Walleye Fishing With Shad Raps

The very first walleye fishing technique I was exposed to was trolling Shad Raps. I don’t recall the exact conditions, but I do know that it was September in Northern Minnesota, it was evening and we were fishing on a break where the water went from about 6 feet to 12 feet in a hurry. The guy that took me out just tied the lure straight on to the line, chucked it back about 50 yards and just started trolling along the break. We caught some pigs. So, naturally, I have always had an affinity for fishing with crankbaits. In fact, I am often too dependent upon this lure and fish it despite the fact that conditions and results are telling me that doing so is hopeless. So use with discretion.

Let’s step back a bit and review a couple of things that I think are important to know:

1. Walleye have very light sensitive eyes….and avoid direct sunlight. You sometimes hear the term “walleye chop”. Fishermen often consider windy days an advantage because the wind produces a chop on the water that cuts down on the amount of sunlight, increasing the chances that walleyes will become active in shallower areas. For this same reason, evening fishing is an absolute prime time to catch walleyes in shallow areas. In low-light conditions walleyes can use their eyesight advantage to catch prey.

2. There are almost always walleyes in shallow areas. On the same lake that you find fishermen catching walleyes deep, you may also find fishermen catching walleyes shallow. Never neglect to look for walleyes in prime shallow areas. This should generally be an area with weed cover that holds baitfish.

3. Walleyes relate to some kind of structure. This is one of the basic tenets of pretty much any kind of fishing. Structure holds baitfish and therefore it holds the larger game fish. Structure means humps, points, weed beds, and even large flats.

During the evening, walleyes often naturally move from deeper water to shallow water to take advantage of their excellent eyesight and prowl for prey. Likely fishing spots include mid-lake flats or other areas that transition from deep to shallow. The tops of these types of structure can be great at night or during windy, overcast days.


Weed Bed Walleye Fishing Secrets

Professional walleye anglers know that the weeds and weed beds are a favorite hiding spot for these fish, and working the entire weed bed will increase both the number and size of Walleye that you can catch.

The Walleye head to the weeds for a number of reasons, and in all seasons. The bait fish dart through the weeds to avoid predators, the weeds block out the sun, and they keep the water cooler.

All of these are reasons that the fish prefer weed beds.

To work the entire bed, start at the outer edges of the weed bed, and look for areas where the bottom drops off or flattens out.

Start with a jig and live minnow or a Fuzz-E-Grub or similar plastic bait. Jig along the outer edges of the weed bed, trolling slowly.

After a short time pick up speed to generate some action. Next, go back and forth from the outer edge to the interior of the weed bed.

This will allow you to evaluate the difference in depth and weed height between the outer edge and the interior of the bed, and help locate any Walleye that is hanging out in between the two.

Where the weeds are thin enough you should be able to troll right through them, but if they are very thick one technique may be to cast a jig and quickly reel it back in to see if you get any strikes.

This can also help you locate the Walleye, and determine where to fish for best results.

In deeper waters, swimming jigs, which will travel well through weed beds can be used to attract the fish.

Another method that can work well when you are crossing back and forth between the deep and shallow areas of the weed beds is a crawler harness with a crawler or fat leech on it.

Even though the traditional Walleye wisdom says to fish the edges of the weed beds during the day and the middle once the sun goes down, many anglers understand that Walleye are unpredictable.

This means that the fish can be found around the edges at night, in the center of the weed bed during the day, or any spot in the weed bed at any time.

Working the entire weed bed will ensure that you have not missed a trophy Walleye or a school of fish simply because you did not think the fish would be there.

Most professional anglers are pros because they are willing to try new things and go against the traditional advice.

In fact, go ahead and try some unusual baits or techniques, even if the “experts” say it is not the way to go.

The time-tested walleye fishing secrets of going back and forth, while varying your speeds, baits, and presentations, will help you catapult your walleye fishing.

Ice Fishing For Walleye

Whenever fishing through the ice is done, whether it is for Walleye or any other catch, certain safety precautions should be taken. Ice can be tricky, and may be five inches or more thick in one spot and be only half an inch thick just feet away, so it is important to be observant at all times while fishing for walleye in the winter. The DNR guidelines suggest only ice fishing if the ice is at least four to five inches thick if you are walking out to fish for Walleye. The thickness of the ice needed for safe Walleye fishing at this time of the year increases if you are going to be driving an off road vehicle or automobile onto the ice, because of the much heavier weight load of the vehicle.

Any Walleye trip in the cold months should include life vests or survival suits, that way if you fall in you will stay warm and float until help arrives or you can get out of the water. The only exception to this safety guideline is if you are driving or riding in a closed vehicle on the ice. The reason for this is that a life jacket or survival vest may make exiting the vehicle in an emergency harder, preventing escape.

A big safety tip for Walleye fishing on the ice is to avoid fishing and going onto the ice when visibility is poor. If it is snowing or dark, avoid the ice and Walleye fishing until visibility clears up, otherwise you may end up in the water. With the proper equipment and safety precautions, fishing for Walleye at this time of year can be both fun and rewarding. Always be extra cautious at the start and end of the season, because the warmer weather may cause thin or melting ice. Stay safe out there.