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Pressure Cooker Walleyes

In this modern era of walleye angling, pressure is becoming more and more of a factor. To continue to be successful, anglers will have to learn to adapt. The alternative is fewer fish found and boated, an increase in frustration, and a serious decrease in the quality of the overall experience. Let’s face it; A quality 
experience includes catching at least a few fish. After all, how many great trips can you recall where you caught absolutely nothing? 

The country’s top walleye waters are no secret, and are receiving more than their share of attention. You can see it in the lines at the bait shops, at the boat ramps, and on the water: Hordes of anglers trying to get their share of the fun. Who can blame them? That’s what we’re all after. 

The problem you’re often faced with in situations like these, is the fact that there are only so many fish to go around, even on the best of waters. The question then arises; Should you do like the Romans are doing? Unfortunately, doing as the Romans do seldom yields satisfactory results. That’s the bad news. The good news is the fact that there are things you can do to get past all the pressure (and the Romans), and help set the stage for a more memorable experience. The first step to dealing with pressure, is stepping back and taking a few moments to look at the whole situation. Considerations like where, and how, the majority of anglers are fishing, are the first things to analyze. 

Rick Olsen the author with a Pressure Walleye Understanding the “where” can give you on idea of what the walleyes are keying on, which may lead you to similar areas, with out the congestion. Look for areas that possess the same characteristics, 
like similar depth and bottom content. Another consideration is wind direction, which can have a definite effect on where active walleyes can be found. 
Even if the secondary areas don’t quite match up, they still might produce. And even if there are fewer fish present, you might be better off having all of the biters to yourself, instead of sharing them with the masses. One thing to realize when looking for alternative spots, is the fact that you will never find all of the 
walleyes doing the same thing, at the same time, in the same place. While the crowds may have found where a lot of activity is taking place, there’s a good chance the same thing is happening somewhere else. If the options are limited and you feel you have to join ’em, there are still alternatives. One of the effects that a lot of activity ( like a herd of boats) can have on a school of fish, is to shut them 
down, or push them deeper. Looking deeper under similar circumstances is almost always a good idea, and can put you miles ahead of the crowds. 
Ray Marine L 750 graph
Ray Marine L 750
A quick look with a good graph will give you an idea if your headed in the right direction. A high quality graph, like the Raymarine 750 will help you locate deeper running fish, and can be especially helpful with ‘eyes glued to the bottom. Without the necessary definition, bottom hugging fish are easily missed, and can blend in with the bottom. 
Although walleyes glued to the bottom are often thought of as being inactive, it’s not always so. And even if they are a little sluggish, chances are that at least few can be tempted into taking a bait. The key is knowing they’re there, and concentrating your efforts where the majority are found. Another option to going deeper, is turning a 180 degrees and heading for the shallows. Walleyes are often found in extremely shallow water, and is an option that should always be checked out. The likely hood of a shallow movement is increased by low light conditions, dark or stained water, or plenty of wave action that is busting up the light and stirring up the bottom. If you’ve tried going deeper or shallower, and feel you have to join the crowd, there are still a few things you can do to get your fair share of the action. An option is to vary your presentation to the standard fare being offered by most everyone else. For example, if most of the anglers are live bait rigging with leeches; Try a crawler, or a minnow, or visa versa. Another option would be to use what they’re using, but do it differently. You could try speeding it up, if everybody is moving slow, or slow it way down, if everybody is moving fast . Other options include using colored hooks, rattle baits, trying different colors, using crankbaits instead of spinners, or spinners instead of  cranks, and varying your retrieve or trolling run to create more of an erratic action. The idea is to give ol’ marble eyes a different look, and something he isn’t used to seeing. The thing to remember is that just because everybody is doing it, doesn’t make it right. There could easily be a more effective method for getting the job done, it’s just that no one has figured it out yet. 
Once you’ve found a productive alternative, it would be a good idea to keep it under wraps, or you’ll soon find yourself surrounded. If you have an audience, you better leave the net on the bottom of the boat and bare hand the fish, on the opposite side of the boat, and act as nonchalant as you can. If you’re working 
something different, by yourself, you can bet you’re being watched. Trying to find alternative methods can leave you feeling like the Lone Ranger, and a little conspicuous, but don’t let that bother you. Its’ the key to good and even great catches, and part of the program. Finding fish on your own is extremely satisfying, and make you a better angler overall.

Rick Olson 

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