At this time last year, the fishing had slowed down close to shore, and long runs were expected to get to the larger schools of walleye roaming the lake. Trips to Canadian waters, the weather buoy, or the sandbar were expected. That isn’t the case this year, thanks to the cooler water temperatures and diminished amounts of shad in the system. While those areas are still good at this time of year, there’s no need to use up all that gas to get there. It’s been very good walleye fishing between Kelleys Island and Vermilion, and shorter runs of only a few miles out of Cedar Point, Huron, and Vermilion have been producing limits of walleye for many lucky anglers who have been chasing the roaming elusive walleye.
Sure, we could find walleye in close last year, but the size and numbers were much smaller than what we are experiencing this season. If you’re a Facebook user, and have a bunch of “fishing friends” like I have, you would see that there are many people reporting catches with “Fish-O’s” (walleye that are 28 inches or better) being caught on a regular basis out of these areas. I’m not saying that you can just go out and put some baits in the water and catch fish, it’s still a puzzle with pieces that needs to be put together.
What do I mean? Think of it as a puzzle in front of you with pieces and parts that need to be put together to see the whole finished picture, or in this case, a livewell full of fish.
Like with any puzzle you start with once piece and then figure out which piece fits into that one, and then the next one, and so on, and so on.
Start with getting some information for an area that has been producing walleye from friends or the local bait shop. That will narrow down your search considerably.
Next, find the second piece of the puzzle. Use your electronics to search the area for any fish that might be in that area, and take note of the depth they are holding in. Are they suspended up high, in the middle of the water column, or on the bottom? Once you figure this out, you’ll want to present your lures above them. The water clarity will determine how far above them you can be, before they can no longer see it. Walleye look up, so you never want to fish below the marks you’re targeting. In clearer water the walleye will travel a good distance to come up for a tantalizing treat.
The next piece of the puzzle is to figure out what they want to eat that day. Is it sunny? Present brightly painted baits. Is it cloudy? Add some darker bait color options to the mix.
Anyone who reads my weekly report knows that I am strictly a troller, so I need to figure out what speed they want on any given day. If you don’t think it makes a difference, you would be surprised, because sometimes a speed adjustment is the difference between a full livewell and an empty one.
To figure out what speed I should be going, I start with a typical speed used for running crawler harnesses, which is 1.5 mph during the warmer part of the season. Then, I will start doing “S” turns, so that the baits on one side of the boat are going faster, and the baits on the other side of the boat slow down. If one side starts picking up fish, then I know either to slow down, or speed up. But, if both sides take fish while I’m in an “S” turn, then I’ll probably be standing there with a confused look on my face, scratching my head, and just continue to do the turns from time to time.
So, you see, it’s all a puzzle. There is never a given strategy that will work the same every time you go fishing. You need to put the puzzle pieces together to see the whole picture on any given day. What worked yesterday so well might have slightly changed, but by adjusting to those changes you can be successful on a more consistent basis.
Good luck and be safe!