Springtime means blowing the dust off our gear and getting out
to relieve that cabin fever from what, as of late, have become hard winters.
This early-season fishing can be some of the best, but cool water also possesses
As a full-time professional angler, I have learned that you
better have these four things dialed in or you might just be in for a long day
when trolling early-season walleyes on larger lakes:
Dialed In - Crankbaits
dominate cool spring waters for many species other than the walleyes that I
personally target. Having a crankbait out of tune will catch you as many fish
as it will in the box. Additionally, they can “wander” and end up tangling the
lures that are in working order. A Reef Runner tuning tool can make this task
much easier and faster.
Efficiency - Cold
water means we are generally trolling very slowly and covering water to locate
active fish. Going slow means fish don’t pull out from the spread and makes
clearing rods an almost necessity to avoid frustrating tangles. Having extra
rod holders means you can keep more lines in the water and actively fishing.
Many anglers don’t realize that the type of rod holders you have can affect the
way your lures run. This video explains why I prefer to run Bert’s Swivel
Boat Control - This is the thing that separates the men from the boys. Being able to keep
your boat in the place you want it and at the speed you want sounds easy until
you throw in wind, current and non-courteous boaters. If you have a boat that
can fit an electric trolling motor you might want to think about the advantage it offers year-round. Nearly the entire field in professional walleye
tournaments have a Minn Kota Terrova on their bow for just that reason.
Spread them Out - In
the last decade, planerboards have gone from an unknown to a household name.
Their ability to spread out lines allows us to run more presentations with less
chance of tangles, and, at the same time, keep lures away from the boat to prevent them from spooking high-riding walleyes. A few tweaks to my Church TX-22
planerboards help me land even more spring walleyes.
In all forms of fishing we tend to get preoccupied with
fancy new lures and color patterns. When it comes down to it, we need to pay
attention to the little things that really are the big things.
Capt. Ross Robertson
As a full time professional angler I am often told I think outside the box. Ironically this large amount of time that we spend fishing also makes us rely on things that we know work and often cuts down on experimentation if we let it. Rattle baits through the ice for walleyes and even pike, crappies and perch has been a very successful tactic for several years. Nearly every manufacture now has a bait that can be used for the hard water.
Last winter myself and several of the Ice Team and Clam National Pro Team huddled around a custom built tank that was designed specifically to test new lures. We looked like a bunch of kids in a candy store. We all wanted a rattle style lure because of their effectiveness at not only catching aggressive fish, but for their ability to draw fish in to your hole. Their effectiveness on large Canadian Shield lakes and lake Winnipeg in particular was known, but most felt that they would work on other bodies of water across the US. After about 20 versions were sorted through you now have what Clam calls the Psycho Shad. This lure, unlike most that were open water lipless cranks, was designed More...