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Fishing Articles by Bob Riege
Cruising for Walleyes
By Bob Riege
How many walleye anglers out there have sat through countless seminars and watched T.V. programs where others have told us that when we fish for walleyes that we have to fish them very slowly? Sometimes it is necessary to fish very slowly for walleyes, especially when they're inactive. But there are other times when you'll catch a lot more fish by moving the bait quickly. When this happens, I like to change my methods a little. I've found that these little changes will sometimes pay big rewards.
If walleyes smash my bait as I am looking for them they signal to me that they want fast moving baits and they will chase anything that will swim. When walleyes react this way I change to fast moving baits, like spinner rigs, crankbaits, or jigs. Experiment until you find which lure type works the best.
Most of the time a jig will be tried first. If the fish are active, I'll put a Power Grub on the jig. These baits don't rip off easily, and I don't have to rebait after every walleye. Also, walleyes hit the Power Bait very well, especially when the fish are on a "good bite". Work the jig quickly through the fish holding area. Hop it or swim it, even snap the jig and don't pause as you usually would, but instead keep the bait moving. The theory behind this type of action is, if the walleye is serious about hitting your bait it will be there when you move it quickly. Many times when you are starting to snap the jig or swim it to you the walleye is already hooked. The strike will usually be quite firm.
Jigs often work best fished quickly along weedbed edges, or over shallow humps. When the fish are on spots like this, they're frequently active. Casting is usually the best way to work jigs quickly along these areas.
Crankbaits work well in the same areas as jigs for active walleyes, and the area over the tops of weeds can be added if crankbaits are being used. Jigs can be worked over weeds, but depth control is easier with crankbaits. Therefore, I prefer to use Shad Raps and Rattlin Fat Raps, because they simulate the minnows many of these walleyes chase.
Walleyes seem very eager to smash a crankbait that has just been ripped free from a weed. Don't get too concerned about the lure's color, but pay attention to lure size. Use the biggest bait that the fish will hit. When the walleyes are active, the bigger baits will often take the bigger fish.
Live bait rigs with spinners work well when the walleyes are in dirty water or down deep. The spinner throws more flash and vibration, and will lure fish from greater distances. An active fish twenty feet away from your bait might not notice a straight live bait rig, but will come over and hit a spinner rig for the sole reason that it's more visible and therefore attractive.
Work quickly with the spinners. You're looking for active walleyes, and times you have to cover a lot of water to find them. Vary spinner size according to water clarity. In stained situations, go with a larger, brighter spinner. As water clarity increases, try a smaller, more subtle color blade. Probably about a number 4 Rainbow Spinner in gold or the new crystal - flash will be a good selection.
Spinner rigs are usually most effective when trolled as they're a little cumbersome to cast. Usually you can set the hook as soon as the strike is felt.
Try fishing fast for walleyes when they're active this year, and I'm
sure you'll find that walleyes do hit fast baits.
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