We’re back with more on improving your walleye fishing skills. If you missed part 1 or part 2 you can click on them for the links to catch up. In part 3 we’re focusing on a new skill – trolling crankbaits!
Many thanks to Neal & Craig for teaching me this skill many many years ago. That was before I had any facial hair. Well I still can’t grow a great stache, but that’s beside the point. By that trip I had lindy rigging and jigging nailed down. But I noticed these two guys were catching way more big fish than me. So naturally I asked them how they were doing it and they told me!
Forward trolling crankbaits is a terrific way to catch big fish! My favorite time to do this is the hour or two before dark when the light level dips and even after dark. You will catch fish doing this in the middle of the day too, but dusk is the magic hour. You may have noticed I specified “forward” trolling. When we were lindy rigging we were trolling backward to keep the boat slow – generally under 1 mph. Trolling crankbaits, I shoot for 1-2 mph or slightly faster than a forward idle. You want to put a little action on the lures and make them wobble in the water. The lips on the front of the lures will drive them down to depth. You can also affect how deep the baits run by how much line you let out.
These are some stand-by baits I keep in my tackle box. Rapala makes a great line of lures and there are plenty of competing products out there that will work too. Generally I’m looking for anything that looks like a minnow and runs shallower than 15′ deep. Husky Jerks are an evening favorite. They dive 4′-8′ deep.
Try heading back to an area where you enjoyed success earlier in the day. Remember as the light dims many fish will move shallower to feed so you can move in a bit. Just try to stay deep enough to keep your lure off the bottom or choose a shallower running crank.
Trolling cranks is an effective way to hit some big ones. Give it a try on your next trip!