W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by Colin D. Crawford
Northern Lights and ‘Eyes
by Colin D. Crawford
I've never been much of a night fisherman. My theory has always been that if you can't catch them during the day, you won't take them at night either. I know though, that there are a few people out there who catch ol' marble eyes day and night, with some of their best catches coming under the cover of darkness. In fact, some of the best fisherman around have taken their biggest walleye at night. That in itself is reason enough for me to make a few night trips for walleye every year.
When I arrived at the lake around nine a.m. the temperatures had already reached 78°F. The forecast called for 95°F. plus. There was no wind at all, and as the temperature rose the anglers who were out disappeared to cooler places. The lake was like a watery desert. My next plan was to get some rest and hit the lake in the early evening period of time to look for possible areas that I might want to wade.
The thing I like the most about chasing walleye at night is the simplicity of it. Summer is one time of the year when the fish are close to shore and accessible to anglers who prefer to fish from shore. Sure there are plenty of opportunities for trolling, but the action that can be experienced while wading or standing on the bank is very enjoyable.
Gear necessary for wading for walleye is minimal. One piece of gear where I won't cut corners is my waders. The water this time of year can still be cold, so I select a warm pair of waders, usually the neoprene style that insulates as well as fits tight.
Necessary lures are a Reef Runner Little Ripper, Cicada and a few eight-ounce Fuzzy Grub jigheads to be tipped with redtail chubs. When the walleyes are active and hitting aggressively throw the lures. If they're not on a strong bite, try the jigs. All the baits that will be needed can fit into a small easy-to-carry tackle box. Generally, if there are fish in the area, they'll hit. Lots of tackle just isn't necessary.
One of my favorite spots to look for nighttime walleye is near the entrances of a bay or harbor, especially if the entrance is narrow and there is at least seven to ten feet of water nearby. The key to a productive area is the presence of baitfish such as shiners. If minnows are in the harbor or the bay during the day, walleyes will visit at night. Check the area to be fished during the day and see if there is an abundance of bait. If there are lots of minnows, the odds are good that lots of walleye will visit later on.
These fish can be very patternable. It might take a while to get them exactly figured out, but once the best fishing time is established, the fish will feed at that time, or close to it, the next few nights. A change in weather is the primary factor that can throw off this timing.
The best fishing conditions are when the surface of the water is being disrupted. Sometimes conditions can get a little miserable for fishing, but the action frequently makes up for less than balmy weather. I've had great catches during periods of gusty winds and sleet storms. There have been times during nighttime summerwalleye excursions when the weather chased me from the water sooner than I wanted, but if the potential for action wouldn't have been so good; I probably wouldn't have been there in the first place.
Night fishing is a special tool to catch bigger walleyes than during
the day. Don’t underestimate the power of darkness to get these
monsters on the move. But, most importantly if you are tired stay in
bed that leaves more of these trophies for me. Also, if you are
interested in a guided trip, a personal media interview, or photo shoot,
please call 715-545-8347. I am located in Phelps, Wisconsin area, close
to several fishing lakes. See you on the water this season. Remember
NPAA #94. I hope to hear from you soon.
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Since August 1, 1998