Last season I wrote an article explaining how to tie up your own crawler harnesses. With the weather we’ve had this past week, now is a good time to start building some of your own harnesses to use for this season. There’s nothing more satisfying than catching fish on a lure that you’ve created yourself.
After a great start to the season weather-wise, this past week has confronted us with cold front conditions, rain, and big winds. The walleye bite slowed down in areas that were very productive for the first few weeks after ice out, and the fish are now moving around more, so locating them after we can get back on the water is the first order of business.
Using your electronics to check an area before you start fishing is mandatory, because simply putting your lines in the water in a spot where you caught them last time you were out will not be productive if the fish are not in the area.
Once you find the fish, the next order of business is to figure out what lure will be the most effective. When the water temperature is below 50 degrees, crankbaits are best, and when it reaches 50 degrees it’s time to start pulling the crawler harnesses. Number 5 and 6 blades are most often used here. There is a plethora of colors to choose from, now that there are so many people painting custom colors on blades, but remember the simple blades in gold, copper, and silver caught a ton of fish long before the custom painted blades came along, so spending a lot of money on blades is not necessary. Sometimes, keeping it simple is the best approach.
I have spoken to many anglers that have started pulling crawler harnesses last weekend, and they said they were catching the bigger fish on the crawlers. 1 oz inline weights or number one Tadpoles 25-35 back was best. That puts the bait in the top ten feet of the water column where these fish are suspending just below the surface.
You can run the crawler harness and the Deep Diving Husky Jerks and Reef Runners at the same speed, so put both out and let the fish tell you what they want. If one is more productive than the other, switch out the unproductive baits for the more successful ones to help you catch more fish. As the water warms, though, you’ll want to speed up with the crankbaits, so then it becomes an either/or situation on choosing which lure to use.
Good luck on the water this weekend, and be safe!