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Fishing Articles by Perry Good
Spinning for Muddy Water Walleyes
By Perry Good
This spring in the Midwest we had very little snowfall and little spring rains to muddy up the waters, but like most things in the Midwest if you want a change wait a while and it will change. The last couple of weeks we have had a lot of rain and the muddy waters have given a few anglers some trouble getting a limit of walleyes.
One method that I find most enticing during muddy water conditions are spinners, for a variety of reasons. The spinner rigs we're talking about are the live-bait rigs with a blade and a few beads just above the hook. As the rig is pulled through the water, the blade turns, which attracts fish with both sound and added visibility.
There are some situations in which spinner rigs are more effective than others. When the walleye are active and spread out, spinner rigs produce very well. A spinner rig can usually be worked quicker than a straight rig, which is important if the fish are scattered. The faster you can move a bait, the more fish you can show it to. The blade will also attract walleye from a longer distance.
In dirty water, the fish obviously can't see as far. The blade will help in this condition. It throws flash and vibration, which enables the fish to find a bait much easier. In dirty water, use a blade that is larger and brighter than a blade used in clear water. Orange and chartreuse blades are good in stained water; silver and white are good in water that has more visibility.
When using spinners, snell length is important. The snell length is the distance from the swivel to the hook. When moving quickly, increase the snell length as a general rule of thumb. The faster you go, the lower the bait will ride. A faster presentation is usually called for in clear water, and you want the bait up high enough so the fish can see it from farther away. Also, walleye are more likely to go up for a bait than go down for it. In dirty water, the walleye will often be closer to the bottom. This calls for a shorter snell that will get the bait right down in the walleye's face.
There are a couple of little tricks I use when fishing spinner rigs in dirty water. First, I use one of the painted sinkers that comes with Roach Rigs. The painted sinker helps attract the fish to the area where the spinner rig will soon be. Usually, the spinner is no more than 20 inches behind the sinker in dirty water. That added spot of color the sinker provides can really help.
Lure selection in the form of crankbaits should appeal to the fish senses. They should be big lures that displace water and give off vibration, or rattle and they should be flashy with bright metallic finishes. A great choice here would be the Husky Jerk. It has all the ingredients for fishing mud lines, color, flash and sound. Plus it is neutrally buoyant and stays in the fish’s face longer.
To slow down your lure presentation a little use a jig tipped with a minnow. But don't get stuck in a slow pattern. Utilize extremes. Rip the jig back to the boat on one retrieve, then work the jig slow, bouncing it along the bottom on the next retrieve. My favorite jig in this situation is a 1/4 ounce gold fireball jig tipped with a minnow. I prefer the fireball because it is round and I can easily attach a stinger hook to the minnow and up my chances of catching a finicky walleye. When in doubt if you have contact with the bottom, increase the size of your jig and minnow. You might get hung up more, but you might also have a wallhanger on your hands.
I've also been using more 3-D Rainbow Spinners, which have a small piece of prism tape on the blade. The light-reflecting qualities of the tape seem to trigger the fish at times. This also works in clear water during periods of low light. I usually don't use many spinner rigs for walleye when the water is very clear and the fish are finicky. Then a straight rig will be more productive.
When that water muddies up this summer and gets more like coffee and
cream break out the spinning rigs and you will find walleyes in muddy
water conditions. See Ya on the Water!
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