Just a quick note to the wise, but this late walleye bite out on Erie seems to be happening on some old favorites. The Golden Nuggets and the old standby, the venerable Erie Dearie. Drifting seems to be taking some nice eater sized fish just outside of Brest Bay. So if you have them, use them, if not, get some and break out the crawlers!
Archive for the ‘Walleye Fishing’ Category
When the walleyes cannot get to your hooks because the silver bass and white perch keeping stripping live crawlers off your hooks, its time to switch up a lil bit and tilt the odds in your favor. Sure you have read it before on here, but this is that time of the year when the swipers are in full action. Put on a plastic worm, like the Impulse Nightcrawler from Northland Tackle and put more fish in the boat.
Its seems today the most popular past post being read about walleye fishing is tying up your own crawler harnesses. I am just going to pop off three quick companies that can be found in your local store, at a fishing show, or on the web. A fouth, Silver Streak is also an excellent choice, but unless you go to a show that they are at, you really are at the mercy of the local bait shop. Usually the sizes are wrong, and the newest colors are not carried, but still an excellent company to buy from.
One blade maker that can be found just about anywhere is Northland Tackle, great source for generic blades that simply catch fish. My fave the last two years has been a silver blade with bright fluorescent pink, believe its called violet in the catalog, but it catches fish with some pink and purple beads rigged on it. They also make a nice purple, a green and a chartreuse that would pass for most company’s anti-freeze.
Next up is D&B Fishing.com, nice selection of blades, lots of choices and the prices are nice.
For the best selection in the sizes that matter, #4 and #6 blades, then Big Eye Custom Lures is my choice on the web. So far this year Confetti, Paula’s Pride and Emerald Shiner have been working really good.
This past weekend proved three things to me, one the health of Lake Erie’s fishing is outstanding, two the fish are scattered out of Brest Bay, and three, eight is not enough, might as well go nine rods out.
Got out Friday for a quick fish to try and locate some walleyes. Ended up catching four keepers and through back nine youngsters ranging from nine to 14.5 inches. It looks like there are plenty of little ones in the lake to be caught in the years to come. That day it was my neighbor and I and we ran a traditional six rod program with three Church Tackle Walleye Boards on each side.
Saturday a good friend of mine Kyle, who I used to work with in Dundee came out for the day with us on the lake. Kyle was my first ice fishing partner in the old Clam Ice Team series of Super Trap Attacks, great guy to fish with, and we always seemed to be on the same page when it came to fishing. Since we are allowed three rods a piece, it was time to employ the new Stern Planers from Church Tackle, the TX-007′s. These unique boards allow you to run lines behind the boat, actually targeting the fish you see on your graph, and Saturday….the graph was full!
With nine rods set in the program, we started chatting it up about old and new times, just catching up. With all the rods out, we started talking about how it reminded of us of trolling down south for crappie, what they refer to as “spider trolling”. We could not exactly steal a name already taken, and with six 8 ft rods, plus three 9 foot rods poking out all over the boat, it wasn’t long before we settled on calling the spread the “Porcupine” set up. Here is Kyle pulling in one of the 9 fish we caught on Saturday, this one on a 007.
The TX-007′s are a great tool, would say a great luxury to have as an option in the boat, but just after a few trips this year I realized that they are a must have tool in the walleye arsenal. Saturday they took three of the keepers that we caught. That means they caught just as many fish as the Walleye Boards we had set in the spread. Now the stern planers are unique in that they don’t really sink like the inline boards will with a big fish, they take up the line between planer and the rod. You will see them “chug” back if you pay really close attention, but will be honest its not easy to notice with a full spread of boards out on the sides too. To remedy the issue, you can either set the drag next to none and let the clicker on the Daiwa’s be your alarm or get a softer rod. I went with an 8’6″ downrigger rods, because the smaller fish just will not pull out the line enough for you to hear the clicker signal a fish on. The softer tip on the Daiwa Heartland rods that I chose allow you to see even the smallest white perch at the end of your line. Absolutely love my St. Croix Premier Glass board rods, but they were just too stiff for this application.
It wasn’t long after we set up in 27 foot of water that we had our first fish on, and coming back to the boat with the double action flag down. We hit two fish right away, and poked a few more here and there during the first drift. By the end of that trail the sun was up and the fish that we had been catching up high and gone to the bottom. That thought was confirmed by another friend who worked with us at Cabela’s who said he had switched to bottom bouncers and started to clean up the rest of his limit pretty quick. We sank the 2 oz Bass Pro Keels to the bottom, running them anywhere from 30 to forty feet back of the boards depending on the depth we were at. By the paint missing on the bottom of the keels we knew we were achieving our goal of targeting the bottom of the lake, that and we started to pull a zebra mussels in, as well!
Hot blade of the day was a white based #6 colorado from Big Eye Custom Lures, called Confetti. Up high, or dragging the bottom, the blade took five of the keepers and a number of throwbacks. Friday and Saturday, if any indication, had good signs that the fishery is in good shape with all the sub-legal fish that got thrown back in to grow some more. Not that I don’t like the occasional 6 to 8 lb fish to keep things interesting this time of the year, but on this side of the lake during this time of the year is really when you start putting those good eating fish into the freezer.
Best speed seemed to be 1.3 to 1.4 mph. We tried going a bit faster, and even up to 1.9 mph to keep the silver bass and white perch off the hooks, but the walleye just did not want a spinner rig going that fast it seemed. We dropped back down on third and final pass, weeded through some more little ones and put our last two fish in the box for the day. Not the best day, but a great day on the water with a couple of really good friends. Best fishing depth was 27 down to 24 fow, and then we would pick up and do it again. We even picked up a couple of bonus perch, one we kept, the other had no business hitting a #8 indiana blade!
The strawberries are in, just picked this bowl full right before the cloud burst came down. There are so many things you can do with my favorite fruit, but being the angler I am, I thought what can I do with the berries and walleye. So being the well versed cook that I am, I “Googled”…yes I cheated… a lil bit!
This is what I found and it sounds really good, walleye with a strawberry salsa. Sounds easy, which is good for me, and I can almost do it right now with the ingredients found in the house, but for the basil leaves.
Here is the link if you want to try it at home, I expect pics if you do!
After one fiasco on the water after another this spring, we finally got out and made the last few weeks forgettable. Fishing the Detroit Beach Boat Club’s tourney, with some good friends, on a beautiful day to be fishing can have that effect. The screen on the graph was literally stacked from the middle of the water column to the bottom.
We picked off 21 walleye through the day as we mostly trolled a Northeast drift from in front of Stoney Pointe and back inside of Brest Bay. Three of the fish were sublegal 15 inchers and were thrown back. The most productive pass was the first one of the day. Got the boat lined up in 25 foot of water and finished off in 19 foot, with 8 fishing going in the box. Through the tackle box at them trying to get a blade pattern down on the spinner blades. We settled on Big Eye Custom Lure’s Emerald Shiner and as the day progressed racked up a few more fish on Confusion and an Anti-Freeze Mixed Veggies pattern from D&B Fishing.
Three guys in the boat meant we had 9 rods in the water, the old Crestliner must have looked like a porcupine to those driving by with all the St. Croix’s we had up in the air. Besides the six Church Tackle Walleye Boards off the sides, yesterday was the first true test using the TX-007 Stern Planer boards. They passed with flying colors, check out the first picture up above and you can see the orange cones in the water. The patterns didn’t matter as to how far back we ran them, but I would say 50 feet behind the boat is a good place to line them up. All you had to do was set the depth with Daiwa’s, clip on the 007 and let them drift back into position. Of the 18 fish that went into the box, five came off the stern boards, almost the same amount as the side boards took in.
At one point we had doubles and triples going off, must admit after last fall’s great fishing…..I missed it. We did have our fair share of junk come back to the boat and although the white perch, silver bass and sheephead kept us busy, the walleye were not ready for the plastic worms. When it gets really thick they will take a 6 inch Northland worm just as well as live bait. It has to be the competition down below for the food that triggers that type of bite.
Ok to recap, what did I forget to mention. First off, 1.3 mph was the ticket for triggering our bites and I used 2 oz. keel weights from Bass Pro. Anywhere from 20 to 35 ft back worked well. We ended up taking 3 rd place and catching/winning the big sheephead prize. The Detroit Beach Boat Club members were great hosts, dinner was delish and looking forward to doing it again next year!
Really nice new video of Church’s new TX-007, Stern Planer Board, in action
You have done everything right, you have a walleye on the line and to borrow a term from the football world, its time to play prevent defense. When I see a defense drop back to stop the big play, I cringe watching the opposing team chew up yardage underneath while moving down the field into field goal range. In the world of walleye fishing, prevent refers to not pulling off a knucklehead move and allowing a walleye to come off the hook. There are several things you can do to prevent this tragedy from happening.
Rod angle is the first and it applies after you take off your board. Once I remove my Walleye Board and crank the reel down while lowering my rod tip it is critical not to move the rod while the fish comes in. People have the notion that they have to help the guy netting by lifting the rod up to bring the fish closer to the surface….WRONG. More walleye come off the hook doing this than at any other time during the process. Let the person work the net and eventually you will get that fish in the box.
Since I started talking about nets a little bit already, lets stay focussed on the net itself. Most often the first mistake when it comes to the landing net is in the store where you bought it. Yes, before you even get it wet, that first mistake is often made by the angler while purchasing it. Like some other things in life, size does matter and the most common mistake is purchasing a net that is too small. It is true that probably for 70%, maybe, that the walleye coming back to the boat will fit into a standard sized boat net. I like to leave nothing to chance, so while some really good nets are 20 to 22 inches across, mine is 26 inches. That is the trolling net and the theory I developed over time with that is by the time the fish comes back to the boat, it is somewhat played out and less likely to thrash about. My jigging net is the same sized hoop with a slight difference, and that is the next point in the topic.
When considering a net, it is crucial to also consider the length of your handle. My trolling net’s handle is 6 x 3 foot, which means without sliding it out its six-foot long, plus the size of the hoop. For most fish I do not need to extend the extra 3 foot, but it does come in handy on lightly hooked fish when you need to reach out and secure it right away. At the very least I think 4 x 3 ft would be the shortest handle variation to get. On the jigging net my handle is 48 inches long, more than enough to reach over and scoop up the biggest spring prize. There are some 72 inch handles out there and if you have the room and the storage, by all means get it! If you get a 4 x 3′, you should be well equipped for both jigging and trolling.
Depth of net can also be critical, and 30 inches seems to be a nice balance in the size range. As you hand over hand or pull the net straight back, it pushes the fish down to the bottom with little chance to escape. For close range, it also gives you the ability to flip the net over enclosing your prize. I had the 42 inch net on the Mag Walleye Net from Beckman and honestly it was just too long and the holes in the mesh were really too big. Its bad when you have fifteen inch fish sliding out the side. Found a great replacement on Frabill’s website and both problems were solved.
I could go on about line, and then on to hooks, but its been done to death by others. Ten to 14 lb test is plenty for just about any Great Lake’s location. If you are free of sharp rocks, or are not directly plowing through the zebra mussels then 10 lb works great, if those conditions do exist, do not be afraid to beef it up a bit. The walleye really do not care 98% of the time.
Hooks, for the most part can be covered in one size and shape, #2 octopus. That size will get the job done, and do it well. You can play around if you want, I like a #1 as my first hook behind the beads and then trail two more on the snell with #2′s. Some run a #1 or #2 with a #8 or #10 treble trailing. I love the sickle style from Matzuo because the hook forms an anchor point where the fish cannot swivel off. It also gives me a better hooking percentage when I switch over from live bait (crawlers) to plastic worms when the silver bass and white perch are behaving like piranha and stripping the hooks clean.
It’s all about putting fish in the box, and these few minor tips will make it happen!
6am Start, Weigh-in at DBBC at 2pm $20 per person, non-members welcome Prizes for the following: … Most Weight – 5 Walleye Weighed (Only 1 allowed over 25 inches) Heaviest Single Walleye Heaviest Single Junk Fish– Sheephead, White Bass or Carp (Prize amounts will be based on number of participants) FISH DINNER TO FOLLOW $10 for those not in tournament FISHERMAN PLEASE DONATE YOUR CATCH FOR THE FISH DINNER Call Kurt Raschke with questions 734-497-8605
…..swivel that is. That is what they would consider a literary hook, now to reel you in!
Like many tools in an angler’s fishing arsenal, some things get used more than others. During the late 1990′s and the early years of the new millennium, few approaches were hotter than employing the three-way swivel to put walleye in the box. Unfortunately like many hot streaks the approach fizzled with advent of new trends in techniques. But, unlike skinny jeans the 3-way will always be an effective tool to lure your “fish” in. Seriously folks, highlighting a big butt and chicken legs is not the fashion statement you want to make! Ok, rant over
Seriously though, last night I came across a package of these from Cabela’s that I had purchased at least ten years ago, and it started the old hamster wheel turning. (Quick side note, mine are size #2 and have found them perfect for walleye fishing.) I took out eight of the swivels and started looking at how I might be able to re-invent some apps for fishing today. Honestly there really aren’t too many, but much like BASS, you didn’t have to invent the mousetrap to make it better.
Lets take a look at some of the more obvious ways to use them, and I will slide in some improvements along the way and see what you come up with, as well. If your first exposure to the three-way swivel was either through the In-Fisherman magazine or their television show way back when, the most obvious way to use the swivel is employ it with a dropper weight, six to 12 inches down from the bottom eye. Since there will not be a fish on the dropper, just about any size line can be used to attach your weight with. I suggest 8 to 14 lb test, but if working in a rocky or zebra mussel environment, it will not kill the fishing if you bump it up to 20 lb test if it gives you more confidence in the approach.
Now comes the middle eye where you run your lure from. You can use a crawler harness/spinner rig, but if you do you will run into some severe line twist. That is because even though the word swivel is used to describe the rig, when you have resistance pulling against the hammered insert, there isn’t much “swiveling” going on. Best way to remedy the problem is with three small pieces from the terminal tackle inventory. First you will need a #2 split ring to attach to the middle eye/insert of the 3-way. Next use a good quality swivel, it can be a “crane” or ball bearing if you want to spend the big bucks, and finish it off with a snap. If you have some trusted snap and swivels already in your tackle box, you can just attach that to the split ring.
Another approach with the dropper weight rig is run a small diving lure like Glass Shad Rap, or a bigger shallow diving lure like an Original Floating Rapala or Husky Jerk. This approach is a great way to get a shallow diving lure down to where the fish are, while giving them a unique action not seen when using a various deep diving lures. Your crank leader can be as short as three feet or the length of your rod. In my case, since I am using 8 ft St. Croix’s, my leader can be that long. It all boils down to ease of netting the fish. Your leader can be made up with 10 to 15 lb test. I prefer to make up my leads ahead of time, less commotion on the boat and saves you some fishing time. I make them up with a double loop knot at one end, and a #2 or #3 duolock snap at the other. The duolock allows the lures to swivel back and forth on the snap and doesn’t impede the action of the lure. For ease of hooking up the leader to the 3-way itself, the duolock snap also lets you easily attach the double loop knot to the middle ring of the swivel.
Recapping: Some of the three-way swivels can be rigged with just a snap attached for use with crankbaits, while others that will be used with spinner rigs are fixed up with a split ring and some combination of snap and swivel to reduce the line twist created by the lure. Now we get into the creative ways to put more lures in the “strike zone”. The beauty of the three-way swivel is that you can get more than one lure on the rod at the same time. It almost works like the handline shanks made famous on the Detroit River, but made with mono. It’s not the same approach, but it has several benefits.
First benefit is that you can run both a crawler harness and deep diving crankbait at the same time. Nothing new here, it’s the same approach that was also introduced to the masses through In-Fisherman. The diving cranks act like your weight, but what was not cited as a reason for using the unique combination is that during the transition in water temperatures, you can actually give the fish the choice of what they want on the same rod. This approach becomes more difficult when the walleye want the crankbaits at a faster speed, it becomes a conflict with the spinner rig up above where they tend to be run slower than the diving lure. It is a transition time “one trick pony” so to speak, but highly effective. Leads on this rig should be 3 foot on your harness, and six-foot on the crank.
Another way to effectively work the three-way into your approach is to attach a short lead in the middle, say a three-foot crawler harness, single hooked crawler with a Northland Sting’r, leech or even a minnow is your speed is slow enough. Drop your leader from the bottom, two to four-foot and then it gets interesting. You have several options with what to do next. You will be running a second crawler harness off the bottom eye with a weight of some type to run off the dropper. You can employ a bead chain weight for running high in the water column. Using the bead chain gives you several options when choosing what weight you determine is most effective for targeting suspended walleye. It could be as light as 1/4 oz, maybe a 3/8ths or has high as a 1/2 ounce to work effectively while hitting the top half of water.
Keel weights of one form or another work great in this application, you can also adjust the depths by weight and line let out, but now you still start talking about one to three ounces of lead getting you down fast to where the fish are located. The heavier the keel, the easier it is for you to dial in the amount of line needed to achieve the desired depth.
Early in the season, say inside Lake Erie’s Brest Bay where I am fishing 20 foot or less, a 1 oz keel works well while letting me put enough line behind my Walleye Boards from Church Tackle as to potentially not spook cautious “eyes”. Once most of the walleye have moved outside the bay, I will bump it up to a 2 ounce keel, and that seems to work well up to 28 foot of water. After that it is time to break out the 3 oz monsters. You can of course run a 1 oz all season long if you want to start there, but why have 70 to 90 feet of line out behind your boards if thirty to 40 foot will get the job done, and have less opportunity for the fish to get off the hooks.
And of course, the trusty dusty bottom bouncer can be used as well while targeting walleye hugging bottom under the mid-day sun. Any size from 1 to 4 ounces can be used under a board effectively while adjusting the double action flags. Again, a three-foot harnesses on top, three-foot down the bottom bouncer, and a six ft harnesses off the BB (bottom bouncer). That will make the whole rig manageable using an 8 to 9 foot trolling rod.
With another recap, the three-way swivel still deserves a place in any angler’s program when fishing for walleye. It is highly effective, and it just might help you get off the water sooner with limits in the box. And what else was there, oh yes…… for the love of God, NO MORE SKINNY JEANS!