walleye strategy walleye strategy walleye strategy walleye strategy
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    29

    Default walleye strategy

    So I've fished lake erie a number of years for perch, and have pretty much decided to hunt walleyes now for the challenge. I think I have a handle on lures, lines, speed, depth etc, basically the answer is going to be "it depends" and "keep switching until something works". Does that seem fair?

    My question is this. What I have learned perch fishing erie is that you must find the fish first, if you expect to catch enough for a meal. So if I'm out there, and not marking many fish, I will keep looking for a school to anchor over, or in an area where the schools are roaming, even if it cuts into valuable fishing time. it's a huge lake with a lot of empty space, you just have to find them.

    Is it the same with walleyes? Do you drive around with your boat fairly fast, running your sonar on 83 khz until you see schools suspended? What speed does your boat handle seeing walleye at? One of my first things to try is find a school, and then drive over it at various speeds to determine what my setup works like. Obviously help from friends saying where the fish were yesterday I'm guessing is a big help, but not a guarantee. I have filled up a cooler with 12 inch perch one saturday, gone back the very next saturday and see nothing but a barren bottom on the sonar.

    I could see finding schools working ok for mid level fish, but the bottom dwellers might not be so easy to find, I'm guessing you find schools of baitfish first.

    I know I could join the flotilla of trollers and combat fish, but I really, really, hate that. What is supposed to be a relaxing time on the water turns into a stressful situation. Even perch fishing I try and stay away from the crowd if possible, although once you start catching them the crowd comes to you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brockport NY
    Posts
    141

    Default

    I always look at fish first thing (it's still dark or twilight when I leave launch) and get some options. Get set up before you hit your marks and most importantly, know where depth wise your baits are running! Color and whatever methods is always less important then putting baits where the need to be. They add to presentation ofcourse though.

  3. #3

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    FWIW, here is my general approach in summer...your milage may vary. Im sure others will chime in as well...there are very good fishermen on this site.

    Yes, first you need to find bait and/or fish.

    Short of friends telling you what, where and how, one of the most important aspects in hunting predator fish is being able to mark bait and fish at cruising speed - saves precious time - if your sonar/transducer isn't allowing you to do this - tweak them until you can!.

    So now I can find fish/bait, but are they active fish? Suspended fish, especially in/under bait schools, are generally active. Bottom hugging fish are generally inactive.

    Marking bait, but no predator marks, circle around the bait increasing the radius up to one mile. No bites or predator marks, pick up and keep looking.

    OK found fish/bait... now what triggers the bite (type of baits? troll direction? speed? and color?).

    With no prior intel to the contrary, I start zig zag trolling with boards and dipys at 2+ mph with a spread of sticks of varying actions and colors. If fish are aggressive you'll catch...then tune your spread to maximize your catch rate.

    If i'm getting lookers but no takers or the bite is a slow pick i'll switch over to harnesses on boards and riggers targeting suspended and bottom hugging fish.

    If no bites after 30 mins... I pick up and repeat above..
    Last edited by ShortHanded; 06-23-2016 at 03:59 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    1,307

    Default

    I went to a seminar last January, much to Fishkillers recommendation. The presenter was Lance Valentine. His first statement was " fish where there are fish" and " it may or may not be where the other boats are". But lets admit it its tough to look for fish. Everyone wants to get a line or two in the water as soon as they can. He had a LOT of information on how to set up your sonar to get the best information. But this is Key.
    Current flotation devices:
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenHead View Post
    I always look at fish first thing (it's still dark or twilight when I leave launch) and get some options. Get set up before you hit your marks and most importantly, know where depth wise your baits are running! Color and whatever methods is always less important then putting baits where the need to be. They add to presentation ofcourse though.
    Yeah, I have learned the "get your gear setup up" lesson myself. Aggravating as all get out knowing there are fish down there, and hurrying to get the gear out, it always is so much faster tying knots etc in a rocking boat, and you never drop anything. Depth being most important makes sense to me, and in my experience fishing walleyes other lakes probably speed up there as well. Thanks greenhead for the reply.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ShortHanded View Post
    FWIW, here is my general approach in summer...your milage may vary. Im sure others will chime in as well...there are very good fishermen on this site.

    Yes, first you need to find bait and/or fish.

    Short of friends telling you what, where and how, one of the most important aspects in hunting predator fish is being able to mark bait and fish at cruising speed - saves precious time - if your sonar/transducer isn't allowing you to do this - tweak them until you can!.

    So now I can find fish/bait, but are they active fish? Suspended fish, especially in/under bait schools, are generally active. Bottom hugging fish are generally inactive.

    Marking bait, but no predator marks, circle around the bait increasing the radius up to one mile. No bites or predator marks, pick up and keep looking.

    OK found fish/bait... now what triggers the bite (type of baits? troll direction? speed? and color?).

    With no prior intel to the contrary, I start zig zag trolling with boards and dipys at 2+ mph with a spread of sticks of varying actions and colors. If fish are aggressive you'll catch...then tune your spread to maximize your catch rate.

    If i'm getting lookers but no takers or the bite is a slow pick i'll switch over to harnesses on boards and riggers targeting suspended and bottom hugging fish.

    If no bites after 30 mins... I pick up and repeat above..
    Thanks shorthanded this is exactly what I was looking for. So if you find a school, say center mass at 25 ft deep. How deep will you run lures? A variety of depths not going deeper than 25? Feeding fish tend to rise up and eat, not sink down.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    29

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    Quote Originally Posted by captainjoe View Post
    I went to a seminar last January, much to Fishkillers recommendation. The presenter was Lance Valentine. His first statement was " fish where there are fish" and " it may or may not be where the other boats are". But lets admit it its tough to look for fish. Everyone wants to get a line or two in the water as soon as they can. He had a LOT of information on how to set up your sonar to get the best information. But this is Key.

    Thanks captainjoe, I have learned a lot about my sonar just perch fishing, and about just how important sonar is. It was tricky to adjust to, I'm closing in on 50 and can remember when sonar was all pretty new, and the big problem back then was paying too much attention to your electronics and not fishing. At least for me.

    Thanks guys I've got a 12 year old son who wants to catch a walleye and I don't want to disappoint him.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPearl View Post
    Thanks shorthanded this is exactly what I was looking for. So if you find a school, say center mass at 25 ft deep. How deep will you run lures? A variety of depths not going deeper than 25? Feeding fish tend to rise up and eat, not sink down.
    I'm not convinced walleye only feed up. That said, accurately placing your baits at depths within a well conceived overall spread is critical to catching.

    Given your question...I would setup my spread slightly above, inside, at bottom and below (say 10ft) the bait.

    Remember your sonar reports the distance from the transducer to the fish not the precise depth directly below the surface. Sometimes these distances are the same, but often fish shown are off-center or on the the extreme edge of the transducer cone. A fish off-center or on the outside of the cone is actually "shallower" than the reported depth... the amount less depends on the frequency cone angle of your transducer and relative fish depth. One way to tell is by the shape and density of the graphed "hook". At trolling speeds partial or faint marks are toward the outside of the cone and higher in the water than reported. Perfect solid color hooks are more in the center of the cone angle and closer to the indicated depth. This adjustment is a detail, but could throw your perceived depth off by as much as 6 ft or more depending on relative fish depth. This depth error is less in relatively clearer/shallower waters of eastern lake Erie vs. lake Ontario for example.

    Line counter reel calibration is another way to reduce the errors in placing baits in the vertical water column.

    More accurate depth placement of your baits within a well conceived overall spread will put more fish in your box.
    Last edited by ShortHanded; 06-24-2016 at 07:54 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    29

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    I was out this past weekend on the 4th out of sturgeon point. Launching around 4pm was one of the craziest things I've ever seen, there were 12 boats filling up the harbor, waiting to dock, it had just started to cloud up so maybe people were getting nervous out there, who knows, and they kept coming in. Had to wait to launch, just so the harbor could clear out somewhat.

    Played around with my sonar, found out I can split screen both 83 kHz and 200 kHz so that was pretty interesting. Also found I don't have to putter along to see fish, or at least see something worth investigating, I can slow down and get a better look.

    Boy did I see fish. Schools of baitfish, closer to the surface. Schools of larger fish in a variety of depths. And schools of baitfish with larger fish underneath them, probably feeding on them. I ran a few varieties of presentations, but like others mentioned the fish were very tight lipped. Had family with me, plus the kicker motor started acting up (first time ever), so wasn't able to fish for as long as I wanted. I think I could spend all day out there working out the puzzle. One thing I have to do is rig up some type of trolling board or rail to get several poles working these fish.


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