After recuperating from spawning, walleye are more interested in feeding than anything else. Cabbage and other vegetation is ripe with life, concentrating baitfish and prey fish alike, providing cover and offering everything predator like a walleye would want.
Baitfish using the early season weed beds—and attracting walleye—include everything from shiners to shad, as well as, yellow perch.
Walleye eat more yellow perch that most anglers realize. Anyone who fishes for yellow perch knows that young perch hang out in the weeds, this time of year or any other. If more walleye anglers used perch or perch-patterns, they’d be surprised at how many more—and bigger—walleyes they’d catch, starting in the spring right through the fall.
Rocks, too, like weeds, rock piles and drop-offs, they offer edges where baitfish congregate and walleye can hide. They provide ambush points to attack from. If you can locate a rocky hump topped by weeds this time of year, you have the best of all worlds.
Give ‘Em A Break
Walleye will hang around the periphery of a rock hump during the day, and stay to the outside of the weeds up top if they are especially shallow. But the walleye will absolutely be on top after dark.
Whether comprised of vegetation, rock or both, steep breaks are very important, because schooling baitfish will hold off the edge, while the walleye cruise and hide in the protection of the structure. Breaks make great contact points for the walleye, which are seeking the larger, fatter baitfish they want.
Bigger walleye don’t want to feed often, they want to eat in one full sweep, on a big baitfish like a perch or shad or a fat shiner, when they can. If that size baitfish isn’t available, they’ll stick around and feed on lots of smaller baitfish.
Give ‘Em A Blow
Wind also affects where you can find active walleyes in June. You can start getting summer weather patterns in June, especially late in the month, but before everything really gets wild weather-wise, this time of year you can get winds that create an excellent bite. A good, steady wind will stack fish up in most lakes, and you can find walleyes feeding in the weeds or along rock edges.
When the wind is strong and steady, fish the windward sides of everything. Baitfish are weak swimmers; they’ll often get forced along or blown up against a break. And walleye are opportunistic feeders that like big, sluggish baitfish and know that’s where to find them.
Catching Walleye at the Bar
To catch these big walleye bellying-up to the salad bar in search of a mouthful by offering them precisely what the hungry predators came for: big live baits.
You can go with minnows up to 8 inches long, or big shiners, under a float or on a jig like a Fireball.
Crankbaits can work on the spring fish too, but are usually most effective when the walleye are being the most aggressive, early and late in the day. Bigger crankbaits that mimic injured baitfish can be really effective.
Fish around the weed beds or humps deeper during the day and move shallow as light fades. Use your fish finder to learn where and at what depths and the baitfish schools are holding to know what depth you want to make your presentation. As long as you are near weeds or rocks that offer breaks, this time of year the walleye shouldn’t be hard to find—’cause if you offer them something they want to eat, and that’s what they’re doing big time right now, they’ll find you.
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