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AnglingBuzz Show 12: Hunting Down Summer Walleye

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We're hunting for summer walleye. Now this time of year can be challenging for some anglers, so we're gonna break down the presentations, the techniques, gear, and locations from shallow to deep to help you catch more fish.

 

Along with our BuzzBite reports from across the upper Midwest, our cool product segment, and much more. This is Angling Buzz brought to you by Omni-Efficient, a smarter tackle shopping experience.

 

Right now, walleye are spread out based on forage. Now, there are predatory and opportunistic fish that like to feed on perch, shiners, crayfish, bugs, and sisko. Simply put, they're grazing on whatever the best available forage is.

 

There you go. Thank you, sir. Where and what they're feeding on can determine the best presentation tactic. Siskos, for example, trolling crankbaits would be a great option. Bug hatches will slip floats and pulling spinner rigs two great options. Shallow water, windbite, casting crankbaits, as well as jigs and soft plastics.

 

Today, we're joined by Minnesota guide and walleye guru, Brad Hawthorne, to get his take on summer walleye fishing. Now, Brad, you spend a lot of time during the summer months chasing walleye. What are some important aspects that you can share with us for targeting them during the summer?

 

Well, Troy, walleye fishing in the summer months has changed drastically over the last few years. I would say with the advent of Megalive and then being able to couple that with side imaging and down imaging and then obviously the new VX chip from LakeMaster, you're really taking a Chinese star and putting it together in your boat.

 

And what I mean by that is you're really wielding a deadly weapon. When you go out and you couple the best mapping, the best side imaging and forward facing sonar together in a one-boat network in your boat. And all that does is tie all those data points back together.

 

So some days I'm using side imaging and I'm going back and I'm jigcrawling or net rigging, whichever you call it. And we're just throwing at fish. We're just throwing at targets is what we're doing on side imaging. I drop a waypoint and I go back and I throw out of it.

 

Other times when the fish are moving, you know, if they're not moving in one direction, they're kind of moving all over, I'll go and ride the bow up there and we will point and shoot. That's using Megalive. We're pointing out of fish and we're actively targeting those individual fish on Megalive or smaller groups of fish. And that's all finding fish in the summer is, is accurately reading the data that's given to you on your helix or whatever your sonar is, interpreting that data effectively and then catching the fish. That is what it's about.

 

So that's what's really changed in the summer haunts of walleye fishing. That and my favorite part is we've been using a lot of plastics for walleye for a really long time and you ask any of my customers that have done it. When you go out and you can leave the bait in the cooler and catch more fish on artificials, you catch more fish 'cause you can process fish faster. You also get more enjoyment doing it. And by using plastics, it just makes you a better angler. Any time you're swimming a lure or trying to mimic something that's live, your angling skills get better just because you're moving a lure, you're figuring out which way the fish want it and you're tucking that back in your library for the next time you go out fishing.

 

Yes, that's very true. And what are some of your favorite presentations for summer walleye?

 

So it's number one favorite summer walleye fishing approach. I call it jig-crawling because I'm not gonna call it Ned Rigging because it is different, right? And what we found in the early days on Malax, you'll see a lot, there's a lot of guys promoting it, but it started here, it started right here with when we started doing more smallmouth trips about 15, 20 years ago.

 

Ned Rigging is an extremely effective bait, or working, not just Ned Rigging, but working baits in general along the bottom for smallmouth is very effective. It's also very effective for walleye so you could see how you'd catch both of them at the same time.

 

Football delivery and what it happened was on some days, oh yeah, there you go. You'd catch a lot more walleye, which led a lot of us to believe that there was something here so we started to hone that technique. So what I call jig-crawling is just a little bit bigger than Ned Rigging, so I'm using a three to a three and a half-inch worm or whatever type of bait. Sometimes that's a middle bait and I'm using a Ned style or a light, three-sixteenths football or hill head, whichever, let your bottom composition determine what jig-head you're gonna use, and then literally just working these lures, spinking the opposite of snap jigging.

 

Sometimes you're just popping it on the bottom, sometimes you're swimming it for a foot, letting it fall, but what I call jig-crawling or Ned Rigging, four walleyes has absolutely exploded across the Midwest the last about two or three years here, and that is largely due to, once our plastics getting so much better, I mean, that's gone leaps and bounds the last two years.

 

Number two, being able to bring tungsten jigs into an affordable level so guys can use smaller profiles, still add color and get the jig down to those depths of the walleyes rat. So like those three things are really what brought, you know, jig-crawling, Ned Rigging into the limelight for walleye fishing.

 

And now let's talk about Malax. You spent a lot of time out there, what's your take on the state of the fishing there right now?

 

I love this question, Troy. The state of the Malax fishery is, you know, Malax is closer to twin cities, it's kind of like days of our lives with the fishery going on, but the one thing that hasn't changed in Malax is that if you go to Malax, you catch fish, and that is an undeniable fact of Malax.

 

You come to Malax, you're around, and you catch fish, it's the most consistent, large body of water in the state of Minnesota. And no matter how hard people try, you're not gonna knock it off that shortlist.

 

Well, thank you, Brad for your time, I always appreciate it. And up next in our timely topics feature, we're gonna be joining Tony Roach for more summer walleye.

 

Hey, I'm Tony Roach for Angling Buzz. I wanna talk about my favorite mid-summer walleye patterns and then also locations for walleyes mid-summer.

 

You know, let's start with plastics, plastics in the weeds. You know, there's a lot of lakes with great vegetation and weed lines that you can attack, you know, with artificial bait, whether it's a ring worm, you know, like this one from Power Bait. That's a real popular one, a grub. This is a real popular one, a four-inch curl tail grub and then power worms, those are my go-to's.

 

And what I like about them, you know, especially that ring worm and that grub, it displaces a lot of water. It puts off a lot of vibrations. It really gets those fish's attention, especially in low light conditions. Low light conditions. What do I mean by that? Early morning, late evening, that is when you wanna fish plastics, those high vibrations. You know, as the sun gets high in the sky, those fish have a tendency to move to the edge of the weeds. That's when you wanna switch over to live bait, maybe a Lindy Rig with a crawler or a leech. Now, I fish leeches, I fish leeches for walleyes. I've been fishing for walleyes for over 20 years and leeches are one of my go-tos.

 

Leeches and crawlers, it seems like I always got a tub of those in the boat. And, you know, that Lindy Rig is a great way to attack those fish when they're on the outside edge of the weed line, really slow and precise presentations. You know, one thing I'd like to say, you know, just slow it down, don't be in a hurry to move around. Spend a little time in those high percentage areas. If you come across a point, a point that goes out in the lake, especially if it's got a deeper side and a shallower side, those fish will move on the outside, outside of that deeper side, looking for bait fish, especially in low light conditions.

 

You know, pay attention to your graph. If you got good electronics, good side scan, down imaging, definitely put it to use. You know, if you see those fish on that side imaging, on the outside of that point, anchor up, right, sit on those fish, you know, make a few casts in their general direction. You know, slow your presentations down, definitely fish slower than faster and you'll have a lot more success when you're targeting those walleyes mid-summer. - Great tips from Tony there on targeting mid-summer walleye, both with plastics and live bait. Now, let's take a look at our BuzzBite reports for this week.

 

Yeah, we're going to start out in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with Rob Manthei, big guide up there. He guides on a lot of different bodies of water and I asked him how's the fishing been, you know, and what are you doing?

He says he's been chasing walleyes on Burt and Mullett Lakes, which is on the west side of the state. He said the best bite is coming early and late, which we've been talking about. Fishing windblown points and weeds is a good place to start in the morning. He says it's a minnow bite, so get yourself some large minnows.

 

He also said the daytime bite has been a bit slow. And he's been focusing more on smallmouth bass on the inland lakes. He says drop-shot rigs, tubes, and top waters are all working well for the smallmouths.

 

We're also going to stick in Michigan and head to west Michigan, over to Mark Chmura. And Mark guides on Muskegon and Mona Lake and White Lake. He's been chasing smallmouths. So, if you want to catch smallmouth bass on some of those west Michigan lakes, he's your guy.

 

He's also been fishing for walleyes on Muskegon Lake. He says the key there is covering water. Trolling with crankbaits or worm harnesses is a good way to go. He says the walleyes are scattered, but the guys that are catching them are covering water.

 

On the north end of Green Bay, this would be north of Marinette-Menominee, up in the Door County region, Captain Lonney Goman is trolling the bay of Green Bay. He says it's been very good. Fish are on the reefs and in the channels. He's trolling crankbaits, he's using planer boards and he's flat-lining. So if you're up in that area and you want to catch some of those north end Green Bay walleyes, get a hold of Captain Lonney Goman.

 

Finally, we're going to head over to the Madison Chain in southern Wisconsin with my buddy, Gene Dellinger. Gene said, you know, he's been chasing those walleyes on the Madison Chain and he says it's been very good. The guys that are trolling leeches have been doing the best.

 

So get ahold of Gene Dellinger if you want to chase walleyes on the Madison Chain. But if you want more information on what's going on in your local area, check us out on Facebook, on our BuzzBite Reports, and we'll have more up to the minute reports for your local area. - Those are some great reports from across the Midwest, and it's always good to hear what's biting in different locations.

 

Absolutely. And it's always good to have that information, you know, on hand so that you can plan your next fishing trip and have the best chances of success. And that's what we try to provide here on Angling Buzz.

 

Exactly. And speaking of planning your next fishing trip, we have our cool products segment coming up next.

 

Yeah, we got some great stuff. You know, I'm looking forward to that. And then also, we're going to talk to Tim Snyder, who's from Hobie Kayaks, about kayak fishing and some great products for kayak anglers. So we got a great show lined up. Stay tuned.

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