When you’re chasing shallow water walleye, there’s a number of different ways to approach finding and catching fish. Leech Lake walleye guide Toby Kvalevog takes a three-pronged approach that scales down from fast and aggressive, all the way down to slow and methodical.
Here’s how he begins his search.
“Day in day out, when the fish are aggressive, it’s really hard to beat artificial lures. In this case, I’m talking about casting Jigging Raps. We like to use the #7 size and the color I have tied on today is rainbow trout. Fish it on 10lb braided line with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. Cast them out, jig aggressively, and those shallow water walleye will crack it! This is a great way to cover water and it’s a ton of fun.”
You’re in for a glorious day if you can consistently catch fish on a Jigging Rap. They cast a mile, sink like a bullet, and work quickly through the water column. Unfortunately, not every day will setup for Jigging Rap success. Here’s how Toby handles those days:
“Today we’ve been strapped with a cold front and pretty tough fishing conditions. Even though we’ve been able to catch a few fish on the Jigging Rap, what we’re finding is it’s still a good search tool for finding the walleyes.
“Once we’ve located them, we’ll slow things down a little bit by putting on a small 1/16oz jig rigged with a leech. Cast in those same locations and work the jig really slowly back to the boat. You could even let it settle into the sand and sit. Those fish will come over and investigate and maybe take a little bite.”
Folks are always curious about color. While it’s one of the least important factors in catching shallow water walleye, it can make a difference in certain conditions. Fellow guide Jason Freed shares his favorite color out on Leech Lake:
“I like orange and rusty colors because there’s a lot of crayfish in here. When the walleyes see these jigs dragging through the sand, which is what a crayfish will do, they come by and pick it up. It’s never a hard bite. Give them a little bit of a rod tip, then set the hook!”
While a simple jig and leech is fairly subtle, sometimes you need to take it to the next level of finesse. Here’s Toby’s approach on the slowest of days:
“When things are really tough, we’ll take a good old bobber rig and pair it with the same orange jig we were using before. We like to use orange because of the crayfish. Just put a small leech on there. Toss the jig out and let that bobber sit, and the leech will slowly swim in front of their face, which is too much to resist. Before you know it, it’s bobber down!”
That’s a simple three-step process for catching shallow water walleye. Give it a try on your favorite walleye lake and you’re sure to have success this year!