ALL THINGS WALLEYE
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walleye feeding underwater

Early Summer Walleyes

minnowsSo, now that we’re on the edge of summer and the water is warming into the 60’s, walleyes are hungry and aggressive. And they’re not necessarily feeding at a particular depth, but bottom to top, throughout the water column. There are two major spring/early summer events to consider. First, once the water hits a certain temperature, the algae begins to bloom, attracting minnows to feed on the nutrients blooms provide. Minnows are a walleye favorite, of course, so they will follow them up to the shallower depths along the shore to feast on the baitfish. Snap jigging at a slow troll is often a great way to go. Popping the jig up quickly and then letting it drop slowly toward the floor can appear to a walleye as an easy meal trying to escape.

mayflies

The Bug Hatch

An additional feeding opportunity at this time of year is the bug hatch. Every spring, mayflies and other larvae and flies are hatching and walleye will gorge themselves on them. Again, this feeding can occur anywhere in the water column because walleye will actually root through soft bottoms searching for nymphs or come right up to the surface to suck them up. Many fishermen figure that when the hatch is on, walleyes are filled to the gills with hatchlings and have no interest in chasing after anglers’ presentations. That’s not entirely true, however. Considering that walleyes are focused on small prey, running smaller spinners, butterfly blades and jigs trailing a leech or half a crawler along the outer edges of insect clouds can be very successful.

Of course, techniques and strategies like the above are only starting points and, with a little research, you’ll find a lot of great ideas for spring and summer success.

butterfly blade and hook

Speaking of small butterfly blades, there are several on the market that are slow, smooth and quiet, with lots of flash, if that’s what you’re looking for. The blades are light-weight polycarbonate, so less snagging or stalling. They come in all sorts of colors and configurations, single, double hooks, Super Death, etc. One of the advantages is that you can troll them very slowly, down to .25 mph and offer short-striking walleyes a presentation they’re more likely to take.

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