Here’s some excellent tips from Minnesota fishing guide Brad Hawthorne on spinner rigging walleyes during a bug hatch:
“There are two or three things I look for in identifying fish as “spinner fish”. First, we’re looking at the type of structure you’re on right. The spot we’re on right now has zero structure, it’s just a flat. We are literally right before a bug hatch and there’s a ton of larva down there squirming around on the bottom and the fish are just picking them up.
“These walleyes are keying in on this bug hatch, and they’re going to remain here for weeks. They’re spread out because they’re not targeting a ball of minnows – they’re spread out all throughout this large area where bugs are emerging, and they’re eating good in the neighborhood.
“You’d think because there’s a bug hatch happening that we’d be using buggy colors, and that is the case most of the time. But mixed in with the bugs are a ton of shiner minnows eating the same thing as the walleyes. You don’t always need to use pinks, purples, and greens during a bug hatch. We tried those colors and we caught fish on them, but as we refined the blade color throughout the day, we found that a rainbow or a silver color worked a lot better.
“There are many different blade styles available for spinner rigging walleyes from Colorados, Indianas and hatchet blades to some of the polycarbonate options like the Butterfly Blade and the Wingnut Blade. We’re using the Wingnut Blade right now which is new to the market and has a kicking, searching action. It has outproduced everything else today, but tomorrow the best bite could be with one of the other blade configurations. That’s why it’s important to always have a ton of spinner blades with you, and you should being able to change them out to experiment on the go.”
Don’t be afraid of these summertime bug hatches. Often times, they will actually congregate fish in very specific areas, allowing you to target large numbers of walleye with razor sharp precision.