How to Catch Walleye in the Weeds (Part 2 of 2)
By Bernie Barringer
Now that you know why weeds attract walleyes, whether it’s cabbage, milfoil, or your local variety of pondweed, how do you catch them?
Three Tips for How to Catch Walleye in Weeds
Obviously fishing walleye in the weeds presents its own set of problems. Some people get annoyed by continually stopping to remove vegetation from their bait. If that’s you, this might not be your best technique for how to catch walleye. But if you’re willing to put up with this little inconvenience in exchange for a nice batch of walleyes, then read on.
1. Fish walleye vertically. This might mean sneaking up on an opening in an otherwise congested weedbed to drop a jig into the hole as vertically as possible. In fact, that’s the way I catch more walleye from weeds than any other technique. Drop the jig to the bottom, bounce it up and down a few times, and then move on to the next spot and drop the jig again. Usually, if the spot holds a fish, it will hit the jig in the first 15 seconds. They tend to hit it on the drop, so keep a tight line as you drop the jig down.
2. Target the cruisers. Walleye in weedbeds tend to be loosely schooled and cruising through the area, looking for a pod of baitfish. When you find one fish, work the area over well – others are sure to be there. I’ve often taken a limit, or enough for a shore lunch, in an area the size of the hood on my pickup.
3. Aim for ambushers. Another great spot to catch walleye is along the deep edges of weedlines on a steep drop-off. The steeper the drop, the more distinct the weedline will be. You can search the area with a deep-diving crankbait, then spin around and drop your jig down when you contact a fish. In this case, walleyes tend to be ambush feeding rather than cruising. They find a good-looking spot and back themselves into the edge, facing out. When something that looks like an easy meal comes by, they slide out and grab it. Again, catch one and a half-dozen more walleye are likely to be there.
Reelin’ ’em in
Once you catch a walleye in thick weeds, you might have a challenge getting it out – especially if it’s a big one. I prefer a stiff fishing rod with lots of backbone and a fast tip. I spool it with 10- to 20-pound superline so it won’t stretch. Crank your drag down pretty tight and when you hook a fish, quickly wrestle it to the top. The key is to lift it as straight up as possible to avoid getting wrapped around the stems of weeds.
The best time of the year to catch walleye in the weeds is June and July. If you are looking for a meal of tasty walleye fillets, go snooping around a bed of cabbage this summer.
Click here to see The Best Fillet Knife for Walleye
About Bernie Barringer:
Bernie Barringer is a lifelong angler who has competed in professional walleye tournaments. He enjoys fishing for all species and writing about his experiences for many outdoor magazines. He is current editor of Bear Hunting magazine.
What’s your secret for catching walleye in weeds? Share with the Havalon nation.
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