The unpleasant thought of getting snagged may cause some anglers to cringe at the proposition of targeting walleyes in submerged timber. But in waters that have submerged trees as habitat, a population of walleyes can be found in the trees nearly year-round and catching them is completely feasible.
Submerged trees are often found in reservoirs and lakes where the water level fluctuates. In larger reservoirs, thousands of trees that lined the river before a dam was built may still remain rooted in the lake bottom, providing excellent cover for baitfish and walleyes. During periods of low water, trees, brush, and other vegetation grow along the shoreline. When above average precipitation brings the lake back to a normal or above normal pool, trees and brush are submerged and become underwater habitat for fish.
Trolling crankbaits with leadcore just over the top of trees or brush is a great way to tempt walleyes to rise up and take the bait. The challenge is getting crankbaits close enough to the cover to trigger strikes, but not so close that the baits continuously snag.
Using leadcore is a great method of depth control. It allows for positioning baits at a precise depth and location. Leadcore line features a thin lead filament running throughout the core of a braided Dacron line. It spreads the weight out over a long distance and allows for precise trolling depth that can be easily altered by varying boat speed. Leadcore also closely follows the path of the boat, which allows anglers to use electronics in conjunction with boat control to position baits precisely along key spots — like just over the treetops.
Once you learn how to use leadcore and where it positions your bait, based on how much line you let out, it’s easy to control where your bait is tracking in the water column. At 2 to 2.2 mph, for instance, letting out five colors of leadcore positions the bait down around the 30-foot mark, so if the trees top out at 29 to 30 feet, your crankbaits are right in the zone, occasionally ticking the tops of the trees.
To raise your baits, increase your boat speed until they are no longer ticking the tops of trees. Then slow your speed until the baits again start ticking the cover. After you get a feel for how leadcore responds to boat speed, it’s easy to speed up to raise your baits over the trees, or slow down to let them settle and work deeper.
Crankbaits will eventually snag if you let them dive deep into the cover. Even if a walleye strikes before your bait gets hung up, it’s extremely difficult while trolling crankbaits to pull a walleye from cover — particularly in deep water. Walleyes instinctively fight their way back to the cover, often swimming in and around branches until you have little chance of catching the fish or salvaging your bait.
Consider underwater current, especially when you’re trying to position crankbaits at a specific depth. When trolling against current or into waves, the increased water resistance on the line raises the baits. When trolling downstream or with the waves, crankbaits tend to dive deeper. To keep them tracking at the same depth in either direction, simply let out less line going downstream and more while going upstream.
Continued – click on page link below.