Scorching daytime temperatures and a mile high sun doesn’t exactly sound like ideal conditions for catching numbers of big walleyes but it can be done, especially if you know where to look. To be successful anglers will have to give up on what had been productive just a few short weeks ago and get with a program more in tune with a walleye’s present needs.
When the hot summer sun starts bearing down water temps can push into the lukewarm range and early season patterns can quickly dry up. When it happens many anglers make the mistake of believing that the walleyes are simply not feeding, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, walleyes will feed even more heavily at this time of the year and it’s when they make their biggest growth gains.
One of the reasons anglers can find the going during the summer months a little tough is because make they haven’t made the necessary adjustments required to stay with a fish that’s on the move. Walleyes make a living by taking advantage of their opportunities, and in many cases those opportunities are no where near where they where at the beginning of the season.
As spring slides into summer there is a shallow to deep migration that occurs on most bodies of water. The migration doesn’t happen overnight, and not all of the walleyes in a system make the move to deep structure. Instead, the process more likely begins with a few scattered groups of fish showing up on deeper haunts like sunken humps, underwater points, and even flats, followed by a slow and steady migration that eventually results in fishable numbers of walleyes. As more and more walleyes make the deeper move, concentrations of fish begin to build up creating a terrific opportunity for anglers in the know.
Knowing it can happen is the easy part, while capitalizing on it takes a little more effort. To get the most out of a good summer pattern you have to be prepared to give up on what you think you know, and let the fish do the talking.
One of the most appealing aspects of locating walleyes holding on deep structure is the fact that they show up readily on good electronics. High quality electronics like the Raymarine C Series that can incorporate high defnintion fish finding capabilites with G.P.S. can make the job of finding deep summer fish a whole lot easier. Besides the ability to mark fish holding tight to the bottom, or bust out schools of bait and show individual fish, the C-Series can also combine Global Positioning with incredibly accurate mapping, like Navionics Gold charts. When you do make a move off shore it’s easy to become confused as to your exact location, especially on big water, and the ability to display an accurate map along with your present condition can be invaluable. The result is more time spent fishing and less time wasted looking for a particular spot.
The key to whole fish finding process is keeping your lines in the boat, and relying totally on your electronics to divulge the whereabouts of deep running walleyes. It takes a little self control, but you can save a ton of valuable time if you do the investigative work up front. The fact is you’ll never ever catch them where they’re not, and if you’re not marking; you’re not on ‘em..
Good summer presentations involve an element of speed, like trolling crankbaits or spinners. With an increase in water temperature a walleye’s metabolism increases accordingly. A quicker moving bait appeals to that bump in metabolism and will often get snapped up while a slower offering gets completely ignored.
A top pick for working unfamiliar waters would have to be a spinner and live bait combination behind a heavy bottom bouncer. Bottom bouncers run relatively snag free which can be a big plus when working an uneven bottom with plenty of potential hang-ups. They also allow you to keep your bait running close to the bottom without actually dragging it, and helps to keep your offering at ‘eye level.
There are exceptions to the deep summer patterns, and includes dark or stained bodies of water where visibility is extremely limited. There may still be a shallow to deep migration but it may occur on a much smaller scale. The thing is the fish are still there, and some of them can still be caught, and it might as well be by you.