For many anglers, summertime walleye fishing is bad business.
The species we love to pursue for most of the year has changed locations and feeding patterns. Walleyes become as difficult to catch as reliable stocks and bonds. It's a time of year when our investments are seldom justified by their returns. Simply put, it's a recession, and it grips many of the lakes and rivers where we enjoy productive angling during the spring and fall months. So, most anglers go into walleye shutdown, suspending operations until the economic climate improves. There are alternatives. With a little bit of strategic planning and a reallocation of your angling investment dollars, you can continue to profit while your peers are grumbling about their losses.
Phase I - Establishing goals
Developing a sound summer strategy begins in the office.
First of all, you need to determine the who, when, where, what, why and how much of your plan. Determine a budget and shape your trip around it.Most of us will be traveling to put this plan into action, so we may want to tie it into a family vacation. Better yet, make it a multiple family trip to further reduce costs. That, in turn, will help you choose a destination. Because of summer walleye migrations and behavior patterns, the most productive and consistent summer waters are major reservoirs and the Great Lakes that feature tremendous fish populations and the opportunity to catch a few trophy walleyes, too. If the wild West is something that interests you, consider Fort Peck in Montana. If you are looking to get away from it all, North Dakota's Sakakawea or Devil's Lake might fit your needs. If that's a little farther than you wish to travel, there is plenty to do in South Dakota not far from the Missouri River reservoir system and lakes like Oahe, Sharpe or Francis Case, although those bodies of water aren't known for kicking out many double-digit walleyes. The top summer Great Lakes destinations tend to be closer to major metropolitan areas with amenities like theme parks, professional sports and shopping malls. Green Bay in Wisconsin is one of the hottest walleye fisheries in the country these days. Saginaw Bay and the Bays de Noc in Michigan are superb locations. And it's hard to beat Lake Erie anywhere from Ohio to New York. Once you've settled on a location that is agreeable to all involved, organize your resources. Designate a couple of individuals to develop the entertainment agenda. Put somebody in charge of accommodations and meal-planning. Brainstorm the fishing intinery. How many people want to fish? How many boats and how much gear will be needed?
Phase II - Research
Unless you live near one of the country's major reservoirs or top Great Lakes destinations and fish them frequently, you will be well-served by doing as much advance scouting as possible. Things don't change that much from year to year when it comes to summertime walleyes on big water. Their behavior is fairly predictable, as are approximate locations