Finding and catching walleyes when it’s tough can be a tall task. In fact the odds may be so stacked against you that hooking up with a fish or two is all that can be hoped for. Trying times call for determination and a good deal of patience. A small amount of success can be extremely rewarding but it really doesn’t add up to all that much fun.
Good times on the other hand are very much appreciated and occur when conditions set up that tilt the odds in your favor. Conditions like heavy concentrations of fish located in areas that are easily identified and with a good chance of being active is what you’re looking for, and is a formula for a lot of catching and a whole lot of fun. Fortunately for us the good times are on their way and will come to those that have waited.
By early summer such is the case in many deep, clear reservoirs, with the stage being set for some tremendous action. As summer heat starts to push water temps up into the lukewarm range walleyes begin to bail out of shallower bays and creek arms where they often stack up on main lake structure. Deeper main lake structure like underwater points and offshore humps are some of the key areas that can hold the bulk of mid summer walleyes.
Finding them begins by taking a look at an accurate contour map and searching for structure lying close to the mouths of creek arms and bays. A major creek arm can act like a reservoir all on its own (if it’s large enough), and you may have to look at it like it is a complete and separate lake. The formula is still the same though, like a point or series of points lying in close proximity to the mouth of the bay or creek.
There’s another consideration to walleye location and it’s the fact that they have a propensity to move. A rule of thumb is that they pull out of the shallower bays and arms early on, and then slide towards the lower end of the reservoir as the season progresses. While that does happen to a certain extent, they don’t all move at the same time and there are usually fishable populations of walleyes that stay behind if the right conditions exist.
Checking with the local bait shops will get you pointed in the right direction as they really do want to see you catch fish.
To find out if they’re any fish using a point or hump you can find out quickly by taking a look with a good graph. By scanning up and down the breaks and across the top you’ll be able to see if they’re any signs of life, like fish holding from belly to the bottom to a few feet off and if there are any clouds of bait fish present. Marks that show up on top are usually "hot fish" and actively feeding. If you pull into an area and see good numbers of fish on top of a point or hump you could be in luck. Those hanging off the side may or may not be active and you’ll have to drop them a line to find out for sure.
There’s more than one way to boat July reservoir ‘eyes but high on the list is a bottom bouncer and plain hook and a crawler. Depending on how deep you’re working