A winning combination for weed or rock walleyes

A very interesting pattern develops on stained water lakes. It revolves around sunlight.
It’s difficult to say exactly why but on cloudy days, you’ll catch most of your fish in the weeds; on sunny days, most will come off the rocks. It’s not a hard and fast rule but it holds remarkably true.
On cloudy days, walleyes rise up near the tops and out to the edge of weeds. They’re active and easy to get at, and you can usually catch a bunch.
If you fish the rocks on a cloudy day, though, it’s usually tough.
On the other hand, when the sun shines, the walleyes tend to bury down into the weeds during the day. They’re no longer active on the edges so you’ll have to pick and scrounge to get a few.
But when the sun shines on the rocks, it’s like magic. The walleyes are active. We believe it’s a matter of better vision coupled with increased bait fish activity.
First, there’s increased light penetration through the water and more light reflection off the rocks. The rock fish can see better than usual. Second, increased light penetration spurs more algae and plankton growth, and thus more walleye movement.
Rocks may even warm up a bit. There may be more to it than that but whatever the reason, when it’s sunny, the rocks are the place to be.
It’s not a matter of the fish moving from the rocks to the weeds, or vice versa, depending on the sun. It’s simply the localized population of fish responding to changing conditions. One bunch is active; the other isn’t.
Tomorrow things may change. Be aware of the triggering effect of sunlight and concentrate you efforts accordingly.
The stained water demands lure choices that trigger by both sight and sound. Since you should work over, through, and along the edges of weeds and down among the rocks, you should select a limited number of lures that will do all of the above.
All you need is a very simple tackle assortment to catch these fish.
The two basic types of lures I use to fish rocks and weeds are jigs and crankbaits. Both of these simple to use lures allow an angler to rip and rustle through weeds, or do a job on the rocks.
And both give you sight and sound that is so critical in stained water.
Stick with jigs in the 1/16, 1/8, and 1/4 oz. ranges, in two basic styles. One type is the standard round jig, which can be use dressed with plastic or used plain with a stinger hook.
The second type of jig I prefer is a wedge-shaped head. Any jig that tapers to a point of the head is relatively weed-free.
Add the dressing of your choice to any of these jigs. A three-inch fathead minnow hooked through the bottom jaw and out the top of the skull is remarkably tough, and can be worked with ease through rocks and weeds.
When walleyes are active, simply cast out and swim the jig across the tops of the weeds, occasionally touching the tops. When you get to the weedline, let it fall down the edge and rest on the bottom.
Pay close attention to the slightest twitch because it may be a walleye sucking in the jig.
For less active fish, you will have to go into the weeds. Use a slightly heavier jig–like a 1/4 oz. jig–and let it fall into the weeds. Let it sit. Jiggle it. Rip it a few feet and let it sit again. You have to make some noise.
Rock walleyes are easier to get at. If possible, stick to the 1/16 or 1/8 oz. jigs. They are far more snag resistant than heavier 1/4 oz. jigs and work better in rocks.
Swim, slide, or crawl your jig across the rocks, or give it a few quick hops. Try letting it sit if the snags aren’t too bad. It always pays to experiment with retrieves.
The flash and vibration of crankbaits makes them natural for these conditions. The fish can sense them a long way off, and be ready to strike as they approach. All in all, they are far more effective on walleyes than most people realize.
The crankbait I prefer to use on weeds and walleyes is the Husky Jerk. It is long and has a slow wobble. The colour is flashy and catches the eye of the walleyes.
And if you let it sit over the top of the weeds and twitch it ever so slowly, it will drive those walleyes crazy.
The casting approach, using jigs or crankbaits, should do the trick.
Whichever tactic you use, a medium spinning rod and reel spooled up with some 8-lb. test line should give you a winning combination for walleyes that are in the weeds or on the rocks.

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