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Hot Times on Reservoirs
By Sam Anderson

When the wind blows on the Great Lakes or Oahe and Sakakawea, 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 options possible 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 and even the Great Lakes 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 a 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 
The presentation of choice is a spinner. The spinner rigs we're talking 
about are the live-bait rigs with a blade and a few beads just above the 
hook. As the rig is pulled through the water, the blade turns, which 
attracts fish with both sound and added visibility.
A spinner is a rotating blade on a clevis, sandwiched among plastic 
beads, followed by a hook or hooks and livebait. Today's standard 
spinner rig consists of a metal clevis with a #1, #2 or #3 Colorado, 
Indiana or willow leaf blade followed by 4 or 5 BB-sized beads and a 
single 1/0 Aberdeen hook for minnows or two #4 short shank snell hooks 
rigged in tandem about two inches apart for crawlers or leeches. This 
standard rig is tied on 36 inches of 14 to 17 pound test line.
When using spinners, snell length is important. The snell length is the 
distance from the swivel to the hook. Therefore instead of the standard 
36 inch rig I will rather use a 48" or 4' leader. Most walleyes in a 
reservoir are not hugging bottom but might be suspended off the bottom a 
foot or two. With the additional snell length it allows them to see the 
offering a little longer and move to the bait.
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.
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.

Lindy Little Joes No-Snagg  sinkers For weight, use bottom bouncers or snap weights. I prefer to use the Lindy No-Snagg it is a banana shaped sinker that has balsa, lead  antimony weight that is surrounded by epoxy paint and a protective clear seal coating, with a special rubberized coating on the outside. The  sinker also has a stainless steel wire feeler out of the bottom that is tipped with a colored bead. This has the super principles of the 3-way and the bottom ticking ability of the bottom bouncer. Also, the No-Snagg, when it hits an obstruction simply pivots away from the snag 
and doesn't get hung up.. 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 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. If you 
snag up at a fast trolling speed, you can easily give 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. When nature calls for a faster reel for working plastics, 
the Quantum E650PT comes in handy. The E640PT can be used, but you would have to crank fast to get it at the right speeds. It's best when you can 
retrieve at a constant speed you're comfortable with. The 5.1:1 gear 
ratio in the E650PT allows you to work a swimming grub, soft plastic 
jerkbaits, and spinners where you want to swim or get those blades 
moving. The speed of the Quantum Energy PT E650PT fits this technique well.
Team this up with a Quantum Hookhider IM6 Gold Series (109C) and Quantum PTC666F These longer rods allow me to use my rod holders and give me the sweeping hooksets needed to get those reservoir walleyes on the line.This summer don't waste time on the neighboring lake, hook up the boat 
and get out to one of the Great Lakes of a neighboring reservoir. The 
reservoirs are vast and the walleyes are waiting. Let me know how you 
are doing by dropping me a line at www.samanderson.com.

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