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Walleyes and the Weather
By John Campbell

Watching the weather patterns has allowed me to be very knowledgeable about the habits and haunts of walleyes. If you watch the weather you can put together a presentation that will allow you to catch walleyes on any given day. Over the course of years I have been able to put together some very interesting facts and observations. For example, walleyes are not active during low-light periods or during conditions they perceive as low light. These days could be classified as overcast days or windy days, because sunlight is diffused. Therefore, walleyes tend to be higher in the water column and shallower on any give structure. The low light periods which traditionally have been the dusk and dawn periods of time. However, the largest fish may feed in the dark of night. The darkness, can give you the edge and become a great equalizer for adverse weather conditions. Whether it's a cold front or a long bright light day, you will catch more fish from dusk to dawn than you do from dawn to dusk. If you experience only a few walleyes being caught either during the day or at dusk and dawn, try night fishing. This will especially hold true on clear water lakes. Also, evidence suggest that many big walleyes are exclusively night feeders, regardless of season or available light. If you can catch walleyes in the midday hours without cloud cover or wind, you are probably catching deep water fish or you are on dirty, stained or murky waters and walleyes have a tendency to bite all day long. During daylight, if you can't fish during perfect conditions, it is usually better to concentrate on deep fish, rather than shallow fish. You should look for fish holding areas where wind crashes against a barrier or where the wind churns up the water rather than fishing where it is calm. Concentrate on dark water lakes that have a high percentage of fish caught during the day. Sometimes in dark mucky waters high bright sun filled days trigger a feeding frenzy because the sunlight gets all the tiny critters moving and in the cycle of fishing the end of the food chain will be the bigger fish. A fish has two major components in its environment. They are the water that the fish lives in and the weather that is changing, not only seasonally but day to day hour to hour and minute to minute. When either the weather or water changes rapidly, a fish must have a period of time to adjust to that change, and when it is adjusting it is not in the mood to become active; its body doesnít allow it. Thatís when some of the toughest fishing occurs. Specific weather conditions tend to trigger a walleye feeding frenzy. Basically it's a cold front, but there's more to it than that. The ideal conditions for catching big walleyes may come only a half-dozen times in a season. To make the most of them a fisherman must watch forecasts and the clouds and be prepared to fish one step ahead of the storm. The main concern dealing with the movement of fish is a cold front. The frequency of cold fronts vary in different parts of the country and at different times of the year. Regardless of the weather patterns in your part of the country, the cold front will have a profound effect on your fishing results. A cold front is formed when a mass of cold dry air collides with a mass of moist warm air, pushing the warm air mass along, usually in an east to southeast direction. Cold fronts are associated with rough, unstable weather, such as a thunderstorm, squall lines, tornadoes, rain or snow. The approaching cold front is not what bothers the fish. In fact, some fast and furious action can be had under ďpre-frontalĒ conditions. Itís what happens after the front passes through the area. Usually, after a cold front we are greeted with a drop in temperatures, a brisk wind from a westerly to northerly direction, plus a bright, blue cloudless day. The one element that harms the fish the most is light. Thatís why the passing of a cold front is synonymous with poor fishing. We get an intense light condition, a bright blue sky, that will drive the fish to great depths. At these depths the fish will become very dormant and inactive. A fish has no eyelids to block out the light. Rather than fight a bright light condition in shallow water, it will drop to a lower level seeking a darker environment. This is not to say you canít catch fish under bright conditions. Deep water interpretation of structure and knowing where to fish deep, plus knowing how to present lures at the proper depth and speed can help offset these bad effects. Crankbaits are a great way to find those walleyes in cold front conditions because you can cover a lot of territory and concentrate on walleyes that are active. You may catch more walleyes on live bait rigs, but youíll catch a bigger average size on crankbaits. In addition, crankbaits offer a rapid way to eliminate unproductive water. Plus, you can use the crankbait as a locator bait and then finesse them with live bait. Whenever you must fish in adverse conditions, being either bright sunny days or changing weather conditions, there should be a two step approach. One way is to slow down your presentation.

MinnKota Maxxum 101 bow mount trolling moto4r

Minnkota 101

Go slow, use the Minnkota trolling motor and make your presentation very slow. Maybe even put on a single hook with split shot rather than a walking sinker and vibrating blades. Or the second approach is to go fast. Use fast trolling speeds with artificial lures and speed troll breaklines to get the fish active enough to bite. One very important factor that I consider is weather stability. Increasing weather stability will usually mean that there will be more active fish, but keep in mind stable weather doesn't mean four day of cold front conditions. Keep you eyes turned toward the sky it will tell you if the weather is about to change, and listen to forecasts on the radio and T.V. they will give you an indication of what type of day you will have. Remember the weather effects all fish so if you are going to fish on any day think about weather related walleyes before you slip that boat into the water. I have more walleye weather techniques on the web at, www.walleyeinfo.com. Hope to hear from you soon!!
 

 

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