Lodging food and more
Searching for the Trophy 'Eye
By John Campbell
It is often said that in order to catch big fish you have to fish big
water. That might be the first mistake many anglers would make.
Sometimes skinny water will hold a trophy of a lifetime. But, for
argument sake let's take a look at both so we can start a search for trophy
From about the beginning of May I like to fish Lake Erie. Lake
Erie's Western Basin is the place that I like to start. The basin
is shallow only about 35 feet in depth and the walleyes move up into the
shallow water in the spring of the year. It's not uncommon to catch
a couple hundred walleyes a day trolling crankbaits on segmented lead core
line or using a bottom bouncer to take your monofilament and live bait
offerings down to the walleyes. The walleyes in Erie travel in large
suspended schools and when you find them you will have your hands full,
reeling in large walleyes from 7 to 12 pounds. This is trophy walleye
fishing at its best.
The area that I like to fish is around the Bass Islands. There
are plenty of places that I can get out of the wind on those hard blowing
days on Erie and sometimes I can get into some trophy smallmouth fishing,
that is always a bonus.
Keep track of the depth at where the fish are, and you are set on a trolling
pattern for Erie. Many anglers like to use live bait when fishing for Erie
walleyes as well. Weight forward spinners have been used for many
years and they are extremely effective. I like to use Lindy Little
Joe spinners on about a 4 foot snell trolled behind a 2 to 3 ounce bottom
bouncer. This allows me to move the live bait up or down in the strike
column when I discover the depth at which the walleyes are feeding.
|The presentation is usually in the form of crankbaits like the Glass
Shad Rap or a Rapala Tail Dancer trolled along varying depths and speeds
until I see a cloud of baitfish on my Bottom Line depth finder. When
I find the baitfish slightly below and behind, I will find the monster
Moving just a short distance to the Sandusky and Maumee rivers in Ohio
I like to be there for the spawning run in the spring. I like to long line
these fish in the shallows, because they are spread out over a large area.
Walleyes can be found in shallow water at any time, but are likely to be
in there during low-light conditions, like dusk, dawn, cloudy days and
the no-light conditions of night.
Sometimes they will be found tightly grouped on shallow structure,
usually they are scattered.
When trolling use floating Rapalas in the No. 7 or 9 size.
Fish may be aggressive and will quickly respond to this larger-sized bait.If
the fish are spooky, however, it is necessary to get the bait a great distance
behind the boat. Walleyes have a short memory and a boat going overhead
will make them wary, but a bait 75 to 100 feet behind will be real attractive.
||A walleye may be taken here, another there and another 30 yards away.
When the fish are schooled, a casting approach is the best method of presentation.
But when they are scattered, trolling is by far the most effective.
When trolling the shallows, I use a Minnkota Maxxum bowmount 101 lbs. of
thrust system. This system gives me the power to tame the rough
water or pound through heavy vegetation, and take the pounding that
day after day of hard fishing delivers. This is an essential tool when
trolling shallow water and when want to be quiet.
The same approach of long lining can also be used not to far away is
Sturgeon Bay located off Lake Michigan near the town of Sturgeon Bay
Wisconsin. Here night fishing is probably the best for trophy
walleyes. Crankbaits are the lure of choice, but many fish are also
taken with jigs and live bait rigs. The additional bonus here is
sometimes you hook into a salmon and that makes the trip very memorable.For
the really serious angler who wants to catch the largest trophy walleye
the Rainy River on the border of Ontario and Minnesota is the place to
be in the early season. All the elements are there. Fish are
congregated in the river staging to make a move into Lake of the Woods
and they are full of spawn and heavy in weight. In fact, there are
many large walleyes in this confined area that they are literally "stacked
in there like cord wood".
Trophy walleyes can be loners or travel in schools according to size and
sex. Next time you hear people talking about big water and big fish,
tell them you know that searching for trophy walleyes can be almost anywhere.
For more information contact me on the web at www.walleyeinf.com.
Hope to see ya on the water as well!.
Max Gap Jigs
|Walleyes can be taken with a jig and minnow combination or crankbaits
can be trolled, the presentation is up to you. I prefer an 1/8 ounce
Max Gap Jig tipped with a redtail chub and believe me I have taken
and released a number of fish over the 10 lb. mark. The bonus fish
here is the Sauger. These underwater neighbors of the walleye are
cousins and they grow large in the Rainy River, not quite as large as the
walleye, but fight and table fare they are equal to their cousins. Don't
overlook area lakes, rivers, farm ponds, or creeks that run by your house
or are just down the road. Just spend time on or near the water.
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