Summer walleye, this is the time for the most popular game fish in Canada. Tens of thousands of anglers consider this their favourite fish to catch for the sport and mostly for the fact that it is one of the greatest fish to eat.
This tip comes from an experience while fishing walleye in Northern Ontario, on Manitoulin Island, in went out early in the morning hoping to pick up a few walleye early.
I headed for a shoal that I fish frequently; it is about 20 to 25 feet of water, and drops off to about 70 feet deep. After about and hour or so, I had 2 small walleyes to show for my effort. Guessing that the cool front that moved through over night had affected the fish, I started to fish the drop off and along the length of the shoal, and still no fish. With the help of technology (fish finder, sonar) I found that there were groups of fish suspended at 20 to 25 feed in 75 feet of water. I finally surmised that the fish holding at this level would be very hard to get to, and when suspended like this they are usually not in a feeding mood.
The next problem was that to reach these fish with my jigs and no bottom structure to follow was near impossible, although down rigging or trolling would preset my bait at a better level, if they were not actively feeding it was again a tuff sell for these walleyes. What is needed in a situation like this is a slow presentation of the lure or live bait. What I needed was a bait delivery system that would consistently put me at the right depth and slow enough to keep the bait in the strike zone for a long time, so as to tease them into action. I also wanted to be able to make long casts to allow long drifts through these suspended walleye schools.
I decided to give a slip-bobber a try; it’s simple and deadly when used right. Most anglers don’t use this walleye technique enough it works. The slip bobber, slips up and down the line from your hook to a bobber stop you set for the desired depth. I needed to get the bait down 25 feet; with the slip bobber the stopper you use to set your depth is so small that it will pass through the rod guides and onto the reel without no problems at all. And if you find your depth is not quite right you simply move the stop up or down.
Now with the slip bobber controlling my depth accurately, I was able to drift my bait (live bait, jigs, and plastics work well) right through these schools of walleye at nose level, also able fish very slow giving these finicky walleyes lots of time to make up their minds about having a snack. It was a large school of walleyes and the result was a couple of hours of super walleye fishing.
If you think about it slip bobbers can be used with your favourite live bait for walleye fishing. Either a plain hook or jig tipped with a minnow, worm or leach can be fished in the same way for precise depth control. Plus slip bobbers are not restricted to walleye fishing. They are great for all sorts of fishing, when conditions call for depth control, long distance casting or a really slow presentation. I have used them for trout and salmon in rivers, and even on bass in small clear pools where a long cast and slow movement is needed. I have taken a lot of nice bass from under and alongside the numerous swimming rafts and docks around different lakes I have fished and used this method quite successfully. These tactics also work great around bridge pillars, piers and supports, and weed lines, and dams. By casting so easily and smoothly they are great for kids, they love to see the bobber twitch and disappear.
Once you start walleye fishing and any other species, you will likely find all sorts of situations where they will be the answer to speed and depth control. Pick up a couple and try these tips, you will not regret it. Just go fishing!