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walleye, walleyes, jigging, jig, jigs
Red Hot Dog Day Walleyes
by Rick Olson

They say that timing is everything and when it comes to walleye angling that fact can be painfully apparent. April on Lake Erie, late May on Mille Lacs, and June on Lake of the Woods all add up to prime time walleyes and when good catches are the norm rather than the exception. The problem is the really good stuff doesn't last forever and sooner or later you're going to hit the wall, say around the first of August. 

The whole month of August can make for tough angling conditions on most prime walleye waters, but not all. In fact the action on a few specific bodies of water can really heat up, despite being stuck smack dab in the middle of the dreaded dog days. One of late summer's best bets for consistent action lies deep in the bowels of the western reservoirs like Oahe, Sharpe, and Sakakawea,  all of which can satisfy the urge for pursuing late summer walleyes. 

This particular type of reservoir has what it takes to keep your pole bent, and includes some deep clear water and plenty of walleyes. If you don't have the walleyes you just don't have enough potential to make it all worth your while. There are lakes that support a minimal number of walleyes and can produce decent fishing at times, but not now. Now is the time for the mega fisheries, and it's simply a numbers game. The more you have the easier they'll be to find, and the more you find the better the odds are that a least a small portion will be active. 

Finding active walleyes is always the key no matter where or when, but the first thing you have to do is find the mother load. Where you find the "mother load" can vary to a degree, but there are some basic rules of thumb that can get you close to your appointment with destiny. For starters, look towards the deeper bottom end of the reservoir to hold the lion's share of late summer walleyes. Typical seasonal migrations include an early upstream run followed by schools of fish filtering back towards the dam by late summer. Even early on when a good portion of the fish head upstream, there's some that stay put, and when the travelers meet up with the home boys good things start to happen. With all 
those fish stacked up in areas that are relatively easy to find the big picture starts to become a lot clearer. The big picture has big schools of walleyes holding on deeper points and humps, where they can be readily found with a good depth finder. It's a big part of the attraction and what really turns good anglers on, as they know how to get the most out of the situation. 

The Author reveals the secrets to getting
in on some of the season's hottest action
By scanning an area you'll quickly know if anybody's home, and if not, keep moving until they show up. There is no way you can catch fish where they're not, and time spent working an area with an empty screen is time wasted. With a graph like the Raymarine SL760RC you can run up and down the break of an underwater point or deep hump and see if any fish are using the area. The SL760RC has the definition to bust out the most minute detail, especially when you combine it with the new high tech digital Raymarine DSM 250. The DSM 250 provides for unequalled definition, and will actually allow you to see separate fish in a school.  Finding substantial marks is important, and the first step to a solid late summer catch. The next thing to look for is fish utilizing the tops of said points and humps, and where you're likely to find the most active ones. When walleyes move up on top it's for one purpose and that's to chow down, and if you're there when it happens you're in the right place at the right time. . 
The marks you see on the sides or at the base of a break may be active fish, but you're more likely to find the hot ones up on top. In most cases you'd be better off leaving a spot like that in search of a hotter batch, and returning later to see if they have moved up for a feeding run. If you find fish up on top you better enjoy it while it lasts because it won't be long before they have had there fill and move off . A hot bite can turn off at the drop of a hat and will become painfully apparent when the action comes to a grinding halt and the depth finder suddenly comes up empty. When it happens it's time to find greener pastures, but don't be afraid to come back later because you never know when it will all get started again. And so it goes with reservoir walleyes; If you're in the right place at the right time you can really make history. Once you've found some good marks on top of a likely spot, the next step is to put a few in the boat. You can get as complicated as you want but one of the quickest and easiest methods for extracting walleyes holding tight to structure is to drop a bottom bouncer with a plain snell and hook over the side and slowly work your rig right through the middle of them. 
Good light bouncer rods are baitcasting models in the six and half to seven foot range with light action tips like the Rapala Signature Series model SE80TR71ML1.  It's a 7'1" medium light action rod with a high modulus graphite blank that provides superior sensitivity and will help you to detect the lightest of bites. Lighter bouncers can make for more finesse and will also help with the light biters, but you'll need enough weight to get to the bottom and stay there. An ounce to an ounce and a half can be worked down to twenty to thirty feet or more but the real deep stuff may require up to three ounces depending on just how deep and how much wind and waves you're having to contending with. That plain hook will have to be holding live bait of some kind and a crawler tops the list, although there are other options. Other options include minnows, especially the chub varieties like red tails, creek chubs and leatherbacks, if you can find them. Chances are they'll be hard to find and rather expensive but they can be worth their weight in gold under the right conditions, and may hold the key to nailing a real hawg. 
Rick Olson

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