What’s going on in walleye land?

Now that summer finally is starting to set in, Sunset Country’s most popular fish are heating up.
Walleyes on lakes across the region are setting up on traditional summer locations, where big numbers and good quality can be had by anglers.
So, how do you catch ’em?
Let’s look at some location factors first. Anglers are faced with high water conditions on most waters this year, which is a good thing, because it forces current through many areas that don’t normally have it.
One thing about walleyes is they love current, so nearly any channel or neck down area in most lakes will have some current, especially on the bigger lakes like Lake of the Woods and Rainy.
Find these areas with some current and walleyes won’t be far away.
Rivers offer a different situation. Alex Keszler and his son, Darrell, won a walleye tournament in Minaki this past weekend on the Winnipeg River. I talked to Keszler afterwards and he mentioned something they had figured out that helped them to win the tournament.
“On a river where there is always going to be a significant amount of current, many of the traditional fishing locations have almost too much current this year,” he told me. “We found large schools of fish of all sizes by fishing locations that had just a little bit of current.
“I have fished at Minaki for many years and most of the places we caught fish were places I had never fished before,” he noted.
Just because there is more current this year doesn’t mean that anglers should abandon the traditional summer haunts of walleyes on many of the big waters. Humps and main lake flats are home to countless walleyes in all waters for the next few months—the key for this game is using your electronics to find schools of fish.
Far too many anglers just drive around until they find a hump, drop their line over the side of the boat, and start fishing aimlessly. Electronics today are so good, they will show you fish if they are there.
My Hummingbird unit, for instance, combines GPS and sonar that I use together. I have the maps for most of the big waters in Sunset Country loaded into this machine and I can drive right up to the humps or other structure that I want to fish, drive around until I mark fish on the sonar, then throw a buoy out to mark the spot.
I then can turn the boat around and stop it right at the marker. We can drop jigs tipped with live bait or one of countless artificials, and immediately start catching fish.
It’s scary how good the electronics are today and how easy they make catching walleyes when they are on main lake structure.
Crankbaits and jerkbaits can be good producers, as well, especially for big fish.
This past weekend, when conditions were super tough because of all the wind, I probably would have taken a few days off from fishing, but I had some guide trips booked so I had to go.
It was way too windy to sit on humps and jig. Instead, we used the big 225 horse Merc on my boat to troll wind-blown shorelines with a variety of Rapala baits like Shad Raps, X-Raps, and Husky Jerks. We were able to cover a lot of water and find fish this way.
As much as the strong winds make for uncomfortable conditions, in most cases it makes the walleyes very active, especially in the summer. The wind actually will push walleyes into shallower water to feed.
We caught a lot of fish in four-10 feet of water (a little bit shallower than most people are used to). Further, when walleyes get that shallow, they are usually very active.
When you are walleye fishing in the coming weeks, keep an open mind, let your electronics do some work for you, and try to find some current.
Do this and you will find plenty of walleyes.

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