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The Key in Finding Those Summer Fish!

It’s what we’ve been waiting for those hot, lazy, crazy days of August and then someone says it’s too “hot” to catch any walleye! The excuses start: too hot, too calm, too much humidity, too many fish (walleye) and not enough days to fish them!

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If your looking for a time of the year when the temperatures are hot and the fish are biting, it’s those so-called “dog-days” of August. There’s always some non-believers but let me tell you that these warm days are definitely hot fishing days. Let’s concentrate on the methods used to capitalize on some excellent walleye catches.

Where to Start?
When it comes to locating mid summer walleye in order to be successful an angler must think of several important factors: cover, food and a comfort zone. It’s easy to understanding how to fish these fish if you take these three things into consideration.

Wawang NEW MapThe starting point is doing map work of the waters you intend to fish.  Hot spots listed on our map are without a question the first place to start with not only their detailed descriptions of the waters but also the complete documentary telling you about the entire “waterworld” you are about to fish.  Challenging as it may seem map preparation will simplify your fishing and put you into fairly good spots and allow you to fine tune presentations as your fishing continues.  At Wawang Lake Resort we have a good idea of where walleye will be at any given time throughout the fishing season through years of collecting data, and therefore we provide a detailed map to our guests upon arrival.  We also outline specific areas where the walleye have been active and pass on information such as:  depth, baits, lures, colors and presentation.  It’s important to us for our guests to successfully catch fish and therefore as we collect this information all season along we pass it onto them.

Weedbeds inhabit the bays and surprisingly large, healthy populations of weeds are present. Cabbage, milfoil and coontail weeds are three of the most prevalent weeds found here and all have the capabilities of giving the weed diagramnecessary ingredients in finding good groups of walleye. Understanding weeds, especially that the greenest plants give off extreme amounts of oxygen that attract the plankton, baitfish and consequently the gamefish of the system. Locating these weedbeds are a simple matter as many of these beds are shoreline orientated making it possible for a very easy fishing approach. Giving you places to look for could include;  fishing the ranges of depth from several feet of water right into 12 to 15 feet of water;  and  reefs hold some excellent weedbeds.

Wawang Lake abounds when it comes to weeds and it’s good growth of cabbage has walleye written all through it.   Look for structure of reefs have a combination of gravel, rocks, shale, sand and weeds that make up the basis of the reef systems. Amazingly here too will be a certain population of walleye that inhabit these reefs throughout the entire year.

The Basin or “Deep Water” fish probably are the most commonly fished areas of water of any system during the so-called “Dog-Day’s of August”. No doubt about it deep basin fish do exist and locating these fish in summer takes mobility and electronics viewing of the lake content. The key to these basin fish is finding two groups of walleye; either the bottom dwelling fish or the suspended fish. Deepest waters to check out is relatively easy to find and quite recognizable on our map.

Electronic knowledge is important in spotting schooling fish. Combining schooling baitfish and marking fish you should be able to pattern basin fish in this water area.

The Selected Methods to Catching these Summer Walleye
One method of fishing walleye is jig fishing. Jig fishing is fun, easy to learn and one productive method for these summer fish. A weed fishing presentation and jigs can be deadly in getting hot, summer bite walleye.  Sizes to start with are 1/8 and 1/16 ounce Fireball and Lip Stick jigs of high Vis colors tied to 6 or 8 pound XL line. The wi0703_DeadWalleynew Fire Line with it’s low stretch and small diameter makes its a great jig fishing line.

Fishing presentations consist of 6 foot medium action spinning rods like Berkley’s Gary Roach’s model and matched with a the new Cardinal Center Drag Spinning Reel with superb drag and casting qualities and its time to present the bait. The two methods most used are a livebait attached to the jig head; minnows are a favorite producer and nightcrawlers complete the bill. Using a plastic tail like a Power Grub has outstanding results many times while fishing the weeds. A hot bait for trying this year should be the Northland Buck Shot Rattle jig with the added noise factor and fishing heavy weeds you’ll many times alert fish into seeking out your baits.

Boat and bait presentations should be off these weedbed edges to be able to place casts into the weeds letting the jig combination settle slowly pop the jig keeping the rod tip at a high point retreive position, if your getting hung in the weeds pop the jig free and let it again settle. Many times strikes will occur when the jig is free falling to the lake floor. Remember fishing fairly fast through areas will let you find aggressive biting fish and once found you can slow down and concentrate on schooling fish.

Number two method of fishing these summer walleye and another fun bite is using and casting crankbaits. Two choices and a straight minnow bait with its erratic motions along with deep diving baits like Berkley’s Frenzy’s deep Diver to work closer to the bottom you are fishing.

Before leaving the weedbeds this is where the cranking methods can pull some additional fish. Equipment check list should include the preferred  baitcasting rod/reel combination. Again Abu Garcia’s line of bait casters like the C-3 spooled with 10 pound XT or Fire Line worked with a medium action 6 to 7 foot Touring rod will give you those long casts and still have the needed backbone for good hook sets. Cast, retrieve, pause and retrieve across weeds and the results will be there. Deeper diving baits work well when sliding off the breakline just reaching the weeds and covering the bottom structure where walleye’s so often are.

WOW, the gang of six just isn't quitting at all and has pushed their walleye trophy total to 30! Way to go guys!

Crankbaits and the reefs should be worked and a prime time is when prevailing winds are pushing against structure areas. The shallow north end reefs of Wawang Lake excel in results on days of high wind and don’t overlook the EARS potential when it comes to casting crankbaits.

The third method of finding summer time “eye’s” in hot August is a finesse method of live bait fishing. The Roach Rig, a favorite rig that let’s you fish all three areas that hold walleye in the summer with probably the most subtle method of catching sometimes lock jawed fish. A sliding sinker that has an adjustable snell length of which you generally can start short and increase to longer lengths of which at the end is a bait hook.

Tackle choices here would be a medium action spinning rod like a Roach’s Livebait rod with a Cardinal reel and 6 pound ultra-clear XL line should give you a very natural presentation and yet able to fight and land large fish. Livebait – use either a minnow that you can lip hook when looking for fish and tail hook when you’ve spotted fish.  We also have our own method of hooking a minnow that’s very popular with local fishermen in the area.  We provide this information to our guests and show them just how it’s done!

Nightcrawlers seem to be the favorite diet of these walleye and nose hooking a healthy crawler and placing a tiny bubble of air in it’s collar should keep it right off the bottom and in the face of Mr. Walleye! These rigs can be fished effectively in all water areas and should be used when other methods fail. This makes a successful day sometimes out of a slow day. Edges of weedbeds, reef drop-offs, and deep basin waters should be watched for and seeing walleye positioning above them and working these rigs should net results.

The “Trolling Method” by no means boring if done right is a very effective method during the summer doldrums. The importance of locating active schools of walleye and remembering the factors of cover, food and the comfort zone and trolling is an optional method of catching a consist amount of walleye.

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The three methods of trolling presentations are using a single spinner, a spinner nightcrawler rig and crankbaits. The areas west of the lodge offer good trolling for walleye at this time and generally you’ll want to work these methods either all the same presentation or mix it with spinners and cranks. These Basin fish or “deep water” fish can sometimes be more consistent in biting and here’s the approach. Floatn’Spin’s with a nickel blade and healthy fat crawler worked off the bottom with a Rock-Runner Bottom Bouncer will cover those bottom hugging fish.

Speed of trolling these spinners should be slow! Keeping the blades revolving is key and using a thumping or larger blade while fishing these deep waters of the basin will attract and get some real aggressive hits. Running  Off-Shores In Line Planer boards do a great job from a boat. Simply pinch on and then off makes their application a simple one and it’s easy to fish three and even four people from the boat.

Crankbait trolling bangs some good hot, summer “eye’s” and structuring down to find them is fairly easy. Again choosing rattling cranking baits gets the job done, picking the natural colors most common in the lake and shad colors, perch and blues are a good start. Finding correct depths and Off-Shore’s Snap-On Weights are great and easy. After one or two trips using these tools and you’ll become efficient in trolling too.

Using all the Optional Tools for better fishing!

Live bait is one of the most importance tools on any fishing trip, Frabill’s minnow bucket and worm containers are a must for the liveliest bait not to mentioning having a quality fishing net and the Power Catch is the best walleye net used.

imagesCADDLEMNWhen fishing our lake you should always watch weather conditions and being safe always as winds can make for choppy conditions. Boat control for fishing all these conditions and a MinnKota trolling motor will  get you into the most fishy’ spots and power that lasts all day.

Tackle picks and choices in selecting the best equipment you can, and, one thing for sure is using fresh fishing line, this in itself will help you in catching more fish.

Hot, summer, sultry day’s of August by no means are fishless days and  Wawang Lake without any question can prove just this. When looking for walleye don’t let the summer months discourage you remembering you’ve got many good alternate locations for finding fish; weeds, reefs and the deep water basins should be able to point you in the right direction.

Versatility is so key in becoming a more successful fisherman and when we go fishing
we always want to catch fish on the days we go fishing!

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MORE BOTTOM BOUNCING TIPS

Bouncing – A Little Trick
RR-Slip-Bouncer-CardAs the water temperatures rise to (some of the highest levels of the year) the fish’s metabolism is really mounting and they will chase baits to a much greater degree than any other time. At this time you can really slam some nice fish and do it quickly. Add two 2 ounce bouncers and run a willow leaf blade. Here we are not going to worry too much about following contour but more relevantly described as being in a depth range. The reason fish are occupying more of the water column is because the temperature is more equally distributed. Some will be deep, some shallow and some in between.  Run this method in about ten feet of water. You are probably wondering about why so much weight, because you’re going to crank up the speed.   Remember that speed and weight determine line angle. We want to be able to feel the bottom and we don’t want to get hung up by having too much line angle. The fish will really hit on this type of presentation and you can nail some real beauties too.  Speed or the lack of it can provoke strikes.   In the summer, fast is better as a rule. The key here is speed, being relatively shallow (especially in stained water), and not worrying about the exact depth. You will be amazed on the amount of territory you can cover working your bouncer like this.

Bouncing – Another Trick
Target the fish that have laterally suspended off a hump. A fish has two choices when moving off a hump, move down or move out.   Most move out, rather than down. However most fisherman move down that could prove unproductive. This is regarding the deep water humps, something in the 20′ range for example. Anyway, when you are bouncing a hump or a shoreline and you come to the end or the drop off to deep water, just hold your bouncer at the same level you did when bouncing the hump and tool around out over deep water. You will be amazed at the fish you will catch suspended, they usually run fairly good size and hit like a ton of bricks. So just run right off the edge and hold the bouncer at the same level as the hump. Make a figure eight type of maneuver with your boat, and then go back on the hump and repeat. It is good to mark the edge of the drop off with a marker.


Bouncing – In the Spring
northland-fishing-a-bottom-bouncerSpringtime is a time of change from hard water to cold water to warmer water. At first when the water is very cold, just after ice out, the fish are deep because it is warmer and more consistent. However, as water warms as opener arrives, the eyes have moved shallow to eat, spawn, rest, and eat again.   Now in the early morning as the water has been cooling, they may be a little deeper, but as the sun warms it up they will be shallower.   What is shallow, this would be around ten feet to as little as six inches. Using bottom bouncers in the spring, it was the best way to find constantly moving fish.

Fish will hold to a spot as long as there is food. However, once that diminishes, they are on the move again. The best way to find them quickly is to pull a bouncer. Use Colorado’s (medium to small) for this. For weight, something in the 1 oz range works nice. Fish the flats and points and hit the bays, the shorelines between bays and key on fish holding spots. The main shorelines are the ticket as the off shore humps are not going yet. That happens a little later on. Once fish are found, you can crank them or jig them or just keep bouncing. This works so much better than randomly checking areas with a jig which is way just slow.   Use live bait the rest of the season as well. However, live bait is a personal preference and we don’t discount the successes of artificial baits. They all can work well. Leeches can be iffy in the early spring because they have a tendency to curl and a little trick is to step on them to make them run straight in the cold water. Minnows are great, use one hook snell’s with a stinger (if needed).

Late spring in Canada is June, which is summer in the lower 48 states. However, it still can be brisk up Ontario. Fish start along the shorelines and move to the center of the lake as the water warms up. So the first humps to get action are the ones closest to the main shorelines. Check these as the shoreline action begins to tail off. The water should be in the mid sixty degree range and the walleye will really be turned on.

Bouncing In the Summer
As the water warms up even more, and the water temp becomes more equal from surface down into the depths, the fish have more options for food and comfort, and safety of course. It is this time of year that the fish have moved to their summer haunts. The majority have now moved from the main lake shorelines and utilizing the off shore humps, flats and island shorelines. However, a few will still be along the main lake shorelines and bays.  Find the 20+ depths to be quite important at this time of year. Not to say that some won’t be shallower, but the bulk of the population will be deeper most of the time. However, it depends on the forage base. Walleye will be feeding on whatever is easiest, so if they are keying on shallow bait fish, then they will be 222Page2_GregHargraves_pitch-361x430shallow.  However, this is more of an exception then a rule.  Some years, a shallow bite will be stronger than other years, and some years it seems that they are all shallow. You can actually site fish them with cranks or light jigs. But once again, this is the exception. Work the main lake shorelines and off shore islands. Especially the ones with round rock about basketball size as opposed to hard granite shorelines. These round rock shorelines give the forage places to hide and the eyes are there –  looking for them. With a bouncer, you can quickly cover ground and locate the active fish. Then work that area. Speed can be increased as the fish are now willing to chase a bait, and it will trigger inactive fish in many cases. Speed will be more productive than going slow. Slow is for early season and late fall.

Flats – the Walleye Secret Structure
One of the most common areas that are almost completely overlooked by anglers are flats. One of the best spots can be a long flat surrounded by deep water. Sometimes they appear to be featureless, yet from the beginning of summer until fall, these spot hold an abundance of walleye. As an example check for islands that hold a lot of gulls.

Anyway spots like that can be very productive. There is almost always fish on them. Flats are never totally devoid of structure, they just look that way. But there are little depressions, troughs, a boulder here and there, maybe a clump of weeds. Usually soft bottom, they also hold all kinds of bugs and worms which the eyes will root out. Flats are easy to find, they are the areas on the map where the break lines are spread quite a bit a part as compared to the sharp breaks where the break lines are close together. Ideally fish flats in the 15-20 foot range. Once you find one of these flats, it is almost certain that you will have it all to yourself.

Now, how is a jig guy going to cover a flat?  He’s not. You might think that some anglers over doing the bottom bouncer presentation.   You are right, it’s the best search tool for walleye.  However, jigs, spinner rigs, and cranks all play apart in obtaining the best success. There is a time for each and fisherman who only fishes on way is only playing with half the cards and will be consistently out fished by a versatile angler who uses all methods.

 

Bouncing – When doesn’t it Work
Bottom bouncing will not work well when you are fishing very shallow or need a horizontal presentation. You are better off fishing with jigs or crank baits in those circumstances. Jigging can work better when the fish are tightly grouped on a piece of structure, like an inside turn for example. Of course, the bouncer is probably what found them for you to begin with. Bouncing is not the way to go on very small humps, however very small humps don’t hold many fish anyhow.

 
One might say that bouncing is about as exciting as watching ice melt. However, catching fish is very exciting and bouncing allows for catching.   It was very rewarding and makes a remarkable difference to any fishing trip.  Remember to be versatile, keep it simple, and have fun!

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Prepare Your Boat For The Upcoming Season

Boats

There seems to be a direct correlation between melting snow and the increasing need for anglers to get on the water. Just consider how many countless hours you, or your friends, have spent sharpening hooks, organizing and reorganizing your tackle box, and the cash you spend on pre-season shopping for supplies.

But here’s a question: how many of you take the time to properly prepare your boat for the upcoming season? There’s no better place to invest your anxious energy than boat and trailer tune-ups and tinkering. Here’s a list of some things you should do before you hit the water this season.

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Get The Engine Running
If you didn’t get your engine winterized, you’ll want to do the annual maintenance in the spring, such as: changing the oil and filters, lubricating parts, and cleaning spark plugs. If you winterized your boat, some shops will include a spring start-up in their package to ensure all is working well after the winter. Hooking up a hose to a pair of “ear muffs” or using other flushing kits will allow you to start your engine on land — always a good move before the first outing.

Check Hoses And Connections
You’ll want to check all the hoses and connections from your gas tank to your engine. Have any of the tubes cracked over the winter? Are there any signs of wear and tear visible on tubes or the gas tank? If so, replace worn parts at the beginning of the season. Don’t forget to add new gas to that tank, too, fuel stabilizers will keep gas uniform over the winter, but you want fresh gas running through the engine as soon as possible.

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1The Blessed Battery
Batteries are a crucial component in boats today. They power fish finders, trolling motors, lights, livewells, and the list goes on. Many guys will have both a cranking and a deep cycle battery in their boats. The cranking is strictly for starting the outboard; the deep cycle is for electronics. Both types of batteries should be charged differently, but charge them fully before your first run on the water. This is also a good time to clean grimy battery terminals with a wire, battery brush.

Working On Wires
A battery is useless without a network of wires to transport its energy to the gadgets on your boat. Check all the wiring in your boat, looking for kinks and cracks in the wiring, replacing sections of wiring if necessary. Tighten any loose connections and replace any year-old electrical tape with new product to ensure the seal will last the season. While inspecting your wiring, also consider tucking some of it away to tidy your boat. There are a variety of products available in the electrical section of hardware stores, such as plastic tie-downs, that will help you organize your boat’s wiring.

Safety Kit
You should already have the appropriate safety gear and equipment to comply with the boating regulations for the vessel you operate. Check this equipment at the beginning of the season and add supplies. This includes replenishing supplies from your First Aid kit that might have been used up over the summer. Replace weak batteries with fresh ones. Ensure you have spares for some basic boat equipment (such as fuses and spark plugs). Also return any items to your boat that you may have removed during winter storage, such as anchors or a tool kit.

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Inspecting trailer tires for wear and tear, greasing bearings, and adding air to the recommended pressure levels are three key steps for spring trailer-tune up. Getting a cover for your bearings doesn’t hurt either and will keep tires grease-free.

Trailer Tune-Up
Don’t forget to check your trailer at the beginning of spring. Start by inspecting your tires, looking for adequate treads and ensure there are no cracks or bulges on the sides. Replace worn tires (if necessary) and add the proper air pressure before any outings. You’ll also want to replenish grease levels and repack your bearings if needed. Next, ensure all the lights are operating properly and check the wiring. Finally, inspect the winch and straps, tightening any loose nuts and bolts, but also checking the strap for signs of wear and tear, replacing if needed. This is important; the last thing you want is the strap snapping when you’re cranking your boat onto your trailer.

Tuning and tightening up your boat as you wait for season-opener is a smart investment of your time. It keeps your boat in good shape, but it’s also an opportunity to spot any potential hazards before they become major problems. Don’t get sidelined this season with boat problems that could have been prevented with a little spring tune-up.

Stay safe and have fun on the water this season!

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TIPS TO CATCHING SPRING WALLEYE

Rick Lahrman caught this nice 29" walleye at Wawang Lake.

Rick Lahrman caught this nice 29″ walleye at Wawang Lake.

If hooking a big walleye is the plan then Wawang Lake is where you want to go whether it’s spring, summer or fall . While walleye are rather active and generally numbers are much easier to find during the spring, but catching BIG trophy sized walleye happens all season long.  Catching these big guys still takes some tactics to reel them in. If the plan is to drop a line, hook a fish and go home happy within a few minutes, the outcome could be disappointment.

Although springtime is the favorite for walleye fishing, anglers need to keep a few things in mind. Everything from actual weather conditions to location and bait can impact the outcome of a fishing trip. The trick is really gauging the action carefully before picking a spot to stay at.    Walleyes like water between 55 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and they move to follow it. In spring you’ll find them in the shallows of lakes and fall they will move into shallower water depending on light and wave activity.

Location Matters in The Spring

coldWhen the waters are thawing, but haven’t turned warm just yet, the shallows are generally the place to go. Anglers often quickly find a few key spots that work very well in the spring months.

It’s important to keep in mind that changing weather patterns can affect where walleye happen to be on a particular day or night. Many anglers swear by very shallow, night fishing to catch walleye during the cooler spring days but this is not always true. Slightly warmer, less windy days might find them a little further out though.

Some places to seek them out include:

  • Shallow points and mid-depths. While walleye are known to move into deeper waters when the temperatures heat up, early spring won’t generally find them there yet. Look along sunken islands and in mid- to rather shallow points by boat. If electronics do not turn up fish action, move on.
  • On-shore/wading. Many anglers find they are better off leaving the boat at home for springtime fishing, especially in the early days of spring. The fish are often found in very shallow waters that can be fished from shore or from piers.
  • Picking The Right Equipment. Having the right bait and equipment cannot be stressed enough when walleye is the catch of choice. These fish have changing preferences. What they enjoy in the hotter summer months is not necessarily what they’ll bite in the spring. Some of the suggested bait and tackle recommendations for springtime angling include:
  • Tackle. Rigs with live bait and live bait with slip bobbers are generally the preferred means for catching walleye during the spring months. Keep in mind if it’s early spring, walleye are getting ready to move to their spawning grounds, so they’re ready to eat.
  • Bait. Walleye tend to gravitate well toward minnows and night crawlers during the early spring months. In some areas, they might prefer noshing on insect larvae like during a mayfly hatch. For this reason, some anglers swear by using marabou jigs and other similar lures.

Spring is typically the one of best times of year to hook a winning walleye, but that doesn’t mean the prospect will always be easy.

 

walleye_catchThe temperatures this time of year, especially in early spring, can be brutal on anglers. Exercising a bit of patience, finding the right spots and paying heed to weather patterns can make a difference.

Remember, the landscape can change from day to day. On cooler days (or nights), they are often found very close to shore, but mid-level areas might hold them when the temperatures start to turn up just a bit.

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CHASING THE ‘EYES’

 

31" walleye - Mark HechtMore people want to know how to catch walleye than any other game fish.  Also known as pickerel, they are often difficult to locate and land. The challenge they present makes fishing them successfully an angling accomplishment.  Yet, for the novice angler finding a lake that has a fisheries management program will without a doubt help you get on those walleye quicker.  So Wawang Lake is where you’ll want to begin.

So it doesn’t hurt to have a few tricks up your sleeve when you head out on the water this season. Early season walleye are best located in shallow waters as they are not long out of spawning and are looking to stock up on feed to replace what was lost as they were preoccupied during the spawn. Shoals with gravel are excellent places to start looking, especially near the drop off to deeper water.

walleye schoolQuite often you will be able to visually spot them in these areas as the water is generally clearer and the walleye will stand out against the gravel bottom. In the water you are fishing, look for the edges of weed beds with a change in depth. This can be in a narrows were the deeper part of the water slopes up toward the bank, or on a bend off a point on the inside of the turn near a sand bar, walleye will be on the edge of these areas. The current is slower here and is a good place for harboring bait and acts like a snack table for feeding fish.

Sunken islands in the lake work well as do old break lines, humps and reefs. If you search the water that you will be fishing in, you should not have too much trouble locating these types of spots.  At Wawang Lake we provide a detailed, contour map of the lake that gets our guests started in the right direction almost immediately.  Supper isn’t too far behind.

Several types of baits work well for walleye. Favorites are crank-baits. Rapalas (straight or jointed) (floating or sinking) (suspending or rattle types). Next are the walleye divers, which imitate baitfish so accurately that walleye can’t resist them if presented properly.

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Start using these baits with a stop motion, jerking the bait through the water instead of steady retrieves. Suspending lures are fished in the same manner, letting them sink to the bottom and then start jerking softly about a foot or so at a time. This allows the bait to sink slowly again to a predetermined depth before being tugged forward and up again. This motion represents smaller food chain species chasing and feeding which will attract larger fish and cause them to feed on the smaller fish.
Vertical jigging - 1
If fishing is more what you are after rather than angling try using minnows or leeches. Keep the leech stretched out as long as you can without ripping it.  Use a pickerel rig and hook a second hook to each. Do this by placing the second hook over the barb on the first hook and letting it trail.

Now you can hook the leech on the first hook and pull the tail down over the second hook. A bigger leech is more inviting than a small rounded one. Be sure not to have more than four hooks in total on your rig!

For trolling spinners or jigs with a larger hook use minnows and choose a medium to large minnow. Hook through the mouth, then out the gill, turn the hook then hook through the top of the head just infront of the doral fin.   This allows the minnow to swim freely and walleye often will mouth the bait, turning it and playing with it before swallowing it. Watch closely for light taps on your rod or float, and be prepared to set the hook at this point.

3 WAY

If trolling or cast retrieving is your preference then try using a three-way swivel on your line with the bait trailing, and the center swivel used to attach the weight. Do this by tying on about one foot of lighter line to the bottom eye of the swivel. The lighter line will break off easier in the event of a snag, saving the rest of the line. I use about four feet of line from the swivel to the bait, giving the bait lots of freedom to move side to side or up and down when retrieving the cast or trolling.

walleye_catch

 

The foregoing methods are pretty much fail safe, but it remains that walleye are as challenging to fish as they are good to eat. So the best advice is to get out there and try it for yourself. Enjoy the day and the fishing will fall into place!

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Bucktail Jigging For Weed Walleye

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When walleye head to the shade of the salad, or cruise along the edge of vegetation, a bucktail jig can be your greatest tool for seducing them to strike. Not only is the undulating hair a visual stimulant, but also the erratic cadence of the bait as it is ripped and jigged with vigor.  Working bucktails is a different game than with regular jigs, but the technique speaks for itself with the big results you’ll be rewarded with.

A standard bucktail jig is comprised of a lead head, with layers of bucktail tied and glued to the collar of the bait. Strands of tinsel are often interwoven, adding an additional aspect in terms of visual attraction. When moving, the hair forms a streamlined body, replicating a baitfish perfectly.   At rest the hair fans out, adding a different dimension in terms of appearance.  In comparison to a jig and plastic, the bucktail is far superior in terms of weedlessness, making them an excellent choice when the cover becomes thick and the walleye go into hiding.

The Laws of Rip Jigging

Rip jigging is a specialized technique that can produce astounding results.   The premise is simple:  flip a bucktail jig out twenty feet or so.   Let it make contact with the bottom vegetation, then give a quick and sharp snap of the rod, breaking the jig free from the snag and sending it up and above the cover. Repeat process. Depending on the mood of the fish, rips can be positively violent or more controlled.   You will find that the warmer the weather, the more aggressive you can be.

Walleye are an opportunistic feeder. They will conceal themselves in the thickest of   cover, waiting to ambush an unsuspecting baitfish as it swims by. Ripping a bucktail jig through the salad will easily get their attention (due to the   commotion it causes) and make them commit to the speedy meal before it gets away. Depending on the mood of the fish, they will either smack it as it breaks free from the green stuff, or rise to engulf it as it slowly falls back down. This is one technique that has worked well is the fall period. Fish will raise their activity level and feedbag at this time, and when the wind howls and the fish move shallow, you can definitely get into a bunch of them – BIG ones too! In terms of tipping options for rip jigging – go the route of none.   Minnows and worms won’t last long with the constant weed contact, and due to the speed of the retrieve (and split second reaction time),  it doesn’t makes much of a difference in terms of catch rates.

Dunking For Fish

Although it may seem unsuitable dunking the weed pockets for walleye is a tried and true technique. Shallow water and expansive weed flats make up the playing field for this tactic, and a stout rod and bucktail jigs round out the arsenal. Pounding depths between four and 10-feet is your best option, and clear water is always your best bet. Work weed flats and clumps with the wind or an electric motor, lowering a heavy bucktail jig into every hole and edge you drift over.  Let it sink directly to bottom, and give it a few lifts and drops before moving on. (leave the bait in each hole for at least ten seconds before trying the next.) Walleye will bucktailsituate themselves on these edges, both inside and out, pouncing on any bait that free falls into their lair. Visually, this is a fun and exciting tactic to employ, as most fish are actually observed sucking up the bait in the blink of an eye, and quickly charging back into the weeds! A lightening quick hook set and medium-heavy rod is recommended if you hope to put a net under the belly of any of them. Tipping your jig with a minnow or worm is an excellent choice for this short-line tactic, as the fish has more time to be convinced to strike, and scent can be a contributing factor for that.

Swimming Them In When walleye are scattered over weed flats, and the vegetation is low and uniform in height, swimming a bucktail jig back to the boat can be a hot ticket. The rules are simple: cast your bait out and start reeling in, keeping your jig just above the weeds, and imparting the odd lift or two into your retrieve. This will allow you to cover large areas of water, and help you pick off those fish that are actively cruising while feeding. Your presentation will resemble a minnow making its way along bottom, and an easy meal in the eyes of our yellow predator.

Top Ten Tips For Bucktail Fishing

1.  For clear water conditions, match the hatch when it comes to colour. Murky water requires brighter hues.
2.  Braided line gets the nod for working bucktails in the weeds.
3.  Check line regularly throughout the course of the day.
4.  Apply ample amounts of scent to the hair of the bait.
5.  Choose high quality jigs that sport strong and laser sharp hooks.
6.  In rough conditions, choose brighter colours that will aid in attracting fish better.
7.  Lighter jigs work better for swimming, while heavier jigs work best for ripping and dunking.
8.  Heavy equipment is key. This is no place for ultralight combos or low diameter line.
9.  Watch for line movement or “bumps.” This can often signal a fish.
10.  Take note of where fish are found. Then search for other areas on the lake that are similar in make up.

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CHASING THE ‘EYES’

 

31" walleye - Mark HechtMore people want to know how to catch walleye than any other game fish.  Also known as pickerel, they are often difficult to locate and land. The challenge they present makes fishing them successfully an angling accomplishment.  Yet, for the novice angler finding a lake that has a fisheries management program will without a doubt help you get on those walleye quicker.  So Wawang Lake is where you’ll want to begin.

So it doesn’t hurt to have a few tricks up your sleeve when you head out on the water this season. Early season walleye are best located in shallow waters as they are not long out of spawning and are looking to stock up on feed to replace what was lost as they were preoccupied during the spawn. Shoals with gravel are excellent places to start looking, especially near the drop off to deeper water.

walleye schoolQuite often you will be able to visually spot them in these areas as the water is generally clearer and the walleye will stand out against the gravel bottom. In the water you are fishing, look for the edges of weed beds with a change in depth. This can be in a narrows were the deeper part of the water slopes up toward the bank, or on a bend off a point on the inside of the turn near a sand bar, walleye will be on the edge of these areas. The current is slower here and is a good place for harboring bait and acts like a snack table for feeding fish.

Sunken islands in the lake work well as do old break lines, humps and reefs. If you search the water that you will be fishing in, you should not have too much trouble locating these types of spots.  At Wawang Lake we provide a detailed, contour map of the lake that gets our guests started in the right direction almost immediately.  Supper isn’t too far behind.

Several types of baits work well for walleye. Favorites are crank-baits. Rapalas (straight or jointed) (floating or sinking) (suspending or rattle types). Next are the walleye divers, which imitate baitfish so accurately that walleye can’t resist them if presented properly.

illustration
Start using these baits with a stop motion, jerking the bait through the water instead of steady retrieves. Suspending lures are fished in the same manner, letting them sink to the bottom and then start jerking softly about a foot or so at a time. This allows the bait to sink slowly again to a predetermined depth before being tugged forward and up again. This motion represents smaller food chain species chasing and feeding which will attract larger fish and cause them to feed on the smaller fish.
Vertical jigging - 1
If fishing is more what you are after rather than angling try using minnows or leeches. Keep the leech stretched out as long as you can without ripping it.  Use a pickerel rig and hook a second hook to each. Do this by placing the second hook over the barb on the first hook and letting it trail.

Now you can hook the leech on the first hook and pull the tail down over the second hook. A bigger leech is more inviting than a small rounded one. Be sure not to have more than four hooks in total on your rig!

For trolling spinners or jigs with a larger hook use minnows and choose a medium to large minnow. Hook through the mouth, then out the gill, turn the hook then hook through the top of the head just infront of the doral fin.   This allows the minnow to swim freely and walleye often will mouth the bait, turning it and playing with it before swallowing it. Watch closely for light taps on your rod or float, and be prepared to set the hook at this point.

3 WAY

If trolling or cast retrieving is your preference then try using a three-way swivel on your line with the bait trailing, and the center swivel used to attach the weight. Do this by tying on about one foot of lighter line to the bottom eye of the swivel. The lighter line will break off easier in the event of a snag, saving the rest of the line. I use about four feet of line from the swivel to the bait, giving the bait lots of freedom to move side to side or up and down when retrieving the cast or trolling.

walleye_catch

The foregoing methods are pretty much fail safe, but it remains that walleye are as challenging to fish as they are good to eat. So the best advice is to get out there and try it for yourself. Enjoy the day and the fishing will fall into place!

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