It has been referred to as the dog days of summer, but we like to call it the summer walleye bonanza. July, August & into September are the best walleye producing months, and here is a quick explanation why.
During the summer, walleye drop to deeper water in large schools. Hundreds of fish group up together and hold, and move, on the edges of rock bars, the tops of deep hard bottomed flats, as well as over deep grass beds. Using your locator, and/or drifting these areas are both good ways to help locate these big schools of fish. Usually the fish are concentrated about 4-8 feet above the thermo-cline, in 20-40 feet of water. As the season progresses, and the water warms, the fish get deeper.
Once located, the fish are easily caught. Jig/minnow, jig/crawler, or slip sinker rigs, like a lindy rig, are all good producers. Putting as many as 100 Walleyes in the boat is not uncommon, BIG fish are also caught at this time of year, as they seem to hold with the other fish at optimum depths. The use of an underwater camera can aid tremendously in searching out these fish. Some might call it cheating, but it’s more commonly refer to it as a technological advantage. A good locator only sees so much of the bottom, and most boats are rigged with a lesser A model of sonar, unable to pick up these schools of fish, especially if they are tight to the bottom. When found, a marker buoy, and good boat control are key to staying on the fish. Vertical jigging is a technique that is commonly used whenever possible on calm days, but on windy days, anchoring and slip bobbers, or drifting slip-sinker rigs with a drift sock can also produce good results. The schools of fish can move on these structures, so if your anchored and the bite slows, you will have to re-position on the fish.
Colors of jigs for fish on the clearer lakes can be critical at times, so be sure to carry colors like chartreuse, any of the foil colors, green, orange, yellow and even glow in the dark jigs. Dark colored jigs don’t seem to get near the attention that the brighter colors do. The amount of light that penetrates these depths is greatly reduced, making the dark colors harder for the eyes to locate. Brighter colors can be seen from a further distance, attracting more attention to them.
That brings up what time of day is best to target these schools of walleye. Heavy cloud cover will provide all day catching along with some of the best fishing you’ll ever exerience, but, clear, sunny skies it’s best to fish early morning to 12:00 pm and then 7:00 pm to dark. will be the best time to be out. However, we are dealing with fish so these times are not cut in stone. The flat calm sunny days can be the best of fishing, boat control is simplified, making it easy to stay right on top of the fish. Factors such as weak cold fronts and other various weather conditions, don’t seem to affect the deep walleyes as much as they do when the fish are shallow. Making the deep season bite fairly consistent.