Making Good Choices To Catch Walleyes

Making Good Choices To Catch Walleyes

How many times have you fished the same rig or jig all day? How often have you used your favorite presentation instead of experimenting with one less practiced or preferred? Have you ever felt lost on the water, unable to choose a proper approach?

Guilty on all counts? Through preference, sheer laziness, or lack of understanding or direction, we avoid making choices, or make the wrong calls. Versatility can be a double-edged sword -- the luxury to be able to make choices, but with choices, it becomes necessary to make them.

Among the armada of versatile anglers float many who have difficulty selecting which tactics to apply. They have all the recommended gear, but can't put the maze of options into practice. The difference between tools and skills is that tools can be bought, but experience is needed to develop the skills to use them.

BASIC GAME PLAN


Establishing successful fishing patterns is a process, walleyes, bass, baitfish, etc., whatever your choice may be. Each time you fish, you run through a system of decisions: choosing a general area of a lake-river-reservoir, selecting appropriate seasonal habitat, determining how fish relate to it, choosing likely presentations and boat control based on fish position and mood, and then fine-tuning a presentation or switching presentations to maximize your catch. It's not leaving the dock with something tied on the end of your line and predetermining that you'll use that something all day, even if it was successful in the past. The smarter you react, the more fish you'll catch.



Presentation Spectrum

Different presentations have inherent blends of characteristics. Some cover water quickly, while others strain small spots where fish concentrate along edges or within distinct spots. Some extract fish from cover; others excel in open water. Tactics for triggering strikes typically incorporate higher speeds, while those used to entice bites from fussy fish often call for livebait presented at a slow crawl.

Some presentations are limited in scope, applying strictly to certain speed ranges and small areas: slip bobbers fished in and around cover at minimal speed, for example. Others require a minimum amount of speed to make lures work properly, like trolled spinners or crankbaits. Still others work at a wide range of speeds, such as jigs, which excel at everything from motionless, to subtle hopping, to snapjigging.


Prerig several rods with systems appropriate to the lake, river or reservoir you plan to fish. We suggest one precision-finesse system, one coverage system, and perhaps a third with characteristics of each. Then fish several likely areas to judge fish response. Once you determine that a certain presentation is working, begin fine-tuning it with modifications in sight (profile, color, flash, action), sound (vibration), or scent (livebait); or try refinements in the system itself, like switching to lighter line, smaller hooks, adding weight to achieve better depth or control, or speeding up or slowing down your coverage. But don't place too much faith in little things like color pattern or scent until you have the basic system in place. Appropriate systems catch fish; after that, refinements catch more and bigger fish.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

In-Fisherman

Here is a way to calculate prop performance with different props, a formula Boats & Motors

Technical Notes: Calculating Prop Performance

In-Fisherman - May 01, 2019

In-Fisherman Here is a way to calculate prop performance with different props, a formula

Blackened fish ready to serve with a side of okra and cucumber-red onion salad. This recipe is a treat! Fish Recipes

Blackened Fish Recipe

Tommy Thompson

Blackened fish ready to serve with a side of okra and cucumber-red onion salad. This recipe is...

Which of the ten is the best? You decide. Bass

10 Best Bass Fishing States In America

Matt Straw - November 01, 2017

Which of the ten is the best? You decide.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

Simms

Simms' Challenger Raingear

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products details the warm and dry features found in the new Challenger raingear being brought to market by the Bozeman, Mont. company.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at catching Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right in front of them. Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

Catfish are among the most popular groups of fish with over 7 million catfish anglers nationwide. Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Catfish are among the most popular groups of fish with over 7 million catfish anglers...

See More Stories

More Walleye

These open-water patterns will help you in your search for giant walleye. Walleye

Open-Water Strategies for Giant Walleye

Steve Ryan - September 23, 2019

These open-water patterns will help you in your search for giant walleye.

Triggering big fish is all about putting something down there that moves like animals walleyes eat. Walleye

Walleye Lures: A Shade Beyond Convention

Cory Schmidt - September 18, 2019

Triggering big fish is all about putting something down there that moves like animals walleyes...

Numerous studies continue to show that muskie stocking has little to no impact on walleye populations. Walleye

Walleye Issues: Esocid Factors

Cory Schmidt - October 10, 2019

Numerous studies continue to show that muskie stocking has little to no impact on walleye...

See More Walleye

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.