Summer Night Walleye Fishing

Walleye Night Fishing Tips

When night fishing you have to do your homework during the day looking for three types of structure to locate fish. First of all I look for the “typical walleye structure”, this is comprised of drop-offs, rock formations, points, or inside turns. The second type of structure is the shallow structure that is usually found out in the middle of the lake. These types of structures might be classified as mid-lake humps, rock piles, reefs, sunken islands, etc. These areas are dynamite during the mid summer months and often times over looked by most weekend anglers. The third type of structure that I love to fish are weeds and wood. Again this type of structure might be classified as more bass or northern pike structure, but a lot of walleyes hang out in heavy weeds and wood throughout the year. If you understand the “predator prey relationship” weeds become an automatic structure to key in on. Simply put, if the walleye is put in the lake as a fry it becomes a prey and naturally will find a place to hide. When the walleye grows up it becomes a predator and instinctively knows that the weeds are a place to look for prey. I try weeds in the summer time, because I am almost assured of catching some really active fish.

Each fish species has its own life style and even within a given family of fishes, there are subtle differences. Walleyes and saugers may be found in the same body of water, but they are not the same fish and show distinctive preferences and habits.


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A basic familiarity with the lake and the structures of the lake you’re planning to fish at night is important. Looking over your map will give you a chance to discover where these fish might be and shallow water obstructions before the evening comes.

When I first get on a heavily fished body of water, I'll start running the lake and looking for things that aren't obvious to all anglers. For example the things like bottom changes. You might run a straight shoreline break and see where it changes from sand into rock or mud into hard bottom. You may even discover a rock pile that doesn't show up on a lake map. One crucial piece of equipment here is my Bottom Line Tournament NCC 6300 I can find those areas quickly. While night fishing I can use the plotter screen to move over the tops of these structures and dial in where my boat position is in relation to the specific structure.

A lot depends on the type of lake you are fishing. Maybe I'll find weed-oriented walleyes, and I may look for little breaks in the weed line rather than big elongated points off shore. I'll run a straight break and suddenly I might see a little inside turn or little turning point down the weed line, places that aren't so obvious. Another gold mine for ol' moon eyes is small gravel patches near or within a weedline.

One of my favorite spots to look for nighttime walleye is near the entrances of a bay or harbor, especially if the entrance is narrow and there are at least seven to ten feet of water nearby.

The key to a productive area is the presence of baitfish such as shiners. If minnows are in the harbor or the bay during the day, walleyes will visit at night. Check the area to be fished during the day and see if there is an abundance of bait. If there are lots of minnows, the odds are good that lots of walleye will visit later on.

These fish can be very patternable. It might take a while to get them exactly figured out, but once the best fishing time is established, the fish will feed at that time, or close to it, the next few nights. A change in weather is the primary factor that can throw off this timing.

On snag-free bottoms a Lindy Rig is effective. On mud, weeds, submerged timber and rocks or boulders, a Lindy No-Snagg slip sinker attached to the Lindy Rig will keep you catching fish and not snags. This slower presentation gets most of the action especially in shallow water. Early, late and at night faster-moving lures such as a #5 or #7 Shad Rap really perk things up. That’s when I particularly like to cast an artificial minnow into the shallows. One specific rock pile I regularly fish, the bait must be retrieved very rapidly near the surface to avoid snags. In the dark of the night, when a walleye hits during such a retrieve, my rod is nearly torn from my grasp. That will get your blood pumping and I guarantee you will not feel blue about summer fishing.

What most walleye fisherman fail to realize is that walleyes can cruise in amazingly shallow waters after dark. I’ve taken them in no more than a foot of water many times at night. In fact, wading is sometimes easier than boat fishing then. Even during the heat of midsummer, walleyes can move into very shallow water during periods of poor light. However, summer walleyes are easily spooked and must be fished from a distance.

The long line trolling reduces feel but allows time for the boat to pass overhead and for the spooked walleyes to regroup. When the boat finally passes by the fish, they hit it with a subtle gentle tug, rather than smashing the bait.

Long-line trolling is a very effective method to use on summertime walleyes. Not only can you use live bait, but crankbait fishing is very productive during the summer months as well.

To many anglers trolling means tossing out a crankbait, throwing the rod in a holder, then sitting back and soaking up the sun.

Trolling success usually depends on how well you fine-tune your presentation. Simple things that will help you trigger fish might be pumping your rod, or allowing your crankbait to stunt.

Pumping a trolling rod is not a new technique. In fact, it's likely you have been using the method for years. The trick is doing it right.

I have found, through experience that you should sweep your rod in a 30-degree arc with a pause at the end. The lure speeds up through the sweep and triggers the fish that there is an escaping prey. Most strikes might occur as the rod is returned to the original position because it is at the end of the fall and the lure is easily sucked into the walleye's mouth.

The stunting that you might want to try is to use a deep lip crankbait like a deep diving Storm Thunder Stick and troll this in an area that has a soft bottom like mud or sand. The long bill will dive deep and stunt into the soft bottom. This will cause an erratic motion to the fish, plus stir up the bottom and fish will move in to investigate. Again, the pause surge pause motion of your rod will encourage more strikes than just trolling with a dead rod.

If you happen to be on a weedy lake and the weeds are emerging try long-line trolling on top of the weeds with live bait on small lipless crankbaits, just ticking the weed tops.

If you try this approach it will most often produce more fish than the guy sitting and waiting for his bobber to go down. Allow yourself to experiment and use long-line trolling this with live bait or crankbaits summer to give you an edge.

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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 catch. 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.

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