Spinner Blades for Walleye Fishing

Speed. Get Those Blades a turnin'

There are some situations in which spinner rigs are more effective than others.  When the walleyes are active and spread out, spinner rigs produce very well.  A spinner rig can usually be worked quicker than a straight rig, which is important if the fish are scattered.  The faster you can move a bait, the more fish you can show it to.  The blade will also attract walleyes from a longer distance.


Covering water quickly and keeping the presentation in the fish zone are the key elements.  Power-trolling bottom bouncers and spinners accomplish both. 


In dirty water, the fish obviously can't see as far.  The blade will help in this condition.  It throws flash and vibration, which enables the fish to find a bait much easier.  In dirty water, use a blade that is larger and brighter than a blade used in clear water.  Orange and chartreuse blades are good in stained water; silver and white are good in water that has more visibility.

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 think.


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 live bait.


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.


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