As the Season changes from Spring to Winter the Walleyes change accordingly. Understanding these changes and adjusting your fishing techniques and arsenal (Best 2020 Tackle Boxes) you can definitely improve your success on catching these incredible fish.
As the ice begins to melt in the Northern States, you will find the Walleyes in their spawning season. Typically this starts in early March or even late February. To catch these fish use a jig tip with a small minnow and focus in shallow water, depths of 2ft – 12ft.
As the season moves into April & May, the spawning season has ended and the Walleyes begin to feed aggressively, gaining weight back that was lost during the long Winter and spawning. These Walleyes also head back out to deeper water and can be found in 8ft to 14ft of water and will be suspended one to four feet off the bottom. This is the best time to bounce a jig of the bottom with leeches and Nigtcrawlers (Catching Nightcrawlers) and to be using a slip bobber.
Use both presentations, Jig & Slip Bobber, as you will fine one will out preform the other on any given day. Best bait, use Leeches or a Nightcrawler (How To Use Nightcrawlers) with a stinger hook.
Now that we are into the summer months, June, July, August, things change once again. The new hatched minnow are everywhere and the Walleyes have their eyes on them. Here the Leech & NIghtcrawler lose their appeal, and bites are few and far between. Since the water is warming up the walleyes are being pushed to deeper water during the day and chasing minnows early morning and late evening. So the presentations you want to use are: Lindy rig with a minnow right on the drop-offs and sandbars. If you do not want to mess with minnows then go to crank baits, like the Bandit 200 & 300. Colors will depend on the clarity of your lake, for example yellow and reds work best in darker lakes.
Early and late in the day, you want to be working the drop-offs that come up into a good weed line. During the day pull back and get out to where the drop-off is 14 to 15 ft. This is where the water temperature changes quickly and will hold Walleyes. It would be a good idea to have your Fish-Finder (Best 2020 Fish Finders) handy to locate your depths, how steep your drop-offs are, and where the Walleyes are staged. I like to fish drop-offs with slopes between 30 – 40 degrees during this season.
The Walleyes make another drastic change in the months right before Winter. Walleyes move back to the top edge of your quick drop-offs and weed lines. Now your leeches & nightcrawlers, on a jig or slip bobber, will become the hottest presentations again.
Yes, the crank-baits will still work, but not like these, so don’t second guess yourself and change your tactics. Here you will want to focus on weed edges that are in 4 to 6 foot of water and drop off quickly into deep water. Work both the shallow water and that drop-off as those Walleyes will be moving into the weeds and back down to deeper water, looking for prey. Also the length (time) of active feeding will be longer, so say out later in the morning and get out there sooner in the evening.
The Winter months can be incredible, you just need to know where to find them. I have found that sharp drop-offs from a weed bay produce incredible results. The Walleyes will be chasing minnow out of the deeper water into those shallow bays, where the smorgasbord is on.
Start by knowing where the drop-off is and drill multiple holes from a foot of water to 12 feet of water, working them a few minutes and rotating between holes. The best bait for Walleyes through the Ice is the Rapala (Size 7).
Yes I have caught walleyes through the ice where there was only a couple of inches of water, but the drop-off was fast and went down to 90 ft quickly. In shallow water just tweak it, do not pull it up hard to make it dance as it will slam the bottom of the ice and break the hooks off. As you move to deeper water, you can be more aggressive with whipping/dancing this jig. This Rapala works so well that I even use it in the Summer months, tossing and dragging it across sandbars, and down the drop-offs.