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Where’s the best place to find walleyes in late summer? Wherever the walleyes are feeding - that’s where! In this, the hottest part of the season, a walleye’s metabolism is running as high as it’s going to run all year. That’s what makes now such a great time of year ...
In the early part of the season, trolling shallow water for walleyes can be very effective. This takes a much different approach than you might normally use when trolling for walleyes. First of all you’ll want to use use smaller, more subtle action crankbaits this early in the season.
Trolling is a popular walleye presentation and also a fishing method practiced with a wide variety of fishing lines. The problem is, most fishing lines don’t have the necessary properties to make them “good” for the job.
As summer begins to wind down and the season edges toward autumn, walleye location and activity level makes a transition. Fish begin to move off the flats and begin to congregate near sharper breaks. They’re not exactly “bunched up”, but they aren’t widely scattered over a piece of structure either.
I like to use 3 way rigs for two reasons. First, if I am fishing in current and want to stop and go with my rig. It is pretty common in a river to want to go cross current, hold in the current or even slip backwards with the current to keep your bait in a small zone (for example a wing dam, rock pile or hole). A three way rig is great for doing that whereas a bottom bouncer would have the problem of falling over (and either snagging or allowing the bait to snag).
There are advantages for both Offshore Snap Weights, XPS Keel Weights and I use each about 50% of the time.
It’s long been a popular tactic to incorporate “S” turns into a trolling pattern. By doing this, more water is covered on each pass, and the turning motion changes the speeds at which the lures are running. As the boat changes direction, outside lures speed up, and inside ones slow down.
The first thing every walleye angler should have in their tackle box is what anglers on the walleye circuit call “The Troller’s Bible”. The actual name of this book is Precision Trolling by Mark Romanack. This book contains the dive charts for hundreds of the most popular crankbaits in the walleye world. The book is simple to use. First if you do not know the crankbait you are using, there is a life size picture at the top of every page, so can just match your bait to the picture. To use the chart just find the depth you want to run your lure on the left side of the graph and follow it over to where it falls on the dive curve and then follow that point down to the bottom of the graph and that will give you how much line you should let out to get that lure to run at that depth.
So what makes muskie trolling such a “traditional” pattern this time of year? It’s certainly not related to structure; on Lake of the Woods the best trolling spots tend to be steep rock drop-offs and walls near deep water where as on Green Bay the biggest muskies come from trolling large relatively featureless flats. What these two systems do have in common however are hungry muskies, and hungry muskies want food. Find their preferred forage, and you’ll find the fish you’re after.
Where do you typically begin your walleye fishing season every year? If you’re like most of us, it’s on a river. The walleyes are there to spawn and the bite is predictable. Now that we are approaching the later stages of the season, that river may again be a good bet to find some great walleye fishing. Look at it this way … the walleyes don’t just show up in those river spots in the spring. They actually begin that migration in the fall. That means your best favorite “spring” walleye river is loading up right now with hungry, aggressive fish. On top of that, those packs of boats that you competed against for fishing holes last spring are gone (most of those guys are either hunting or at home watching football). So face it; if you’re not heading back to your favorite walleye river in the fall, you’re likely missing out on some fabulous fishing!
Late summer can be a tough season when it comes to catching walleyes. It reaches its peak with hot, muggy days and warm sultry nights through much of August, and then as September nears, it takes a drastic about-face and swings toward the fall season. It’s one of those transition periods that proves difficult for many anglers looking to score consistently. “Hit and Miss” fishing this time of year is often blamed on everything from “Dog Days” to “Turn-Over”, but the biggest problem is most anglers are not fishing the right structure. The key could be as simple as “Think Sharp” … that is to say, concentrate your efforts on sharp breaking structure.
In this, the hottest part of the season, a walleye’s metabolism is running as high as it’s going to run all year. That’s what makes now such a great time of year ... aggressive fish that are eating all the time. For years we have heard old tales about how tough fishing can be during these “Dog Days”, but in reality, if you’re not catching fish, it’s because you’re either not in the right place or you’re using the wrong approach. To find them, find their food source. Most of the best summer walleye fishing will key on either Open Water Basins or Deep Structure. While these are vastly different locales, your best choice of presentations will be the same for each ... trolling crankbaits.
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Though the calendar doesn’t say so yet, weather forecasters count the time around Labor Day as the start of autumn. Walleye fishermen can attest to the truth of that. Fish are no longer scattered in their summer haunts. Trolling structure or fishing shallow weedlines produce fewer and fewer walleyes. Days are shorter. Nights are cooler. The transition has come.
It seems a little complicated at first glance, but tro
Navigating the open-water walleye season is like competing in an off-road race.