Troll up more walleyes in the summer

Fishing the Midwest

— Submitted photo Chad Peterson with a nice summer walleye taken on a crankbait.

The dead of summer is when some anglers have trouble catching walleyes. If you would like to increase your odds for putting some walleyes in the boat in the next few weeks, trolling, either forward or backward, will help you do so. Following are some ideas for trolling to catch more walleyes in the summer.

There are several reasons why trolling can be so good right now. First of all, trolling allows us to cover more water. Walleyes will move around quite a bit in the summer. Their primary thing this time of year is to eat, and they’ll keep moving until they find something to eat.

Another benefit of trolling is that it allows you to get more lines in the water in most states. More lines means we can show more lures to the fish. Sometimes, probably most of the time, lure shape, size, and color will be an important factor. The more options we can show the fish, the more likely we are to get bit. Once we figure out which size, color and shape the walleyes want, the more we can fine-tune our presentation.

Now, let’s go fishing. If the walleyes are holding tight to structure, they will often be concentrated in a small area. Live bait rigs presented slowly will often be the best presentation in this situation. We will want to keep our baits right in the fish’s face, so a backtrolling or slow, slow forward trolling presentation will be best. We want to make the fish bite.

More and more though, we’re trolling faster this time of the year, looking for fish that want to get caught. Spinners such as Northland’s Crawler Hauler or Baitfish Image spinners tipped with nightcrawlers usually are exceptionally productive when we’re looking for these big groups of wandering walleyes. The walleyes could be near the bottom, but often they’ll be suspended or just a few feet below the surface. They’ll be wherever their food is.

Crankbaits like Strike King’s Lucky Shad have also been very productive for us the past couple of years. There’s something about the action and shape of these baits that seems to be very appealing to walleyes.

To most efficiently present your baits, in-line planer boards will be a big help. They allow an angler to get more baits in the water without tangling, and they allow an angler to present a bait to those walleyes just below the surface without spooking them. The planer board gets the bait out away from the boat, so the fish aren’t aware of the boat when they see the bait.

Unless you have some information from previous trips or another angler, you should try different colors and running depths. Attach a Pro Snap Weight or Tadpole to your line with the heavier weights on the lines close to the boat and lighter weights on the lines farther out. By doing so, the lines out away from the boat will run higher, the lines close to the boat will run deeper. You’ll cover more depth zones by doing so.

When it comes to planer boards you can’t beat the ones produced by Off Shore Tackle. Off Shore is the leader when it comes to trolling systems.

Walleyes can be surprisingly aggressive right now. By trolling, you can cover more water and catch more fish. Now is the perfect time to find that out for yourself.

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