Mid-Summer Walleye – A Time of Plenty
By Lance Valentine
Summer time! Hot weather, bugs, sunburns and AWESOME walleye fishing! While I’m not a big fan of hot weather, I am a fan of hot walleye fishing and mid-summer offers some of the best fishing of the year.
In the warmer waters of summer walleye need to eat more than they do in spring and fall since their higher metabolism digests food faster. With the highest population of baitfish of the year walleye can stuff themselves with real food and often ignore our presentations of metal and plastic, but with a few adjustments mid-summer can be some of the best fishing of the year.
Location in mid-summer can be tough to figure out since the fish have so many options, depending of what type of baitfish are in the waters you are fishing. Walleye can be shallow in green weeds or wood cover, roaming mid depth flats, chasing open water baitfish or hugging deeper structures. Finding active, catchable fish is the first thing we need to do every trip. Open water fish are easy to see on traditional sonar since they traditionally suspend. Walleye in deep or shallow cover are easy to spot with a little practice using SideScan sonar. Look for lots of walleye in a small area and the presence of bait before you start to fish.
Due to the options in location, you will need to be proficient with several presentations to consistently stay on the active, catchable walleye. Trolling, casting and even bobber fishing may be the best option and expect the best presentation to be different every trip, especially if the weather changes.
Trolling open water is my favorite way to chase mid-summer walleye. Crankbaits and spoons are my go-to lures, but spinners with a juicy nightcrawler catch lots of hungry summer walleye. Crankbaits can be trolled on mono or fluorocarbon line, gotten deep behind leadcore or inline weights or sent to the depths behind divers. Spoons seem to produce behind leadcore and divers like Jet Divers or Dipsey Divers. Crawlers can be fished behind inline weights, snap weights, lead core, divers and bottom bouncers depending on where the fish are in the water column.
Shallow cover can be trolled if you have enough room to run a lure without snagging. If the cover is too thick, stop and start casting! Crankbaits, jigs with plastics or bait, spinnerbaits or slip bobbers with a leech are all very effective ways to cover water and pull walleye from cover.
Walleye on deeper structure can be caught trolling if they are off the bottom, but for structure hugging fish try casting a glide bait or jigging spoon. Work these baits aggressively for active fish. If the fish are reacting to an aggressive approach, slow down your jigging motion or switch over to a jig/live bait combo or live bait rig to catch those finicky fish on the bottom.
Summer should be a great time to catch walleye. Grab some sunscreen, some bug spray, a case of water and head out to your favorite walleye water. Try these tips and you should be able to head home and crank up the grill or fryer for a nice walleye dinner…hopefully inside in the air conditioning!
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