THE HOT JUNE WALLEYE BITE
Contrary to the Ole' Wives tale, June is one of the hottest walleye months. Walleyes are hungry and aggressively chasing forage in and around shallow structure.
In most parts of the country, the spawning season is well over and the shallows are bursting with fingerlings for ' eyes to feed on.
Forage is concentrating on shoreline, mid lake weedbeds, humps and bars. And where you find forage you will find Old Marble Eyes.
I look for flats on the wind blown side of the lake with plenty of weeds adjacent or near deep water. the better weedbeds have plenty of twist and turns forming inside/outside pockets. I like to start trolling crankbaits on the outside edge. Aggressive walleyes will stage out from the weeds , making trolling a viable option.
In addition to trolling , you can work two levels of structure. position the boat to follow the drop off to deeper water. I use shallow running crankbaits on the weedbed side of the boat, and either add a snap weight or use deeper running baitys on the deep water side to cover the drop off area.
Begin by letting the crankbait out about 50 feet before attatching the side planer board. Then let out enough line so the first planer will run within three feet of the weedline. divide the rods you can legally use between each side of the boat. Always set aside one to flat line directly behind the boat. I normally leave about 20 feet between the side planers and vary the lead and depth of the lures untill I find a pattern.
Use a snap weight to take the crankbait on the flatline to a depth slightly above the drop. This rig will entice a bite from those walleyes that are staged just over the lip and waiting to ambush wandering baitfish.
On the deep water side , I run the crankbaits at a variety of in order to cover the entire water column untill a preferred depth is found.
After picking off the active fish with crankbaits, it's time to switch to a spinner rig. This will normally bring a few more fish to the boat.
At this time of year, the water is generally over 50 degrees so I bring minnows, crawlers and leeches with me. Unless the hot bait has already been determined, I will put a different bait on each rig so the fish can tell me what they prefer.
Again I'll start with side planers to cover as much water as possible. However, I'll send the outside board a little closer to the weedline-normally within a foot or two. the combination of flashing spinner blades, colored beads and live bait will entice those active or neutral fish you missed with the crankbaits.
To really catch tose finicky biters, I slow way down and use a slip bobber rig. using a medium or medium light spinning rig with 6-8 pound test I'll thread on a bobber stop, slip bobber and jig (just large enough to balance the bobber when the bait is hooked).
On the first pass I'll pick an area, anchor my boat, (both fore and aft) and cast to within 3 feet of the weedline. By allowing the wind and waves to carry my bait to the weedline makes for a more natural presentation that Old Marble Eyes can't resist.
After fan casting the entire face of the weedline lift anchor and move just past your casting distance and start over.
The shore-line is'nt the only shallow water structure you'll find. Humps and bars also will produce fish this time of year. And all three tactics will work on these areas.
If there is one point to remember when fishing himps and bars, it's to start from the outside (deepwater) and work your way to the center or top.
I will plot my trolling runs to skirt the edge of the bar or cicle a hump. I like to work not only the deep water but send my outside planer to the shallow edge. I will use crankbaits and spinner rigs while trolling.
Slip bobbers are really in there prime when fishing bars and humps. position the boat upwind and set your bait so that it will hover about 6 inches above the top of the bar or hump. You need'nt cast out to far, but leave the bail open playing out line by hand as the wind and waves carry your offering over the bar or hump.
When it comes to early season open water there's little doubt that June might be just one of the best times of the year to boat big numbers of walleye.
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