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Walleye Fishing Techniques

By: Dwight Schewe
Walleye fishing is a fascinating sport, and there is nothing like catching these fish to make a fishing trip enjoyable. The walleye is a species of fish that is native to Canada and the northern United States. The name walleye comes from the fact that the eyes of this fish reflect light, the way the eyes of a cat do. It is olive or gold in color, with the maximum size ever recorded of a walleye being 42 inches long and 25 pounds in weight. Walleye is considered by many people to be the best tasting freshwater fish, and sport fishermen seek it out as well as commercial fishing companies.

Best spring fishing action for walleye is in May and June, just after the spawn. Spawning occurs in water from 42 to 56 degrees. Look for walleyes to gather and spawn in gravelly or sandy bays, off shoreline bars, or in open water gravel flats. Moderate wave action is needed to assist eggs in hatching. Walleyes spawn over a three week period, primarily after dark, in water depths of 3 to 12 feet. On cloudy, breezy days, it is not uncommon to catch walleye in less than 10 feet of water. Walleye prefer overcast days over sunny days. Walleye can be very finicky and downright uncooperative at times depending on weather conditions and what they are feeding on.

Early in the spring walleye prefer live bait over artificial bait. You can do well fishing shallow water with leadhead jigs tipped with chubs or shinners. Make sure you troll or drift along the submerged weed beds. Fishing shallow rock piles and shoreline points can also provide good walleye action. It is a good idea to keep track of the wind direction each day. If the wind is in the same direction for 2 or 3 days you will do well fishing the windy side of the lake. The baitfish will move to these areas and the walleye will follow the bait fish to feed on them.

As the lake water starts to warm up the walleye will go into deeper water. You may do better changing from minnows to leeches. Leadhead jigs can still be used or you can use lindy-rigs. Lindy-rigs are a 2 to 3 foot long leader with a plain hook attached to one end with the other attached to a swivel with a slip sinker above it. You may find fish on tops of sand bars and sunken islands as the water continues to warm up. The tops of these bars and islands may only be good during overcast days. On sunny days you may have to fish the drop offs and edges of these bars and sunken islands. It is important that you add more weight to your line to stay in contact with the bottom. During the warmer days of summer you may want to change to nightcrawlers for bait. This time of year can be called dog days of summer. It can be tough to catch walleye during the summer months.

In the fall of the year as the water cools down again the walleye will return to those same shallow areas of the lake. During this time you will be able to catch them again with the jig and minnow combination. Trolling with crankbaits, such as shadraps can also be good. If you have a lot of sunny days in the fall, you may want to try fishing late in the day or evening. Fall fishing can be more challenging, but at the same time it can be rewarding.

Dwight Schewe is the author of this article and the owner of harborfishingtackle.com. He enjoys fishing and the great outdoors. You can visit his website at http://www.harborfishingtackle.com.
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