencil floats, those that have a thinner profile, offer the least resistance – so they cast further, drift along more slowly and work best for light biters.

Tall, oversized floats will get pushed along a drift quickly, and can be useful when trying to cover large expanses of water.

There are also lighted floats that are specifically meant for night fishing or low-light conditions.

It’s suggested to outfit your box with a variety of floats, as this will enable you to fish in various situations most effectively. Acknowledging wind speed, distance, current and bait will help in deciding on the right float. Larger bait, especially big lively minnows, will require an upgrade in float size. Leeches or worms, which don’t offer as much of a pull, can be worked with downsized floats.

 

Weighting your line correctly is also paramount when slip-bobbering. When a fish sucks in your bait, you need that slight movement to register immediately on top. Adding the correct weight to your line will ensure that your float goes under with nary a hesitation.

Place split shot in 8 to 12-inch increments from the hook, starting with a smaller size and gradually getting larger. This placement will keep your line vertical through the water, while your bait will appear more natural toward the hook end.

Location is Key
Walleye are renowned for the structure they habitate on, and for the most part it is the hard stuff. Rock will generally hold walleye, with vegetation also being popular depending on the chosen lakes makeup.

Slip floats are an excellent choice when working rock shoals, humps, points and flats. By using your electronics to ascertain a depth, your bobber stop should be placed to present your bait 6 to 12-inches off bottom. Although walleye may suspend at times, for the most part, they will be right on bottom, hugging the structure. If your float sits flat on the surface, your bait is laying on bottom. Adjust the bobber stop until the float sits perfect in the water.

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It is crucial to get the correct depth when slip-bobbering. If the bait is too high in the water column, the fish will pass it over. Too low and you’ll be snagging on bottom.

Whether you want to cover a larger area, or concentrate on a small dissection of structure, will often depend on the area you choose to fish. Small humps are best worked in a stationary manner. Large flats, on the other hand, should be drifted more vigorously in order to search and find fish.

Rods and Line
Although most “regular” rods will work for slip-bobbering, this technique can be improved with a bit of tinkering. Seven to eight-foot spinning rods may seem long, but the added length can vastly improve casting distance, as well as hook sets and the playing of fish. I prefer to partner this up with a quality spinning reel, sporting a smooth drag. As far as line is concerned, six or eight-pound test mono is an excellent choice for the main section. A fluorocarbon leader is a good choice down below, as it will complement the natural presentation you are trying to convey.

Drifting your bait to eager walleye is an excellent technique that is greatly under utilized. The next time you hit your favorite shoal or hump, come toting floats and live bait – there’s nothing like seeing your bobber going under to ignite some passion in the fishing game.

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Understanding Submerged Plants

Submerged plants are completely underwater and are generally rooted in the bottom sediment. If flowers exist, they may extend above the surface of the water. Submerged plants exchange carbon dioxide for dissolved oxygen during the periods of photosynthesis which provides a relatively stable source of oxygen for a water based ecosystem. Submerged weeds make up the majority of fishing cover (weed flats and weedlines) that will attract  walleye and northern pike.   The submerged weed family consist of hundreds of species many introduced or exotic that grow prolifically and are considered to problematic in many lakes, rivers and streams. An example of this is Eurasian Watermilfoil   

Most fishing articles relating to weeds refer to names such as cabbage, coontail, and eel grass. The following information is a guide for identifying the most common submerged plants that will attract game fish.

 
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Claspingleaf Pondweed (Cabbage) 

This plant is known to anglers as cabbage and has over 50 varieties in North America. Cabbage is both a deep and shallow water weed that has broad leaves and a brittle stems. They vary in colors from brownish red called tobacco cabbage to a light green leaf. Cabbage is the preferred choice of many large game fish and the most productive. Cabbage is also known as pike weed, muskie weed, and celery.

Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Coontail

Coontail or also know as hornwort, is a dark olive green bushy submerged perennial plant that grows in clumps or dense colonies that forms a canopy type cover in shallow water. The tips of branches are crowded with leaves giving it a “coontail” appearance. The submerged colonies of coontail provides excellent habitat and cover for bait fish as well as other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.) which attracts most predator game fish. The fruits of coontail are consumed by ducks and it is considered a good wildlife food.

Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Eelgrass
Eelgrass is a rooted shallow water plant found in flowing water. It has long, thin, ribbon-like leaves (1/2 – 3/4 inches wide) that are commonly 3 to 4 feet long. The vein pattern in the leaves of eelgrass is very distinctive and resembles celery. Eelgrass forms dense colonies dominating other submerged plants to grow. The submerged portions of eel grass provides dense underwater structure as an excellent habitat for bait fish and invertebrates. Northern pike  favor eelgrass during the summer months. Other common names include: Tape grass and wild celery.

 

Underwater World of Freshwater Fish
Elodea

Elodea is a rooted multi-branched perennial submerged plant that grows in cool fertile water to depths of approximately 10 feet. It is identified by its deep green color with 3 to 4 leaves attached directly to the stem. This weed develops quickly and provides good early season action, it attracts bait fish and bass along with other large game fish. Elodea has no known direct food value to wildlife but is used extensively by insects and invertebrates. Other common names include: Waterweed and walleye weed.

Algae
Algae are a basic water plant, some are composed of tiny single cells that float or suspend in the water giving a green, brown, or at times a red color to the water known as “bloom.” Others are multi celled that forms a thin and stringy or hair-like dark green slime commonly know as pond scum. While still others resemble submerged plants but without a true root system this is known as sandgrass. Algae although primitive, provides benefits to water systems by stabilizing bottom sediments and giving cover for small animals such as aquatic insects, snails, and scuds, which are valuable fish food.

 
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Planktonic

Planktonic algae, are floating microscopic single celled plants usually existing suspended in the upper few feet of water often reaching bloom proportions during the summer months based on temperature, light, nutrients making the water appear brownish or pea soup green.
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish
Filamentous
Filamentous algae are multi-celled that form into a mat of long chains or threads called filaments that resembles wet wool. Filamentous algae starts growing along the bottom in shallow water appearing fur-like, attaching to rocks, drowned wood, and other aquatic plants. As the production of oxygen increases it will float to the surface forming large mats, known as “Pond Scum.”  Filamentous algae has no direct food value to wildlife.
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Chara (Sandgrass)

Chara is the most advanced plant of the algae family though often confused with submerged plants. Chara commonly know as “sandgrass” is gray-green, branched with no root system, it grows in short thick mats, covering the lake bottom like a carpet. It can grow to depths of 30 feet, but is more common in shallower water. The stems/branches are brittle and hollow with rough ends, when crushed it emits a foul musty garlic like odor, often why it is called muskgrass or skunkweed. Sandgrass is beneficial promoting water clarity and lake bottom stabilization. During the mid summer through fall, walleyes and perch will be found on sandgrass flats.

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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Fishing, Fishing TIPS

 

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