Lodging food and more
Just Truck'n for Summer
By Sam Anderson
Hot, humid weather in August or September makes one think that
if they could only hitch up the boat and jump into the truck fishing will
be better in large deep reservoirs in the west.
A reservoir is defined as an impoundment of water held back by
a man made structure such as a dam for a variety of uses. For a fisherman
it means a chance to fish some really deep waters and to have an opportunity
to catch a trophy walleye.
Most fish are opportunity feeders. They select food from a variety
of choices in the aquatic community. When an abundance of a particularly
choice food is available, they often specialize.
With either natural bait or artificial lures, the presentation
must be realistic. It should appear that the offering is part of
the normal food chain. Hunger is certainly a major motivating factor,
but fish also respond as predators and strike something that moves.
At times, they even exhibit antagonistic behavior when biting an intruder
to drive it away.
In deciding where to fish, consider the season, water temperature,
oxygen, and the type of structure. Try to determine where the natural
food supply is located. Once an area is selected, look for transitional
zones or edges as well as other significant features, such as a sloping
point or the outer fringes of a weedbed. Putting the puzzle pieces
together becomes a mental exercise.
When the wind blows on Oahe, Sakakawea, Fort Peck, and even Devils
Lake the waves pounding ashore loosen the soil and form a mud line.
Walleyes like to use this mud line as an umbrella allowing them to feed
in water as shallow as two or three feet deep. On calm days, however,
they prefer rock or shale on a sharp breaking, extended point. On
some days you may find the fish holding just below the first lip of a drop
off. Some days they are deeper. Thus, stair step drop offs
add to the attractiveness of a point, and on different days you may find
fish on any ledge down into 50 or more feet of water. The point is,
walleyes often prefer structural elements that allow them the most possible
options regardless of the weather. These are high percentage spots.
Any short, hard bottom point may hold walleyes on a given day.
But reservoirs like Oahe and Sakakawea have hundreds of short, hard bottom
points. You are better off passing up the short points and stopping
when you find a long point with several kinds of fish attracting features.
A good point might have a stair step ledge on one side, scattered rock
on top and shale bed lining the other side. The point’s shallow inside
turn may be soft bottomed, while the deeper outside turn might break off
into another smaller, hard bottom point. Such an area is almost certain
to hold walleyes.
The same principle applies to sunken islands, many points, stair
step ledges, and a variety of bottom conditions are generally better than
a smooth, gradually breaking sand hump. I might also mention that
an already good island is made all the better by the presence of a saddle.
This saddle is a dip between two higher spots of land. If the saddle
is connected to a prospective point all the better.
Don’t forget to check out some other productive areas such as
roadbeds, riprap, creek channels, stump fields, or isolated rock piles,
bars and rockslides.
Suspended fish are also common, and there are ways to take them.
Downrigging is an overlooked presentation option that’s dynamite on these
fish. When you are running across the lake, it’s a good idea to watch
your depthfinder for schools of baitfish.
The presentation of choice is a spinner. Color can be very
important. My five favorite colors for fishing reservoirs are fluorescent
orange or red, chartreuse, green, nickel and gold. Expect to find
definite preferences on certain reservoirs. However, don’t get hung
up on one specific color. Keep switching colors until someone finds
the hot color of that particular day. I use the Lindy X Change blades
to make this easier as well as selecting a blade size.
Blade size can also be an important consideration. Many
of my biggest fish have come on a #4 blade, which is slightly larger than
the standard #3 blade found on most commercially tied spinners.
While many fishermen prefer Indiana or Colorado blades, some
also like the willow leaf design. The Colorado blade seems to spin
at slower speeds than the others and big blades spin easier than small
ones. On those rare days when the fish are finicky and a slower trolling
speed is necessary, you are better off going with a # 4 Colorado blade
to get blade rotation at reduced speed.
I prefer to use a 7' to 7' 6" allows me to use my rod holders and gives
me the sweeping hooksets needed to get those reservoir walleyes on the
line. In most of the reservoirs you can use two rods and one of my
rods will be a dead stick. The dead stick will have all the hardware
of the one that I hold except the reel will be engaged and it will signal
a strike by bowing towards the water.
Lindy Little Joe
|For weight, use X Change bottom bouncers or snap weights. I prefer
to use the bottom bouncer because I grew up using them. They are
really designed for reservoir fishing, because the long wire finger keeps
the spinners out of the shale and rocks that will snag you up. The
L shape of the bottom bouncer gives the cam action you need as the probe
or finger hinges on a rock crevice and gives the impression that the bait
is speeding up and slowing down. This pause surge pause method of
presentation has captured a lot of walleyes in reservoirs. Spinning gear
is certainly adequate, but bait casting gear filled with 12 to 17 lb. monofilament
XL line is perfect. The baitcaster gives you more flexibility for forward
spinner trolling than spinning gear does. Leave the free spool button
depressed and place your thumb on the line. Set the drag loosely
and pump the fish to the boat, using you thumb to maintain constant pressure.
Walleyes are tenacious fighters, and a big fish will make several quick
runs at the boat. So, you must be able to give line in a hurry. I
prefer to use a Quantum bait casting rod.
Therefore, this summer don’t waste time on the neighboring lake,
hook up the boat and jump in the truck. The reservoirs are vast and
the walleyes are waiting. For more information about this technique
or other walleye tips look me up on the web at www.samanderson.com.
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