With every rule there seems to be the inevitable
exception. Walleyes love some of the flashy, quick moving baits and they race
after them when nothing else in the tackle box will get them to bite.
Probably the best example of a gaudy color is Chartreuse. I don't know what
it is, but walleyes like that specific color whether it is on a spinner or a
Shad Rap. Though day in and day out a basic live bait rig will take a number
of walleyes, spinner rigs will be productive more often than many anglers
Another time when I favor spinners is when I' m fishing
with a beginner or a novice to angling. Usually the walleyes get the entire
rig in their mouth when they take a spinner, so there is no need for a real
developed sense of feel on the angler's part. When you feel a strike with a
spinner, simply ease the rod tip back toward the fish and when the line gets
tight, set the hook.
In clear water, I prefer a small blade size much of the
time. Usually I'll go with a light and long Little Joe Spinner with a blade
of more subtle color.
When dirty or stained water is encountered, or when the
fish are real active, a flashy spinner is tied on. The larger blade throws
more flash and vibration making it easier to find. When the fish are active,
the big ones seem to go for a bigger bait.
Another type of spinner I like for walleyes in certain
conditions is an in-line spinner. When the waves are crashing over the
shallow rock reefs or points, or when I'm working the shallows in a river,
it's hard to beat a Vibrax or a Minnow Spin . These little baits are dynamite
on those fish that are only looking for a special offering. My best action
has occurred working these baits with a straight retrieve. The more the
blades turn the more they become attractive to the fish.
When using spinners, snell length is important. The snell
length is the distance from the swivel to the hook. When moving quickly, as a
general rule increase the snell length. The faster you go, the lower the bait
will ride. A faster presentation is usually called for in clear water, and
you want the bait up high enough so the fish can see it from farther away.
Also, walleye are more likely to go up for a bait than go down for it.
In dirty water, the walleyes will often be closer to the
bottom. This calls for a shorter snell that will get the bait right down in
the walleye's face.
One important thing Iíve found out about spinners is that
the speed is very critical. If youíre getting bites from perch, sheepshead or
other rough fish youíre going too slow. Just bump the speed up enough so they
leave it alone. Sometimes, if you bump the speed up you donít even have to
move spots and youíll start catching walleyes. This speed increase provides an
invisible connection between the swivel and lure, which makes the lure now
more a reaction type. Use a 1 2/3 to 3 ounce weight to maintain trolling
speeds of 1.5 to 2.5 miles per hour with. The important thing to keep in mind
is that you want the blades to really spin and act as the attractant to the
The bait of choice is a big juicy nightcrawler, twirling
behind a spinner on a double hook rig. Leeches and minnows can also be used,
but itís tough to beat a crawler, especially during summer months into fall.
To drag the whole package to the bottom and keep it in the fish zone, a
variety of lead in different sizes and shapes is available. Yet, the bottom
bouncer, an L shaped piece of wire with a lead weight on one end and an eye
for attaching the line to the other end, has been the most popular approach
for trolling spinner rigs. Bottom bouncers work well over rocks, sand, gravel
and mud, in shallow to moderate depths.
Equipment for using these two styles of baits varies
greatly. The spinner rigs will be employed with a bottom bouncer that can
weigh up to three ounces. I prefer Lindy X-change variety. I also recommend
a good bait caster combination, like Shimano Castaic reel and a Clarus
graphite rod. This combination will give you the sensitivity and the backbone
to bring in the larger walleyes.
If you've been using
spinners for walleyes, you know how effective they can be. If you haven't
tried them yet, get set up to use spinners and you will find that the walleye
can't resist an offering that has flash and vibration plus live bait.