Reaction Baits For Summer Walleye


We are well into summer now and by all accounts the fishing in most parts has been pretty darn good. I had a busy month with a lot of travel and some awesome angling. This despite unstable weather, rain, wind and intense thunderstorms. The fish, for the most part, seem unbothered and ready hit anything that might arouse interest.

HOT SUMMER PRESENTATION:   It’s still almost impossible to beat a bottom bouncer and spinner rig for summer walleye and even huge pike. On a recent trip to Tobin Lake, Saskatchewan, friend Boyd Holmen and I caught numerous walleye using this setup. We found the fish on a six metre sand flat scattered with a bit of sand grass and some sunken timber. By using spinners with floats and shorter snells we were able to prevent snags and get the bait in the strike window. The fishing was so good, in one area we had a fish on almost all the time. This presentation allows the angler to cover water, finding the most productive areas. I highly recommend this presentation for the novice anglers as well. It allows you to cover water efficiently and effectively with a minimum of hang ups.  While not as effectivimg_5363e when fish are tight on small pieces of structure, it can’t be beat when fishing weedlines, long sand flats, rocky points and other places fish like to hang out when the water gets warmer. It pays to vary trolling speed and size of the spinner blade you might use. I like to use a double hook setup rigged with either a big nightcrawler or one ribbon leech per hook. Use a bottom bouncer heavy enough to keep the bait at a 45 degree angle. Then get ready to hang on for some great summer action.

Over the last few summers more and more anglers are starting to use lures normally found in their ice fishing boxes.  Many are using of a Jigging Rapala for open water fishing. Jeff Gustafson mentioned that the top pros had been using this lure on the walleye circuit for years when nothing else would catch fish. Since that time lots of videos and articles have been written on the subject but I don’t think a lot of anglers in this part of the world have bought in yet. My friends in Saskatchewan have been using a similar lure, the Shiver Minnow, on Last Mountain Lake in the summer and fall to catch big walleye and lots of them. These types of lures work best on sand or gravel bottom which means you won’t be snagging them in rocky boulders all the time.


In the summer using these lures most of the fish will be in the five to nine metre mark. This also allows you to watch your lure on the depthfinder. It won’t take long to determine if those fish will bite or not. Fish the bait away from the boat at a 60 degree angle. Sweep the bait forward two to four feet at a time, then let it nosedive down to the bottom. You can cast and retrieve up and down drop-offs as long as there aren’t too many snags. It is a reaction bite and fish won’t hit them all the time but when they do you better hold on. Use monofilament line, the stretch factor is needed so the fish don’t shake the hook. Also must have an in-line barrel swivel a couple of feet up from the lure to prevent line twist. Lures come in various sizes but a size #7 will get you down to the bottom pretty quick. I must mention thought, that the right rod is critical in using these type of lures. You want a longer rod, maybe seven feet in length with a soft tip and a medium action. This allows you to keep the fish on once hooked. While the hooks on these lures are super sharp, fish have a tendency to throw the hooks if you put too much pressure on them.


About Author

Don Lamont - The Complete Angler Don Lamont has been a full time professional angler for 34 years, hosting and producing the award winning “The Complete Angler” television series for fifteen of those. Don has received several awards for his commitment to public education and the future of recreational fishing in Canada. Those include a 2000 Canadian Recreational Fisheries Award for his work with Manitoba’s Urban Angling Partnership. In 2003 he received a Manitoba Tourism Award for his promotion of Manitoba and western Canada. In 2004 he was a finalist at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada National Award for Tourism Excellence, presented by The Globe and Mail. Don has been a regular fishing columnist in the Winnipeg Free Press since 1992 and is currently editor of Hooked Magazine.

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