Many times at seminars I am asked how can anyone fish a new body of water and
catch large walleyes? The answer is "research" the solution is a little more
complex than that. Research is going to involve a lot of time listening and
keying in on fish patterns during a specific time of year.
When going to a new body of water you may want to find out as much about the
lake, river or reservoir before you actually get there. Your research is going
to take sometime so the sooner you get started the more knowledge you will gain.
source of information that I like is Fishing Hot Spots Maps. They have a variety
of maps that contain all kinds of information about the particular body of water
that you are planning to fish. These maps show contours and they give anglers
tips as to what to use in certain areas. I like to take these maps and mark on
them with colored markers. I might highlight a 5' contour with a yellow marker,
a 10' contour with a green marker, and use a hot pink marker for a 20' contour.
The transitional area includes where gravel turns to sand, mud meets rock,
drop-offs, wave-washed points, deserted sandy bottom beaches, bottle necks
between two different land masses, or near a culvert where fresh water is
filtered through a rock causeway.
The edge of a specific structure is a great place to start looking for
walleyes. These edges form breaks, which almost act like barriers to hold fish
a little longer to feed before they move on. These are physical boundaries
between shallow food producing areas and deep water areas of the lake. Here
schools of active walleyes meet concentrations of food and often this is a
prime fishing area.
By fishing the edges of weeds, drop-offs and structure like rocks, you will
increase your chances of finding a funnel point where fish concentrate. These
spots vary but are based on factors like: water temperature, availability of
baitfish, oxygen, light level, structure and schooling tendencies. Success
rests with proper presentation. Once you have located the edge and fish, the
next step is to entice them to bite. Your bait presentation will depend upon
the specific edge that you have selected. If the walleyes are directly below
and concentrated on a physical edge you can backtroll a livebait rig, jig, or
a bottom bouncer rig, keeping the bait among the fish you see on the
depthfinder. If you find the fish strung out along the edge, keep the bait
moving and they will bite. If they're clumped up in one spot, hover over them
and vertically jig them.
Rocks also attract fish, try rocky shorelines. Rock piles, humps or where
rocks and weeds meet or are intermixed, work it over thoroughly with a jig or
live bait presentation. Try to determine where fish are holding. Keep asking
yourself the question what is their pattern?
Another source of information that comes from the map-reader on my BottomLine
depth finder. This map-reader reads a cartridge called a C-Map NT. For many
lakes in the U.S. you can get a specific map for the new lake that you want to
fish. It will allow you to plot out a course and follow contours and give you
up to the minute positioning on your screen. Plus the C-Map and my BottomLine
depthfinder give me the GPS coordinates that I can waypoint when I catch a
fish. This will allow me to cross reference that point with my Lake Map and
identify the pattern and the structure that fish are located on.
Another method would be to hire a guide or ask if you can interview him on the
phone. You could contact Game and Fish agencies and the Army Corps of
Engineers for up-to-date information on water temps and seasonal patterns.
Keep in mind the seasonal patterns for walleyes at all times of the year.
For example in early spring walleyes are usually found rather shallow. When
the spring warms into summer you will find walleyes moving out to weed edges
and rock areas or in mid-lake humps. In the heat of the summer you may find
them in deep lake basin and then the cycle starts all over again as the water
starts to cool. If you know the time of year you will be fishing a lake or
reservoir you need to key in on what type of structure where they can be
Once I've gathered all the information I can from the above sources it is time
to visit the various tackle and bait shops around the area that I am going to
fish. They want you to experience success and buy tackle so they will be
honest with you about the types of lures and presentations that you should
use. I would also visit the boat landings, resorts, and campgrounds, you will
be pleasantly surprised at the information you learn at these areas.
When fishing on your chosen body of water use search techniques like a bottom
bouncer and spinner to cover a lot of water. This presentation will allow you
to contact active fish by covering more water. How important is a specific
pattern to the lake that you are about to fish? Well believe it or not, it is
the most important factor when fishing for walleyes. Pattern fishing is
nothing new, anglers have been doing it for years. Establishing a pattern is
simply described as finding where the most walleyes are most susceptible to
After you have experienced success in one location refer to your map and try
to find similar locations that have all the elements. Use the same
presentation and you will probably find another very active area. By the end
of the day you will have four or five areas that have become your favorite.
Whether you are in the states of Alaska,
Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Washington, Oregon, Idaho,
Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa,
Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kentucky, Colorado,
Indiana, Virginia, California, Nevada, or New Jersey, there are fish to
If you are in one of the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Yukon, Northwest
Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Quebec,
there are fish to catch.
You might be trolling with cranks as your lure of choice. You might be
jigging with jigs. You’ll probably need rods, reels, some live bait
(crawlers, minnows, leeches), sinkers, leaders, and fishing line. More
often times than not, it takes a boat to get to those spots, as well.
Maybe you will be fishing from the bank or wading, however.
You may need fishing reports or maybe even a fishing guide.
This website will try to help you achieve the goal of catching bigger,
better, and more numerous fish.