Be sure to graduate to plastics

Most walleye anglers are familiar with plastic-bodied jigs like the Foxee or Lipstick. These jigs have subtle action bodies and are excellent finesse jigs.
But the plastic bodies I have in mind have larger bodies–and much more tail action.
Plastic baits are productive year ’round but I really like them during warm weather. When the water is warm, fish frequently are more willing to chase a bait.
Plastic bait can be moved quickly so more water can be covered. And the more water you cover, the more walleyes you’ll have the opportunity to catch.
A jig heavier than normal is required to move the bait along at a quick pace. 1/4 and 3/8-oz. heads are the sizes I use the most with plastics in warm weather but 1/8-oz. heads also are used in a variety of circumstances.
Walleyes frequently will spread out over shallow flats or on points. When they do so, try front trolling at a fairly quick clip. Tie on a jig and plastic trailer heavy enough to stay near the bottom as the boat moves along. As the trolling pass is made, sweep the rod so the bait jumps, then falls back to the bottom.
A 6’6” Cabela’s medium heavy action spinning rod with XT in eight to 10-pound test will be about right.
Plastic lures play an important part in three-way rigging on rivers. The common three-way, or Wolf River, rig is one of the oldest and most effective means of keeping a bait near the bottom while trolling upstream.
Comprised of six-pound test main line and leader, a small three-way swivel, a lead sinker, and an assortment of super sharp hooks, upstream rigging is very popular on large rivers like the Mississippi, Illinois, St. Croix, and Missouri.
Three-way rigs are among the oldest–yet least refined–rigging concepts in walleye fishing. They’re chiefly used with livebait snells in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs during summer months when walleyes move out on deep flats.
Three-way rigs cover the water quickly when active walleyes spread across flats but they also excel with slow presentations more subtle to neutral fish.
The basic rig features a three-way swivel with two attached lines, a 12-24 inch drop line with a one-three oz. bell sinker, and a 30-40 inch leader tied to your bait or lure.
The drop line positions your offering a set distance above the bottom while the leader provides an invisible connection between the swivel and lure.
Use a 1 2/3 to 3-oz. weight to maintain trolling drifting speeds of 1.5-2.5 mph with spinners or crankbaits, or to hold live bait steady in current. Lighter weights (1/2 to 1-oz.) work better with subtle livebait rigs or floating jigheads fished slower with frequent pauses.
At the business end of the leader, several livebait and soft plastic options are worth trying. Soft plastic floating jigs like the GumDrop Floater, produced by Northland Tackle, are simple systems and offer fish-attracting colour in a compact soft plastic package.
Plastic grubs or Power Baits also can be easily added to a Wolf River rig. I prefer to add the smaller panfish style curly tail grubs to floating jig heads to give it more action and added colour.
Dressing up a #1 or #2 Aberdeen worm hook with a three or four-inch twister tail is another excellent way to add plastic to your three-way rig.
Plastic lures can be fished clean on a three-way rig but most anglers prefer to tip the plastic with livebait. Leeches, minnows, and crawlers can all be used successfully while three-way rigging.
Power Grubs and Power Worms, especially the new “Neonz,” are good examples of plastic baits with action tails that are extremely productive. The three and four-inch sizes are the best for walleyes although two-inch grubs can be good with fish that are finicky.
Go with the larger baits when a slow fall is desired, or when the walleyes are active.
The bass angler has caught on to the idea of the plastic worm fishing, and I believe the walleye angler can’t be far behind.

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