Three fishing patterns producing walleyes in area
Wow, we are into August already. Water Carnival and the County Fair are over with and WE Fest is coming soon. WE Fest always seems to signal the end of summer in our area.
It does not, however, signal the end of the open water fishing season. We still have three good months of soft water left. Fish are into summer patterns and all the hatches are done. The forage base is high and the minnow bite is back on, as fish are chasing the new perch hatch.
Three primary patterns continue to produce walleyes in our area lakes. Some walleyes always seem to relate to weeds. These fish will, most often this time of year, be on the deep edge of the weed line and close to deep water access. They will, however, sometimes be in the weeds or on the inside edge of the weeds.
Another pattern has been walleyes that relate to the open basin. These fish will use the deep water and forage on baitfish and bugs, and can be found around mid-lake structure. They will use the edge of the transition between hard and soft bottom. These are the fish that also relate comfortable water temperatures and food sources relating to the thermocline. That depth will varies from lake to lake but a good bet is that 26-32 foot range. These fish will also come to the top or edges of mid-lake structure and may be easier to catch when they are there. They can also be caught by trolling when they are suspended. This takes a lot of patience and practice to master.
The last pattern that still produces even late in the summer is the shallow water, actively feeding walleyes. They are mostly after the small perch. They can be as shallow as 5-9 feet. If the wind is blowing and we have cloud cover, they will stay up on the flats for longer periods of time. Even if the sun is shining, if the food is there, some fish will get after them at some point. Timing for getting on these fish is critical. For me, this is a more difficult group of fish to hunt down if I don't get bites right away. You have to trust they are there and you can't rely on your electronics, as you will not graph these fish in the shallows very often.
This time of year also brings a couple of more aggressive techniques into play. Pulling bottom bouncers and spinners and trolling crank baits are the most common, as they allow you to cover more water and will trigger the more aggressive fish. Spinners are usually pulled from about .8 to 1.5 mph. Crank baits are most often tolled around 2-3 mph at this time of year. Most common is trolling the crank baits shallow and using bottom bouncers for the deep fish. With adaptations either style can be used for targeting the shallow fish, the edge fish or the deep-water walleyes.
Figuring out when, where, what, and how to catch fish makes this such a fun adventure every time.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)