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Walleyes in the Weeds or on the Rocks
 By John Campbell

A very interesting pattern develops on stained water lakes.  It revolves around sunlight.  Itís difficult to say exactly why, but on cloudy days, youíll catch most of your fish in the weeds; on sunny days, most will come off the rocks.  Itís 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.  Theyíre active and easy to get at, and you can usually catch a bunch.  If you fish the rocks on a cloudy day, though itís usually tough. 
 On the other hand, when the sun shines, the walleyes tend to bury down into the weeds during the day.  Theyíre no longer active on the edges.  Youíll have to pick and scrounge to get a few.
 But when the sun shines on the rocks, itís like magic.  The walleyes are active.  We believe itís a matter of better vision coupled with increased baitfish activity.  First, thereís 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 itís sunny the rocks are the place to be.
 Itís not a matter of the fish moving from the rocks to the weeds, or vice versa, depending on the sun.  Itís simply the localized population of fish responding to changing conditions.  One bunch is active; the other isnít.  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.

Lindy's New Vege Jig Lindy Little Joe Timber Rock Jig
Lindy 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.  
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 the hook.
 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 and weeds.
 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 arenít too bad.  It always pays to experiment with retrieves.
 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 crazy.
 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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