Three Tips for How to Catch Walleye in Weeds
Obviously fishing walleye in the weeds presents its own set of problems. Some people get annoyed by continually stopping to remove vegetation from their bait. If that’s you, this might not be your best technique for how to catch walleye. But if you’re willing to put up with this little inconvenience in exchange for a nice batch of walleye, then read on.
1. Fish walleye vertically. This might mean sneaking up on an opening in an otherwise congested weedbed to drop a jig into the hole as vertically as possible. In fact, that’s the way I catch more walleye from weeds than any other technique. Drop the jig to the bottom, bounce it up and down a few times, and then move on to the next spot and drop the jig again. Usually, if the spot holds a fish, it will hit the jig in the first 15 seconds. They tend to hit it on the drop, so keep a tight line as you drop the jig down.
2. Target the cruisers. Walleye in weed beds tend to be loosely schooled and cruising through the area, looking for a pod of bait fish. When you find one fish, work the area over well – others are sure to be there. This is where you can often taken a limit, or enough for a shore lunch, in an area the size of the hood of a pickup.
3. Aim for ambushers. Another great spot to catch walleye is along the deep edges of weedlines on a steep drop-off. The steeper the drop, the more distinct the weedline will be. You can search the area with a deep-diving crank bait, then spin around and drop your jig down when you contact a fish. In this case, walleye tend to be ambush feeding rather than cruising. They find a good-looking spot and back themselves into the edge, facing out. When something that looks like an easy meal comes by, they slide out and grab it. Again, catch one and a half-dozen more walleye are likely to be there.
Reelin’ ’em in
Once you catch a walleye in thick weeds, you might have a challenge getting it out – especially if it’s a big one. Using a stiff fishing rod with lots of backbone and a fast tip has its advantages. Spool it with 10- to 20-pound super line so it won’t stretch. (Care must be taken when using this technique since damage to the walleye or other fish species is certain.) Crank your drag down pretty tight and when you hook a fish, quickly wrestle it to the top. The key is to lift it as straight up as possible to avoid getting wrapped around the stems of weeds.
The best time of the year to catch walleye in the weeds is late June and through July and August. If you are looking for a meal of tasty walleye fillets, go snooping around a bed of cabbage this summer.