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Walleye Subleties

Man it's getting hot! Unfortunately that doesn't pertain to the weather. As the temps are falling, however, the bite is starting to go crazy. Jigs, crankbaits, spinners, and live bait are all producing for walleyes both locally and a far. Even though this is one of the easiest times to put a limit on the stringer, paying attention to small differences in location and presentation can be beneficial for the times when they're not jumping in the boat.

With location for walleyes we fall back on old habits or holes that have produced in the past. Often those become what's known as community holes. Those places that do produce year after year become places where you can offer simple pleasantries as you pass by whomever got there before you. The great thing about our local small river systems is that for the twenty-five percent of the river that stays relatively the same the other seventy-five is always changing. How many times have you come up on a hole that produced the year before only to find the tree that made that perfect break was gone after ample spring rains earlier in the year. Identifying the small changes that make an area that never produced before become a new favorite you may have to yourself is key.

When fishing is great in area evaluate the surroundings and what may have changed. From year to year one major component we have plenty of is sand. Variations in water level can move a whole sand bar and reveal a dense gravel bar that's been hiding underneath. An area that was a long shallow stretch can create a new bar that drops off into a hole that swift currents cut in the spring and so on. Remember that for every hole you may lose, two more have probably developed.

Another component that gets over looked by many walleye newcomers is brush. When starting to pursue walleyes anywhere the biggest thing to remember is that it doesn't matter what creates a break or an eddy as long as it's there. From new trees that have fallen to ones that have simply been moved they all create places where fish can hold and ambush prey. A great number of walleyes can be caught simply dabbling a jig around any brush that offers some depth within it. One of the best set-ups for this is when a trees roots are facing upstream and the branches are either facing straight or nearly straight down river. If you have at least a few feet of depth, ease your boat into the roots from above and just bounce a jig on the downstream side. You may be surprised by how many and often the size of walleyes you can catch without making a cast.

Some may say that they've caught walleyes in plenty of areas that didn't offer a break or eddy, well, it's there. Even if it isn't easily visible from the surface every fish species including walleyes utilize what are called slip currents. Every time water flows over or around anything these are created. That sand bar that seems flat near the bank becomes a dune tattered desert as the current picks up toward the middle. Slip currents offer the fish a place to rest as the water passes overhead sweeping their food to them instead of having to pursue it. Learning the subtle changes that can make fish pile into one area and ignore the next will always put the odds in your favor.

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