Lodging food and more
Walleyes in the Weeds or
on the Rocks
By John Campbell
A very interesting pattern develops on stained water lakes. It
revolves around sunlight. It’s difficult to say exactly why, but
on cloudy days, you’ll catch most of your fish in the weeds; on sunny days,
most will come off the rocks. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but
it holds remarkably true.
On cloudy days walleyes rise up near the tops and out to the
edge of weeds. They’re active and easy to get at, and you can usually
catch a bunch. If you fish the rocks on a cloudy day, though it’s
On the other hand, when the sun shines, the walleyes tend to
bury down into the weeds during the day. They’re no longer active
on the edges. You’ll have to pick and scrounge to get a few.
But when the sun shines on the rocks, it’s like magic.
The walleyes are active. We believe it’s a matter of better vision
coupled with increased baitfish activity. First, there’s increased
light penetration through the water and more light reflection off the rocks.
The rock fish can see better than usual. Second, increased light
penetration spurs more algae and plankton growth, and, therefore more walleye
movement. Rocks may even warm up a bit. There may be
more to it than that, but whatever the reason, when it’s sunny the rocks
are the place to be.
It’s not a matter of the fish moving from the rocks to the weeds,
or vice versa, depending on the sun. It’s simply the localized population
of fish responding to changing conditions. One bunch is active; the
other isn’t. Tomorrow things may change. Be aware of the triggering
effect of sunlight and concentrate you efforts accordingly.
The stained water demands lure choices that trigger by both sight
and sound. Since you should work over, though and along the edges
of weeds and down among the rocks, you should select a limited number of
lures that will do all of the above. All you need is a very simple
tackle assortment to catch these fish.
The two basic types of lures that I use to fish rocks and weeds
are jigs and crankbaits. Both of these simple to use lures allow
an angler to rip and rustle through weeds, or do a job on the rocks.
And, both give you sight and sound that is so critical in stained water.
The Veg-E-Jig is a great example of this type of jig or you might want
to use a Lindy Timb'r Rock jig. Both of them are super in snaggy
rock filled areas because of their seven-strand wire weed guard that protects
Timb'r Rock Jig
|Stick with jigs in the 1/16, 1/8, and 1/4 ounce ranges, in two basic
styles. One type is the standard round jig. The Fuzz-E- Grub
jig is a perfect example of this type of jig. This style jig can
be use dressed with plastic or used plain with a stinger hook. The
second type of jig that I prefer is a wedge shaped head. Any jig
that tapers to a point of the head is relatively weed free.
Add the dressing of your choice to any of these jigs. A
3 inch fathead minnow hooked through the bottom jaw and out the top of
the skull is remarkably tough and can be worked with ease through rocks
When walleyes are active simply cast out and swim the jig across
the tops of the weeds, occasionally touching the tops. When you get
to the weedline, let it fall down the edge and rest on the bottom.
Pay close attention to the slightest twitch because it may be a walleye
sucking in the jig.
For less active fish, you will have to go into the weeds.
Use a slightly heavier jig like a 1/4 ounce jig and let it fall into the
weeds. Let it sit. Jiggle it. Rip it a few feet and let
it sit again. You have to make some noise.
Rock walleyes are easier to get at. If possible, stick
to the 1/16 or 1/8 ounce jigs. They are far more snag resistant than
heavier 1/4 ounce jigs and work better in rocks. Swim, slide , or
crawl your jig across the rocks or give it a few quick hops. Try
letting it sit if the snags aren’t too bad. It always pays to experiment
The flash and vibration of crankbaits makes them natural for
these conditions. The fish can sense them a long way off and be ready
to strike as they approach. All in all, they are far more effective
on walleyes than most people realize.
The crankbait that I prefer to use on weeds and walleyes is the
Husky Jerk. It is long and has a slow wobble. The color is
flashy and catches the eye of the walleyes and if you let it sit over the
top of the weeds and twitch it ever so slowly it will drive those walleyes
The casting approach, using jigs or crankbaits should do the
trick. Whichever tactic you use, a medium action Shimano spinning
rod and reel spooled up with some original clear blue Stren in 8 lb. test
should give you a winning combination for walleyes that are in the weeds
or the rocks.
Walleye fishing in the summer is great fun and I hope that you
contact me on the web soon. I can be found at www.walleye.info.
Hope to see on the water real soon!
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