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Spinner Rigging for Walleye
With summer just around the corner and the water temperatures heating up, walleyes are gradually moving into summer patterns, which can mean that finding walleye on a new lake or even an old favorite can be frustrating, even if you know a few hot-spots.
Begin your day on the water by actively searching for fish. A key way to do this is to use the classic tried and true spinner rig, or as it is commonly referred to, the worm harness.
It is important for anglers to remember that boat control is fairly critical when fishing spinner rigs. You must always keep the rig near the bottom, regardless of your speed. This is done through various weighting schemes depending on bottom content and composition. Rules of thumb for weighting options:
Fishing over muddy bottoms- try using a three way swivel. Attach a bell sinker to one swivel in various weight ranges until you find the right one, and attach the spinner rig to the last swivel
Fishing around weedlines and sparse weed growth-my personal option would be to use a bass bullet sinker ahead of a swivel and then attached to the spinner rig itself.
Fishing around rocks-I don't think that anyone would argue that the lindy rig walking sinker or bottom bouncers excel in this situation.
Speed being the key factor in this presentation, is determined of course by fish behavior and prevailing weather conditions. Almost all reservoirs are subject to wind and the most common form of speed control when fishing with spinner rigs is called control drifting. You motor past and around a key spot and let the wind push you and your spinner rigs over the area .
If fish are more active than you anticipated, then increase the size of the blades on the spinner rigs or troll a little bit faster, bearing in mind that if you troll faster, then the weight you are using must increase to keep the spinner rig near the bottom. An easy way for an angler to tell is by just dropping the rod tip back. You should feel a thump, indicating the weight has hit the bottom. If it doesn't, increase the weight or let out a little more line.
There are many different styles of spinner rigs out on the market. Single blades, double and triple blade variations, single hooks and multiple hooks. Only experimentation is going to tell you which the fish prefer. Same way for color, although I have found that chartreuse, green, and orange are usually top producers.
Spinner rigs work throughout a wide variety of reservoir types. It is up to the angler to focus on key structural elements common to his/her reservoir type and use the spinner rig accordingly.
Common baits used when spinner rigging are nightcrawlers, minnows and leeches. When using crawlers, an angler should use the multiple hook spinner rig system. Minnows and leeches usually demand the single hook variations.
Until next time
Daniel C. Nielsen
Reprinted with permission