Walleye power play trolling
The walleye fish are generally competitive within their feeding, and generally will be brought to quick-moving, showy lure. Techniques and equipment are discussed.Only when I was starting to believe there were no walleyes left in the lake, my fish finder lit up like a jar of fireflies. I cut the accelerator and circled back for another look, switching on the graph recorder for a second opinion. Sure enough, it scratched out an image of the greatest wreck of walleyes I Had seen all summer.
From that point, it should have been simple. My wife, Kim, and I tied up Lindy Rigs and jigs dressed with fresh leeches and nightcrawlers, assured those textbook offerings would make fast work of our limitation. Not so. Our wriggling, squirming laughs at passed within easy striking distance of tons of fish, and all we needed to show for it was a band of black hash marks on a piece of graph paper. “I will clean these fish,” my wife teased, holding up the printout, “if you are able to locate me some scissors.”
Subsequently, reading my thoughts, she proposed a reversal of strategies. We caught a pair of stiff-activity casting sticks and speed-trolled the wavy ledge, pulling spinners the size of 50[cents] bits. We hadn’t gone 20 feet when my stick bowed under the weight of what felt like a snag but was really a large, deep water-leap walleye. On the following pass Kim hauled in a walleye as well as a bonus smallmouth bass that tail-flipped into the net. We handled two more chunky walleyes before a large northern pike crashed the party and scattered the school. (We got the northern also!)
That power play verified what I ‘d imagined for a very long time: A generation of anglers has been reversed by considering that walleyes are discriminating feeders just deceived with finesse presentations. A number of the country ‘s top tournament fishermen shared my feelings, and they have taken actions; now a technique christened “power trolling” is hailed as the best approach for walleye-abundant waters.
Powering Up The Tempo
To a generation of purists who have come to think of walleyes as finicky feeders, electricity trolling is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp and military intelligence. To them, any walleye display is acceptable, so long as it is a slow moving trailer truck or jig. And for these stick in the muds, slow is the operative word. Nevertheless, if walleyes are not reaching such conventional offerings, it is no time to be uncooperative.
“I am a strong believer the more water you cover, the more fish you will get,” says Chad Hall, the Algona, Iowa, angler who has used power rolling to become one of the top anglers on the Professional Walleye Tournament (PWT) trail. “I will fish rigs, jigs and crankbaits when I ‘ve to, but when all else fails I Will power troll. Electricity trolling empowers me to cover a great deal of water.”
Here is a second opinion: “Rivalry [between fish] is the essential,” says Gary Parsons of Chilton, Wisconsin. Parsons is a well-traveled walleye expert who has seen electricity trolling create hefty catches from numerous the nation’s most abundant walleye waters. “In lakes with a great deal of great-size walleyes and a lot of forage, the fish will be competitive. The quicker and more flamboyant the demo, the more appealing it’s to those fish.”
There is nothing new about using speed-trolled spinners for walleyes. Anglers like Parsons and Hall have just borrowed components from several conventional spinner techniques and refined them to match the challenge of the numerous walleye waters which have appeared over the past decade.In the place of trolling the normal 36-inch snelled spinner, they experiment with blade size as well as colour, troll at a broad selection of speeds and always tinker with their rigs to coincide with the place and eating patterns of the fish.
In the beginning, professional anglers were unwilling to adopt the theory of power trolling. Actually, spinner fishing did not get much admiration in walleye circles until Hall used it to get two important tournament titles. “At the Mille Lacs tournament [in 1990], two of my partners were locals who had been fishing the lake all their lives but had never used a spinner,” says Hall. “They thought I was nuts.
However, by the time the tournament was over, they had cleaned every last spinner out of my tackle box.”Hall followed up his Mille Lacs triumph with a different success, this one in 1991 on Fort Peck, a substantial Missouri River impoundment in Montana. He used power trolling to record top-10 finishes in PWT championship events on Michigan’s Saginaw Bay and at Rainy Lake on the Minnesota/Ontario border, and he is used power trolling successfully on several Master’s Walleye Circuit (MWC) stops as well.
Hall credits walleye fishing legend Bob Propst Sr., of Omaha, with introducing him to power spinner fishing. Hall was still in his late teens when he partnered with Propst on the MWC. The two made a formidable team, and spinners were a large section of their arsenal. Hall says that Propst was “a real leader in walleye fishing. He was electricity trolling 25 years past. He showed us some of his tricks on the South Dakota reservoirs where he used to direct. We have [electricity trolled] on reservoirs, natural lakes and even on rivers.”
Fishing By Amounts
Anglers are just starting to comprehend that walleye population dynamics have an impact on whether a specific presentation will operate. Most have learned that a fish’s eating habits are affected more by amounts than by intellect. By way of example, consider the difference between bluegills and muskies. Bluegills normally go in schools so big that when forage becomes accessible, they don’t have any option however to feed aggressively and competitively. Grownup muskies, on the flip side, occupy the top rung of the food chain and have almost no competition for food, which means they eat every time they get the craving.
Now’s new thinking on eating customs states that if a lake included only one large bluegill, it will be a picky eater; and in the event the lake was thick with schools of muskies, they had feed competitively. In that same manner, big schools of walleyes herding forage become fairly competitive and are a lot prone to assault a gaudy, quick-moving demonstration than a finesse rig or jig lure.
There’s substantial evidence to back this theory up. In the 1970s and early 1980s, anglers on the Missouri River reservoirs in the Dakotas got the majority of their warm-water walleyes using speed-trolled spinner. Walleye aficionados imagined that Dakota anglers would do even better using more advanced demonstrations like live-bait rigs and jigs. They were incorrect.
The Midwestern impoundments had very high populations of walleyes that gorged themselves on schools of rainbow smelt. When feeding time rolled around, those fish were as ravenous as a bunch of panfish. Dakota anglers immediately learned that spinners would consistently create live-bait rigs during the warm-water interval. Halfway through the 1980s, nevertheless, walleye populations on the Missouri fell off due to poor spawning conditions.
Consequently, finesse presentations became more rewarding.Back in the 1950s, spinners were the bait of alternative on natural lakes all over the nation. Smaller natural lakes have less carrying capacity than larger bodies of water, so increased fishing pressure eventually took a toll on populations. As walleye amounts dropped, the fish became less competitive. Enter the Lindy Rig, which appeals more to the fish’s natural feeding instincts than to its competitive nature. When these rigs reach the marketplace in 1969, they relegated spinners to the base of the fishing gear box.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the walleye’s domain grown into big productive, forage-rich waters. The remarkable carrying capacities of these waters let walleyes to flourish. Anglers slowly understood that from post-spawn through the autumn interval, big schools of walleyes were more exposed to more rapid moving presentations. “Show me a body of water which has powerful groups of larger-size fish,” says Parsons, “and I Will show you a location where power trolling will capture fish.”Some walleye diehards believe that in lakes with plenty of forage, walleyes are harder to get. Do not consider it. The Great Lakes, with their dense schools of smelt and alewives, provide a smorgasbord for starving walleyes. Yet fish in lakes Huron, Erie and Michigan are one of the most catchable on earth. The powerful walleye populations in these waters mean that electricity trolling will take fish each time.
“I consider electricity trolling is the greatest demonstration for the Western Basin of Lake Erie,” says Parsons. “It is great in the western reservoirs such as the Missouri and Columbia, and it is dynamite on a few of the hot Great Lakes fisheries, like Bay de Noc and Saginaw Bay in Michigan. All those areas have one thing in common: great walleye people.”
So it is clear that one of the secrets to electricity trolling lies in the feeding approaches of the fish. Big schools of competitive fish just favour an attractor lure like a spinner, as I relearned a few years past on a Fourth of July trip to Lake Oahe in South Dakota. Oahe’s walleye population was a shadow of what it’d been a couple of years before, and many guides were developing their abilities with rigs and jigs.That is how we were fishing, also, until we happened onto a significant concentration of walleyes on a long, soft-bottomed finger that was thumped by the preceding day’s wind. We rigged and jigged for an hour with no success.
The flasher suggested there were tons of fish in the region, and eventually I made a decision to revert to the strategies we had used years before. By electricity trolling spinners tipped with nightcrawlers, we hauled several simple limits of two to five-pound walleyes from exactly the same water that had given nothing on rigs and jigs. Those fish were just overly aggressive and competitive to mess with slowly fished finesse demonstrations, nevertheless they assaulted out blades.
As soon as you do locate walleyes, yet, it is tough to tell just how they are feeding. Because of this, ascertaining if fish are candidates for power trolling is largely a question of trial and error. Electronic devices that show schools of fish can offer useful clues. Substantial concentrations of fish, notably the ones that are indicating a foot or more off the underside, will probably be vulnerable to electricity trolling techniques. Dim mushroom clouds of bait fish generally suggest the existence of a lot of active predators.
The forerunner of the current electricity trolling rig was the spinner/bottom bouncer set up used on the Missouri River during its heyday in the late 1970s and first half of the 1980s, and the exact same set up will work on nearly any body of water.Power trolling has gotten so popular that at least two lure makers have developed special rigs. Lindy’s Pow’r Trolling Rig has an flexible snell connector that slides up and down the main fishing line, getting rid of the demand for three-way swivels and drop lines. Northland Fishing Gear came out with its Long & Light Rainbow spinners designated to be used with three way rigs.
Hall assembles a distinguishing rig for electricity trolling. “I generally begin with a five-foot snell tied on pretty light [six to 10-pound] line. Do not consider the fish can find the line or that they are smart enough to be spooked by it, but I presume you get better activity with lighter line. I will begin with an 18-inch drop line to the sinker, more in the event the fish are marking higher off the underside. I simply use enough weight to maintain the rig on the underside.”
Hall believes colon may be an important factor and he switches blades often.
His most productive colours are beaten nickel and chartreuse. Blade colour and size are usually discovered by water clarity. Dim water calls for “hot” colours like red, orange or chartreuse. In clear water, nickel and brass function best, giving off minnow-imitating flashes of light. As light and water conditions change, distinct colours become more visible to the fish.Successful spinner fisherman attempt different colours till they locate the most productive shade for the states. Dim water also orders larger blades that throw heavier oscillations. Frequently, bigger blades create bigger fish, possibly because the more powerful vibrations model larger forage. Conversely, in clear water smaller blades typically function best.
Of the three popular blade fashions Indiana, Colorado and willow leaf – the roundish Colorado blade gives off the most shaking as well as the willow leaf the least. In midsummer when the fish are most active, a No. 5 or No. 6 Colorado can be fatal. In the spring, when the water’s still cool as well as the fish less busy, the teardrop Indiana blades in a No. 0, No. 1 No. 2 create finest. Hall typically begins with No. 3 sword on one pole and No. 4 on the other.
He also favours little beads and publications since the lighter weight keeps the lure from dragging on the underside.The “power” of electricity trolling is additionally an essential variable and links, clearly, to boat rate. The more energetic the fish, the more rapid the bait ought to be worked. Rates of more than 2 miles per hour aren’t uncommon with large schools of competitive walleyes. Hall generally trolls slowly at first – “only enough speed to spin the blade” – picking up the tempo in the event the walleyes look somewhat competitive or if he is getting perch or panfish.
Based on Hall, the warm-water period of mid-time through late August or early September is the optimum time to electricity troll, however he and his associates have used spinners successfully in late April and early October.
What is Old Becomes New Again
In case the power trolling craze teaches us anything, it is that hardly any angling thoughts are just first. Power trolling sources might be traced back to the old Prescott and Weller Strip-On spinners which were so popular a half century past. Power trolling family three contains Small Men, the first spinners tied on mono-filament line; the Wolf River Rig that is still popular in lots of places in the state. Obviously, the spinner/bottom bouncer mix that created so many walleyes a decade past.But anglers are finding that power trolling is appropriate for the fishing states of today. By integrating the very best of all of the old demos into a 1990s’ bundle, anglers will find success in walleye waters which have grown in the past decade. Hall sums it up best: “There are times when power-trolled spinners only create anything else you can fish.”
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