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By Mark Leadens
Paying attention to details can pay big dividends, especially if you happen to be a walleye angler. There are times when even the smallest detail makes the difference between a good catch and a good skunking. Knowing that a small thing like a special lure, or a particular color, or certain type of live bait can make a difference keeps anglerslike me heading back to the bait shop to find an edge.
While it might seem a little crazy to some, it’s putting an extra fish
or two in the boat for someone else. Anglers that are doing the right things
in the right places for the most part are going to catch their share of
fish, but when things get tough or when old marble eyes gets a little fussy
it’s paying attention to details that will win the day. Understanding
why walleyes are where they are is an extremely important detail and really
should be explored, especially if you’re going to get the most out of a
situation. In most cases the answer can be found in the groceries,
as walleyes are almost always led around by their stomachs. Determining
what type of food source the fish are relating to will go a long way towards
uncovering productive details. For example, walleyes foraging on
schools of shiner minnows might be holding tight to a sandy shoreline early
in the season, or suspended out over deep water later in the summer.
If perch are the target walleyes might be found foraging along weed edges
early in the season, and may move to deeper main lake structure for most
of the summer period, and then head back to the weeds by early fall.
A forage base that consists of smelt or alewives may keep walleyes holed
up miles away from anything considered “classic” walleye structure, and
where they can be expected to be found suspended for most of the open water
season. Once you’ve determined what they’re after it’s easier to get a
handle on where the
On the other hand it might mean nothing more than an extra fish or two at the end of the day, but what if that extra fish happens to be a real trophy? Tournament anglers get pretty well wrapped up in lure color as they know the right bait with the right color can turn into a big payday, and is why they have boxes full of different shapes, sizes, and colors of just about every jig, crank bait, or spinner blade there is. Getting caught without the right gear can be embarrassing and painful, not to mention the financial implications.
How walleyes respond with or without cloud cover is another seemingly
minute detail that can actually make a difference. You might find
that a hot bite shuts down absent any cloud cover, or visa versa.
Or that they prefer a particular color when the sun is out and something
completely different when the clouds take over. It’s all part of the program
and you can easily see that sweating over the small stuff might be well