When using spoons for walleyes, most anglers assume the method is vertically fishing heavy jigging spoons in deep water. With apologies to the heavy-metal brigade, when it comes to trolling spoons, thin is in.
Flutterspoons–thin, lightweight, flexible spoons commonly used by trout and salmon anglers–have superb applications for walleyes. Their use for walleyes originated among Great Lakes trollers pursuing salmon and trout, whereupon anglers began stumbling upon excellent catches of lunker walleyes. From there, the technique evolved into full-fledged systems for giant ‘eyes.
Flutterspoons have three main characteristics separating them from other lure families commonly used for walleyes: (1) they’re thin, lightweight, and have no diving characteristics of their own; therefore, some type of weight, diver, or diving lure is needed to take them down to the desired depth; (2) spoons run at higher speeds than most walleye presentations, with many performing admirably from just over 1 to about 3 mph, sometimes faster; and (3) spoons feature attractive combinations of wobble, flash, and color to trigger walleye strikes while quickly eliminating unproductive water.
Unlike wide casting spoons or thick casting spoons, flutterspoons are thin and flexible with little weight. Most are also relatively narrow. Minor size, shape, and thickness variations give each manufacturer’s models a unique blend of attributes.
While trout and salmon anglers frequently use a range of flutterspoon sizes, walleye fishermen tend to prefer the smaller sizes. For example, the standard size Michigan Stinger (Advance Tackle) is 3 3/4 inches long x 3/4 inches wide; the smaller Scorpion, a popular walleye lure, is only 2 1/4 inches long x 1/2 inches wide. Pro King Tackle offers the standard Pro King and smaller Pro Spoon. Wolverine Tackle’s Silver Streak features numerous models including the standard 300 series and the smaller Mini Streak 200 series. Day in and day out, the smaller versions of these spoons seem to trigger walleyes best, although, at times, slightly larger spoons, like the Silver Leaf Spoon now marketed by Erie Dearie, can be dynamite.
Flutterspoons also come in an extensive range of colors and hues with exotic names as colorful as their patterns. Two of the current rages on Lake Erie are Monkey Puke (green and gold) and Kevorkian or Dr. Death (a purple-pink combo considered deadly in deep water). Other areas, like Saginaw Bay, might favor different combos. As always, hot color patterns change throughout the seasons according to available forage, water clarity, and weather conditions.
Spoons allow faster fishing than spinners and most crankbaits, and they easily cover larger areas and at varied depths with the same rigging. Directional divers like Luhr-Jensen’s Dipsey Diver are perfectly geared to spoons. Angled divers tied in-line to your main line, with a 5- or 6-foot leader, will dive down at a preset, adjustable angle, either straight below the boat or at some angle to either side. This allows you to set out numerous rods, with planers set to dive down and out at different angles, to strain the water column.
Anglers also troll small spoons on a three-way rig, removing the traditional sinker and replacing it with a deep-diving crankbait like a Hot’N Tot. This takes the spoon down to the desired depth. Different crankbaits sizes can be used to target different depths. And obviously, it provides the chance to simultaneously trigger fish with two different lures and to experiment with different lure styles, colors, and actions. Some folks even squirt or rub a little scent on the spoon to, in their opinion, enhance its effectiveness.
Obviously, any weighting system can be used to take spoons down to desired depths, though some form of diving system–be it a three-way crankbait rig or a directional diving planer–seems to be the method of choice when trolling lightweight flutterspoons for walleyes on the Great Lakes.
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