So many people this time of year are always asking how to find the walleyes. Well, a good way to cover some water and find the active fish is doing some deep water trolling. The next thing out of their mouth is, “I’m not set up for that.” Well, you don’t need down riggers or a lot of expensive equipment.
The most practical trolling method in this area is using leadcore line. You can get into the whole set up for under a hundred bucks, Cabelas and Reeds sell combos that are ready to go. You don’t need anything fancy just an 8-foot fiberglass rod and linecounter reel — you do not need a sensitive rod or smooth casting reel. Leadcore line has a different color every ten yards and sinks 5 feet per color, depending on your speed. Next you need to figure out your lure dive rate — if it doesn’t say it on the box a great tool is the “Trollers Bible,” it shows the dive curve for most lures. A dive curve is basically how deep a lure dives per feet of line out. So if you are using a No. 5 Rapala with a maximum dive of 9 feet and you are fishing 25-feet of water you would need to put out three colors of line. This will need some fine tuning with speed.
Another easy way to troll deep water is using very deep-running dive cranks such as Reef Runners, many of these dive up to 25 feet with out leadcore. The only tricky thing with these is you will be running 100-150 feet of line out so you will really need to watch your turns and paths of other boats. I like to use a braided line in 10-pound test for this method as it will help your lure dive deeper than mono.
You can also use something as simple as a shallow-running Rapala and a bottom bouncer weight, use a 2-3 ounce weight about 10 feet before your lure. Let line out until you find the bottom and reel in 10 feet or so of line.
Next is speed and trolling patterns. I usually like to run between 2-3 mph and always make slight turns — that way you know if the outside rod is getting hit you should increase your speed. If it is the inside rod then decrease. Also when you are working an area try a little deeper and a little shallower from your original path. If your big motor trolls too fast you can either use your trolling motor in reverse to slow you down or throw a drift sock out the back of the boat.
Don’t just throw on a lure and go off into the deep blue sea. Unless you are getting bit change lures every 10 minutes or so. And remember just because you do not like a color doesn’t mean the fish won’t.
JAMIE DIETMAN, Hookset Media, may be reached at 218-820-7757.