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Walleye Fishing Heats Up
by  Ron Anlauf  PWT Champion Mille Lacs Lake Fishing Guide

      With summer bearing down on us, the walleye action is really starting
to heat up. When the summer sun pushes water temps into the lukewarm range,
walleye activity increases accordingly. Although some may find the going a
little tough, this time of the year, those that are willing to change how
and where they fish for walleyes, can still make some excellent catches..

      As walleyes vacate early season hideouts, in favor of deeper summer
haunts, there's a period of time when fish are in transition. When there
aren't that many fish shallow, and there aren't that many deep, fishing can
be a bit sporadic.

      However, as more and more fish show up at their new "home for the
summer", the action can only get better. With an increase in numbers, your
chances for finding a few active ones greatly increases. Walleyes don't all
do the same thing at the same time, and when it comes to feeding movements,
it's like they take turns. Some will be totally inactive, some may be
starting to stir a little but won't move far to take a bait, and others may
be extremely aggressive and willing to take just about anything you put in
front of them. Those are the traitors that can give up a schools identity,
and location.

      Summer location can include deep, offshore structure, like sunken
islands, bars and humps. Look for structures that have most of their mass
above the thermocline. Structure that is too deep will see little walleye
activity, if any, until after the fall turnover.

      Larger structures will often out produce the smaller ones, simply
because they can offer more feeding opportunities for 'eyes on the prowl.
However smaller ones can be easier to fish, because of their simplicity.
There's only so many places they can hide. You can quickly check the top,
the sides, and the base of the breaks, with a graph or flasher. If they're
there, go ahead and fish, if not, it's time to move on.

      The larger structures will require you to spend a little time watching
your electronics, and less time fishing. Walleyes can be anywhere, and it
doesn't pay to fish where they're not. To find them, you can save some time
by cruising the entire structure, making note of where you saw the largest

      One of the best places to start your search, is near a break line that
drops quickly into deeper water. The top of deep structure can play host to
perch, baitfish, insects and crayfish. Active walleyes will often be found
cruising the top edge of a break, where they can quickly move up to grab a
bite to eat.

      Another place to find summer 'eyes, that is often overlooked, is the
transition line where hard bottom meets soft. Where gravel or rock, changes
to mud or silt, a transition line is created, and can concentrate fish.
Transition line fish see little attention by most anglers, and can be one
your best bets for a shot at a real hawg.

      Once you've found a potential area, and have marked at least a few
fish, it's time to get down to business. The early season presentations of
rigging and jigging may still produce, but quicker methods, like trolling
spinners, really start to pickup. Rising water temps can push a walleye's
metabolism to the boiling point, and increase the chances that he'll react
to a speedier technique.

      One of the top summer producers, is a spinner and live bait combo.
Spinners possess an element of speed, and it's the speed that can often nail
walleyes with a bad attitude. To get a spinner in the "zone", it's hard to
beat a spinner and bottom bouncer combination. A bouncer can get a bait
where you want it , and run relatively snag free. Bouncers in the two to
three ounce range are the ticket, and allow the user to keep the bait close
to the boat. By keeping it close, you can react to sudden depth changes. You
can also lift the bait off the bottom, to get it in front of any high riding
fish that you mark on your depthfinder. You'll want to keep the spinner
snell short, let's say three feet or less. Longer snells allow for more
drop, and result in more snags. The odds on favorite bait for dressing a
spinner rig, is a big fat juicy night crawler. However leeches can be
effective at times, and minnows can turn late summer 'eyes when nothing else

      Mid summer walleye fishing can get awful tough, but it doesn't have to
be that way. The key is to find them, and then find out what they want.
Quite often, what they want is something with a little speed. Think about
it, not only does a walleye's metabolism increase, but so does it's prey.
Everything is moving at a faster pace, and it's a fast paced world we're
living in. See you on the water.

      Ron Anlauf  e-mail  ranlauf@ecenet.com

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