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How to catch walleye in deeper water?

Discussion in 'Walleye & Saugeye Discussions' started by Reel Lady, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. Reel Lady

    Reel Lady Dreams DO come true!

    Ok.. here is my question. (I'm a newbie in the Walleye department :eek: )
    If I know that Walleye can be found in, lets just say, 40 feet of water, How would we go about fishing for them if we dont have the whole downrigger/dipsy/planer boards set up?
  2. Hook N Book

    Hook N Book The Original Hot Rod Staff Member

    You trolling or drifting...???

    FYI: Planer boards serve two purposes:
    They get the baits away from the boat and allows you to run more lines in your spread. It's said walleye will move to the sides away from the boat when trolling. I haven't been able to comfirm or deny this but I have caught fish directly behind the boat with short and long leads. Generally, more fish come from one of the outside lines. So I would recommend investing in at least one set of offshore boards. This will allow you to run at least 4 lines. You can also use a deep diving crank with an inline snap weight. You will be able to get the bait down to the 35-40 ft. range if you're marking fish at that depth. Allow about 1 oz. of weight per 10 ft. of desired depth.

    Asumming there's a good enough breeze for a good drift this method can be deadly for walleye. :D If it's to much of a breeze a good drift sock is in order. Use bottom bouncers with a worm harness or a floating jig head with a minnow. Use a 36" lead with the floating jig head. Gulp is a good artificial to use if you do not like live bait and it's certainly more durable and less prone to the rough fish constantly pulling it off.

    If those methods don't yield any results I'll go to my backup plan and pull out the C4 :D

  3. Reel Lady

    Reel Lady Dreams DO come true!

    Well now that would depend....because we have done neither when it comes to walleye fishing. We have drift fished for smallmouth, but not walleyes.
    In order to troll... do we need the whole trolling set up?(dipsey divers, planer boards, down riggers, etc.) or can we acheive the same depth somehow without all of that?
  4. ShakeDown

    ShakeDown OGF Staff Staff Member Admin

    Dipseys and jets should do the trick, and that's what most use. They run between $8-10 each (check out can't touch his jet prices), and all you need is heavier trolling gear and rod holders to use them. Line counter reels help tremendously.

    I'm a rather newbie Erie eye troller, and went through what you're going through a few years ago. Had a few heavy hitters show me the ropes (Lundy/Lewis/Shortdrift), and it's hard to beat jets or dispeys for getting your baits down deep without spending a fortune or heavily modifying anything. I took what I learned from those guys last year and nailed a 9+lb eye trolling in my fish-n-ski. A few hillbilly mods and 2 driftsocks later, and I can troll that sucker like a champ ;)
  5. Hook N Book

    Hook N Book The Original Hot Rod Staff Member

    You really don't need those types of methods if you're not fishing deep water. I went back and revised my original post...those two methods IMO are only good to the depth you had indicated. If you're fishing deeper water say over the 40 ft. depth then you'd may want to consider downrigging. The dipsey's and jets will only dive to 50 ft. depending on several factors. Some riggers will have 200+ ft. of braided cable. You can fish at the 100-125 ft depth with ease. You didn't mention what bodies of water you're fishing. Those two methods above are good for inland as well as deeper water like Erie. But if you're fishing Erie in the central or eastern basin for walleye you'll want to be able to fish deeper on occasion. You can also stack your lines on a downrigger (Run more than one line.)
    BTW: If you invest in the in-line boards ($21-$23 each) you will want a couple of 30 jets ($7-$8 each) too. I'm partial to green or purple. ;)
  6. Stop in at the Rodmakers Shop and get a copy of Precision Trolling. Speak to Ray, Frank or Rich and tell them you would like to get some equipment for trolling with inline weights. The inline weight method is by far the easiest way to start and will work using your standard equipment. I used inlines through the 80's and 90's in the Western Basin. Boards, Jets and Dipsy will require rods of greater strength and longer length.
    As an alternate consideration, you could also invite a veteran troller out for a day on your boat and ask if he/she could bring an assortment of various gear to demonstrate how to use it. Better yet, see if someone would have you join them for an afternoon on their boat. Offer to bring the beer and super sandwiches. :D
    Having someone show you the basic's and then applying what you learn to the PC book will shorten your learning curve. I have a downrigger but have not had a need for it since learning to use the Dipsy, Boards and Jet Diver.
    Vertical jigging with Hopkins spoons works at times also. WalleyeGuy and I have great success drifting with weight forward and inline spinners when there is a good drift wind. You can subsitute pork grubs soaked in walleye attractant in place of worms when the white perch and sheepshead are numerous.
    Good luck.
  7. Reel Lady

    Reel Lady Dreams DO come true!

    Shortdrift! :D You're still here :) So... would this be an invitation???? :eek: I'd be your best student :eek:
  8. ShakeDown

    ShakeDown OGF Staff Staff Member Admin

    Snap weights...never used em, always wanted to try. I do alot of bouncing and 3 way rigs inland, I assume it's more like an "inline" 3-way rig? Is it a planer board style clip that holds them on, and what type of line is it best for?
  9. Lewis


    Yep...planer board style clip.
    Mono will work,but braided is better.
    Dont forget the Leadcore setup.
    Its a dynamite controlled depth fishing tool without all the bells and whistles.
  10. Lundy

    Lundy Staff Member

    All you are trying to do is get your bait or lure to the fish. There are a bunch of different methods to achieve this, some are simple and very inexpensive, other much more elaborate and costly.

    If you are drifting for walleye or saugeye it's really easy to present your lure at any depth that you want. Just increase weight size to match your drift speed. This can be worm harnesses and bottom bouncers, in-line weights, snap weights, larger weight forwards lures like Erie Dearies. This is my preferred method for fishing for walleye and saugeye.

    If there is no wind or the fish are scattered and you need to cover water there is no doubt that trolling is extremely productive. There are a multitude of techniques and tactics for trolling, little boards, big boards, jets, dipseys, in-line weights, snap weights, leadcore, downriggers, braided lines, spoons, crankbaits, etc, etc All of these are still just methods to get the lure down to the fish and with boards also away from the boat. One quick comment on downriggers. They are not a necessity on Erie and in fact are normally less productive than the other methods. I have done very well with them on Erie but it is the very rare circumstance that I need them for Erie.

    I assume your interest in trolling is directed at Erie and it's walleye. The walleye in Erie suspend much of the time especially when actively feeding. That is not the case for inland lake walleye that are much more bottom oriented and certainly not for saugeye that very rarely suspend. Your trolling tactics will need to be somewhat different based upon walleye, Erie, inland and saugeye.

    Learn the basics on Erie where it is easy and adjust from there.

    Ron is very correct, keep it simple at first and if you can hook up for a fishing trip with someone who trolls it will shorten your learning curve substantially.

    Just remember is name is Shortdrift, not Shorttroll :D
  11. Reelady,

    As others have suggested, I'd recommend two things-
    1) A trip with an experiencerd troller. This will cut down the learning curve tremendously.
    2) Buy the Precision Trolling 7th and Big Water Editions.

    My schedule is freed up quite a bit tourney-wise for awhile. If you are interested in fishing Erie, we might be able to arrange a trip for you and your husband either later this month or early July, if you're interested. I could show you guys a few methods (dipseys, jets, snapweights, and even leadcore) and you could decide if you want to try them in the future. I have to warn you...once you learn the basics of troling for 'eyes you will be hooked!

  12. I like back-trollin! Inland lakes are small enough to do so but first it helps to match the water to location and time of year. I find that deep fish are less active and like the smaller bait. Sent is everything! In clear water at 15-20ft with just a bow light they will find it! ;) :B
  13. Two words, vertical jigging. Just like ice fishing on open water. Very doable with a bow mount. With a good flasher like a Vexilar FL-8, you can see the bait and fish at the same time in real time. Lightyears more 'hang time' too. Topo spoons, jigging minnows like a Nils-Master or jigging Raps, or jig and grub/bait, all work. A whole lot less trouble than the Dipsey, jet, board, in-line snaps, down riggers, lead core, wire, dive curve tables, and on and on and on.
  14. I could see this being a good approach for when you find the fish stacked or concentrated on a particular structure. However, if the fish are suspended or even bottom oriented but spread out a bit it seems that you would spend a lot more time between bites. But then again I am not very experienced with the trolling and have always done plenty of vertical fishing myself over the years.:rolleyes:
  15. Brian,

    You basically nailed why deep, suspended fish are usually targeted by trolling tactics. It's the most "efficient" method. You can catch deep Erie walleye (or any other lake) by just about any method known to man. You present your baits to many more fish by trolling.

    I guess Reelady and her husband don't want to take me up on my offer?

  16. Very interesting (and timely) thread... I too have been interested in trolling techniques not just for walleye but for other species too (stripers, musky & pike). Earlier this year I bought a set of planer boards, but found them unusable for my larger musky baits. The bait just pulled the board back like I had a walleye on... Also, at that time I was just using my musky rigs for trolling (7-8' rods with 65-80# Power Pro). This weekend, I decided to take the next step and got a couple of Diawa line counter combos from Dicks when I was up in Erie (PA). Unfortunately, I didn't pay close attention and got 27's instead of 47's on 8'6" planer board rods. I spooled these reels up with 50# power pro (12# mono diameter). I also picked up some deeper crankbaits (deep down husky jerks and deep diving tail dancers) since I noticed the fish holding deeper (20+) on my local lake. Upon going out Sunday with my new trolling gear in hand, I see that since last week a thermocline has set up at 20' and now all the fish I mark were holding at around 10-15. :rolleyes: So there I was with no crankbaits small enough that could target that depth. The original floating rapala and Husky Jerks will run about 4-6ft if I'm guessing right and the new ones I got were running alot deeper than the fish. Soooooooo, I now order some dipseys, regular tail dancers and finally the precision trolling book (7th) from Cabelas. Unfortunately, now I'm not sure if the planer board rods I have will be stiff enough to run the dipseys. Will the planer board rods I now have work for dipseys or will I have to come up with a stratagy for sneaking a pair of 47' on dispey rods past "the boss"? Thinking that I'm going at this backwards and costing myself more money than it should, but I'm already in neck deep so it's too late to turn back now. As it stands now the deepest lake I fish is Kinzua (100-120ft max depth so far), so I see no reason for me to invest in downriggers for the one or two trips I make there a year. Is there anything else I'm missing that I should consider prior to getting my hands on the book and giving it a good looking through?

  17. If I were you I would try a set of snap weights. I have been tinkering a bit with weights but I have not invested in the snap weights and clips yet. I am thinking I may end up doing so. From what I understand you should be able to take those Rapalas that are running at 4-6' down and drop them to where you want them. As far as how much weight I have no idea as that is the point that I am in the learning process myself.:rolleyes:

    At least this method would eliminate needing to buy another rod/reel setup. It may even save you from having to sleep in the doghouse for a while.:p
  18. Blance,

    A couple of ideas:
    1) I (and most trollers) prefer the Diawa 27s size to the 47's unless I'm spooling more than 5 colors of lead core (takes the bigger spool of the 47 to accomodate up to 10 colors). They are plenty big enough for dipseys/braided line or mono. I only put 450' of line on each reel. Make sure you put on enough mono backer so that the braid fills the spool.
    2) The rods you got will likely handle dipseys. What brand/model are they? I run 8' St Croix telescopic rods for both dipseys, jets, and in-line boards. They are a composite fiberglass/graphite. A good all purpose (or strictly dipsey) rod can be had for $30+/-. Okuma and Diawa both make ones I've used and like. Some guys are going to a little shorter rods (7' or 7'6") for dipseys and/or boards.
    3) If your cranks dive deeper than your target depth, shorten the leads. The Precision Trolling books will give you dive curves on all the popular lures.
    4) The Offshore boards should pull all but the deepest diving musky lures. Try lowering the rodtip a little to get the front of the board to "bite" into the water a bit more. They can be altered a bit (add ballast to the front of the board) to make the board ride more level. Church boards (orange-used to be called Mr. Walleye boards) have an adjustable ballast weight to accomodate harder pulling lures.
    5) Get the additional rods/reels. It's always better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission;-)

    Hope this helps-especially tip # 5! :D

  19. Additional note:

    If you are willing to take Tim's tip #5 advice then you can disregard anything I said.:D:D
  20. What advantage do dipseys give someone over snap weights other than running the lure out to left or right?

    When using the snap weights, how far back from the lure do you normally set them?