The whole key to catching walleyes in open water is replication, and that’s what leadcore trolling does so well. It enables you to put the bait at the exact same depth it was last time you caught a fish.
We’ve been experimenting with a a wide variety of baits, but so far we’ve caught fish on the Rapala Scatter Rap Husky Jerk, a new bait with a smaller minnow profile, and Michael‘s caught a few fish with a small perch colored Shad Dancer. If the fish start to show a bait preference, we will move in that direction with our offerings. When you’re trolling, it’s interesting how selective at times the fish can be based on color, the size of bait, and vibration. That’s why so many different walleye trollers actually have so many different baits. It’s amazing – they have boxes and boxes.
The last two fish we caught came from about 170 feet back with leadcourse. Today, we’re using Sufix 832 12-pound test leadcore line. This line has color indicators every thirty feet, which equals about five or six feet in trolling depth per color. This means you can gauge things a couple of different ways. You can either use a line counter reel to approximate your depth, or you can use colors on the line if you don’t have a line counter.
The whole key with this open water trolling, as we were saying, is the replication of a couple of different things: the speed of the bait and it’s depth in the water column. These fish move up and down based on their activity level. Right now, we’re catching a lot of the fish with four colors out, and we’re running a Scatter Rap as well as a Shad Dancer. The fish we are catching are really tight to the bottom, but you might come out here on a different day and these fish might raise up off the bottom. We might need to position the baits 25 feet down or maybe as high as 15 feet down depending on where the fish are positioned.
It’s sort of fun and there’s a real art to being successful at a trolling. This is why so many of the tournament walleye fishermen are very, very good at this technique: it catches really big fish throughout a good portion of the year at different points in time. It is amazing how effective leadcore trolling can be especially when you have small baits and you fine-tune your depth and speed.