Catching Your Limit of Walleye
I first discovered my love of walleye on a remote lake in Canada as a child. I am a meat eater and always have been, so for me fishing is about the meal as much as the sport. I had never even tasted walleye up to this point, and boy was I in for a treat.
We were on a guided fishing trip and woke before dawn to get ready. We got the gear in the boat and headed out as the sun was coming up over the fog. Over the first few hours we caught fish left and right, and soon it was lunch time. Our guide found a gravel bar and ran the boat ashore. I did not have high expectations considering my fishing lunches normally consisted of soggy peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches.
The guide pulled out a camp stove with what looked like a big wok on top. He proceeded to slice onions and potatoes. Then he gutted and fileted the fish. I had never seen somebody process a fish with such precision. It was almost as if the meat just fell away from the carcass with one swipe of his blade. He breaded the fish and soon the sweet smells of a real short lunch were wafting my way.
After stuffing myself to the point of wanting a nap, we headed back out to catch some more of these wonderful fish. It turned out that my shore lunches were the events I anticipated every day. Because of that trip, I still order walleye almost every time I see it on a menu.
In my mind there are few game fish that taste as good as walleye, and for that reason I try to catch my limit each time I go after them. If I could keep my freezer full of these tasty morsels, I would be a happier man. In this article I will review a few of the tips I have learned for catching lots and lots of walleye.
To catch more walleye, you have to understand that the way they eat is different from other northern fish. Walleye rarely strike the bait or lure in a conventional sense. Instead they swim up to the bait, flare their gills, and inhale it along with the water around it. If anything interrupts this process, you will likely end up without a fish on your line. These tips are designed to accommodate the way the fish eats so you will catch more fish.
Tips To Catch More Fish
Troll with the waves – On most walleye lakes you will have some chop to deal with. If you troll against that chop it can hold your line taught. However, if you troll with the chop it will create a little slack in your line. This slack is needed to make sure the walleye can suck that hook into its mouth without pulling the line tight.
Drop the weight of your line – For most walleye, four to six pound test line is plenty strong to bring in the fish. In addition, a lighter line has less drag in the water. This allows your bait or lure to flow more freely in the water. When your fish goes to inhale the hook, there will be less resistance from the line allowing it to shoot into the mouth of the fish.
Change up your motion on crankbait – As you reel in a crankbait, you may get strikes from aggressive fish. However, a steady retrieval is not what the average fish is looking for. If you want to attract the most walleye possible, a stop and go motion works best. Reel it for a moment, let it set for a moment, and then reel again. This will give the less aggressive fish time to go after your bait.
Use a bouncing rig – If you are using live bait, you again want to create slack in the line. One way to do this is to bounce it along the bottom as you retrieve your bait. The best way to accomplish this motion is with a bouncing rig. It is an L shaped wire for your bait that has a sinker built into it. It is the perfect shape to bounce.
Use larger lures and baits – When a fish is striking, smaller lures are often better to ensure it will fit in the mouth of the fish. However, with the way walleye eat you need as much surface area as possible. Just like we wanted less resistance from the line, we want more resistance from the lure. This will allow the fish to suck it into its mouth easier.
Go easy on your jigging action – Often with walleye, long aggressive jigging motions will pull the bait out of the fish’s mouth. You do want enough movement to create some slack, but just pulling it a few inches off the bottom is fine. This will ensure that you hook the fish that do bite.
Any time you can better understand the behavior of a fish, you have a better chance of success. With such a distinctive way of feeding, making these adjustments will definitely make your approach more appealing for walleye. This means more fish in the freezer for me, and hopefully more shore lunches as well.