Walleyes relate to the weeds more often than many anglers would expect. Sure many times throughout the year they can be located suspended in open water, off main-lake rock points, and mid lake reefs, but during the late spring and early summer weeds can be ‘money’ for big walleyes.
As the vegetation grows and matures it attracts plankton, which also attracts baitfish, and in turn the walleyes and other predators. Not all weed beds are created equal so focus your efforts on emergent weeds that are adjacent to, or near deeper water. Regardless of where you think the fish might be, you will have to spend some time scouting, searching, and locating the schools; where’s there one, there are sure to be more.
Total Solutions Technique
“I just want to find one stupid fish that gives away the rest of the ‘intellectual’ types in the school,” Professional Berkley walleye angler, Tommy Skarlis says. “I like to start along a stretch of emergent vegetation throwing a heavier jig like a 1/4 – 3/8 ounce jig with a big four inch Berkley Powerbait Ripple Shad. With the noise and water displacement this presentation produces usually entices the aggressive fish to strike and work the bait in assorted fashions to determine what is going to trigger the fish into eating.”
“Once I have located active fish,” he continues. I will downsize my presentation to a 1/8th – 1/16th ounce jig tipped with a smaller Berkley Ripple Shad, or even a Berkley Gulp! 3” Minnow, (shad pattern for dirty water, and black shad for clear water conditions). I will also slow the whole process down; with the use of my trolling motor and electronics I will pick apart every nook and cranny hoping to catch every fish willing to eat.”
“The slower drop a lighter presentation will often be a triggering factor in itself,” Skarlis adds. “Spring walleyes are usually pretty aggressive, but a subtle change in presentation can make a world of difference. Be cool, groovy, and patient picking every apple off the tree.”
Total Solutions Equipment
“Under dirty water and windy conditions I like to use hi-viz line like Berkley FireLine 8/3 (8 pound test/3 pound diameter) in Flame Green. I watch the line as a bite indicator. I have also found that non-stretch line slices through the weeds better and is less likely to hang up,” Skarlis explains. “However, if I am missing bites I will switch to 8 pound test Berkley Trilene Sensation. The 8 pound test line is less likely to break off when the bait gets hung up.
Spinning gear is the best option for this type of presentation, 6’6” -7’ medium/fast action rods work best when matched with a spinning reel with a large spool, capable of quickly picking up line.