Going Deep….For Fall Walleyes
By Captain Ross Robertson, of BigWater Fishing
For some reason fishing deep can be intimidating. In reality, deeper fish are less pressured, easier to mark on sonar, and it’s just much easier to catch that fall walleye in deep water. Here are three ways to effectively target deep fish this fall.
Originally a salmon tactic, Dipsy Divers have proven very effective on the great Lakes when you need to get deep quickly and efficiently.
While many anglers know of their effectiveness on large lakes, I personally know anglers who have had great success with them on smaller lakes and reservoirs because you can quickly spin back around and go over a productive area without picking up gear or making a large circle turn.
The principle is that the trip mechanism keeps the diving device forced down and diving until it is released by a fish strike. A dial allows the weight to be adjusted and dive at different angles, allowing more water to be covered and multiple lines to be used per side of the boat without tangling. Shallow diving crankbaits and thin trolling spoons are most frequently used.
The addition of a snap weight is simple, inexpensive and keeps one from having to store a lot of extra gear. Simply put, adding a snap weight onto your line changes the line angle and causes your lure to run deeper.
While clipping on a snap weight is simple, knowing where to attach it can be slightly more complicated. Anglers commonly attach them anywhere from a rod length above the lure, to as much as fifty feet. In situations where you have clear water, fish are spooky or you need a more subtle approach, try placing the snap anywhere from 30 to 50ft to start. Day in and day out I personally run mine anywhere from 20 to 30ft up from the lure. This is a good compromise distance for subtlety and added depth, while still giving me enough time to unhook it before netting. When you need to get extra deep, trolling at faster speeds or are worried about tangling, a shorter lead is best. When this is the case putting the snap a rod length above the lure helps minimize the aforementioned issues and allows you to keep the snap on while netting.
One small caveat that isn’t necessary but I have found effective through the years when using snap weights is to create a small leader. I use the same line as my main line, but just place a very small swivel inline approximately five foot up from the lure. This eliminates any twist I may get from big turns or small junk fish that can quickly create havoc.
No different than trolling with crankbaits, experiment with different leads and weights to achieve the depth the walleyes want that day.
Lures like the original Jigging Rap have been getting so much attention as of late that it has become their best-selling lure. The Likes of Al Lindner has taught us that these style lures aren’t just for ice fishing. While they can be cast out and worked many anglers in the cooler water periods seem to have the best results working them at or near vertically. This allows anglers to “video game” and work individual fish, reeling up or down to target what you see.
In most cases you can fish these lures right out of the package, but replacing the treble hook with a larger size seems to increase landing percentages. One rigging tip that will help eliminate some headaches is to use a 18’’ leader of heavy fluorocarbon leader material with a small swivel to attach to your mainline. This helps fight abrasions and reduce wind tangles or wear.
Fishing in the fall is similar to hunting, tough, until it all seems to come together. Don’t be afraid to try new things, the more weapons you are comfortable with in your arsenal, the better your results are likely to be.
Capt. Ross Robertson