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The need for speed

Mid-summer walleye fishing can be slow on many bodies of water.
Despite a fish's need to eat more as water temperatures warm and activity 
increases as they search and follow forage, walleyes can become increasingly 
difficult to put in the boat or on the dinner table.
One reason is that nomadic existence. Despite the tendency to school in 
larger groups during the hot-weather months, those walleyes will travel far 
and wide to keep their bellies full. Another reason is the smorgasboard of 
available food. By now, a walleye's diet can include everything from worms 
and grubs to baitfish, panfish, crawdads, salamanders, frogs and who knows 
what else.
That makes it tougher to tempt and fool those fish in locations with 
tremendous diversity and numbers within the forage base. 
One solution is to fish massive bodies of water like the Great Lakes where 
walleyes have a harder time pinning down baitfish and remain eager to eat 
what anglers have to offer. A handful of other lakes, most notably Mille Lacs 
in Minnesota, have so many mature walleyes that the competition for food 
keeps the fish snapping at nearly anything that comes their way.

John Kolinski hoists up another fine walleye Those are exceptions. In most of our waters, the fishing simply slows down.  That's when I pick up the pace to put the hammer down on those waffling 
walleyes. It's effective for two main reasons -- because it produces reaction 
strikes from fish that are not actively searching for food and because it 
allows the angler to cover far more water and, in turn, contact as many 
cooperative walleyes as possible.

Often, it's not as difficult to find these fish as it is to catch them. The 
key is locating the schools of baitfish. On many river systems, the edges of 
the main channels are good starting points. In lakes and reservoirs, large 
concentrations of baitfish gang up on specific structure like reefs, humps 
and flats.

Lowrance X-15MT
Lowrance’s new X-15
Quality electronics like the Lowrance X-15 unit will show you where the  baitfish are hanging out. When you find them along a river channel, lead-core line and shad-bodied  crankbaits like Storm's Lightnin' Shad and Rapala's Shad Raps can be a 
dynamite approach.
Mercury Marine 4-stroke 9.9 .  Keeps me on the fish quietly and efficiently
Mercury 9.9 h.p
However, instead of pulling them along at 3-4 mph, I crank up my Mercury  four-stroke kicker and run them at 4-5 mph in search of reaction bites. If  they're bumping the bottom now and then, I know the lures are running where I want them.Perhaps the most important element of this presentation is keeping those  crankbaits tuned to run straight at higher speeds. Lures that ran fine at 2 
mph will sometimes spin or kick out to the side at 4 mph. Not only will the fish refuse to touch them, but some major tangles can also occur.
Tuning cranks is a matter of dropping them into the water alongside the boat 
and testing them at the speed you plan to troll. If they don't pull in a 
straight line, bend the eye on the lip or nose of the bait in or out until 
they run true. Keep in mind that changes in boat direction will increase the 
speed of the lures on one side of the boat, so pull them aggressively forward 
when tuning to make sure they continue to run straight.
Berkley FireLine so smooth and easy to handle its a no brainer The weight of lead-core line is a definite advantage when speed-trolling cranks. It will keep a properly tuned bait on a straight line far better than  mono or Fireline. I've found 27-pound test a good weight for most of my  needs, and I add a 10-foot Fireline leader for sensitivity, maximum lure action and a little stealth that straight lead line can't provide.
Another common situation in mid-summer finds walleyes suspended among schools of baitfish in lakes and reservoirs. Again, they can be next-to-impossible to catch with standard presentations. Pull something past them that looks just slightly different or more colorful than what they've been eating and many times they will chase it down and inhale it.Two approaches work well for these fish. If the fish are in 15 feet of water or less, Fireline will take your lures to any depth within the column and provide a long-lining presentation that can be important for spooky fish in clear or flat water.
Planer boards are a second option and can be used with either monofilament or Fireline, although using them with Fireline requires special clips that help 
the boards hold the line securely at the speeds you'll want to run. Off-Shore 
boards equipped with the spring-loaded Tattle Flags are an added advantage 
because they'll let you know if you pick up any debris or extremely small 
fish along the way.When the water gets rough, the planer boards go back in the storage compartment and long-lining is the right call.
I've also found that the old "match the hatch" theory doesn't always hold 
true with these nomadic, mid-lake walleyes. If they've been looking at shad 
for days on end, sometimes a crankbait with a different profile is the 
ticket. I've had good success at times pulling Storm Thundersticks in such 
Weeds and flooded stump fields attract summertime walleyes, as well, and 
burning smaller shad baits over the tops of them will often draw them out of 
the cover and put them into the livewell. When weather permits, planer boards 
are the ticket for this situation.
Before you give up on your favorite walleye lake during these dog days of 
summer, try a little speed-trolling. It can be your ticket to some fast 
action close to home.
E-mail John Kolinski

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