Deep Water Walleyes on Lake of the Woods
As summer progresses and August rolls around, big numbers of Lake of the Woods walleyes will end up calling the 34′ basin of Big Traverse Bay home. Anglers have a wonderful opportunity to target these fish as they are quite predictable and are around in big numbers.
Deep water harnesses. Drifting or trolling with crawler harnesses (spinners) is extremely effective. Because of the deeper water, some anglers will go to about a 3 oz bottom bouncer in an effort to keep that 45 degree angle which is desirable. Less weight can be used but more line out to get your offering to the bottom will be required. Basically, locate walleyes on your electronics and set up upwind of the school. If trolling, the ideal speed is about 1.25 mph, otherwise drift fast enough that your spinner is spinning.
Trolling crankbaits with Leadcore Line. If you haven’t used leadcore, it is basically fishing line with a thin layer of lead in the middle of it, which ultimately allows you to troll and achieve deeper depths. This is especially effective teamed up with a line counter reel and 7′ rod. Pulling your favorite crankbait about 1-2 feet off of the bottom will produce the walleyes and saugers living in this cooler water.
The basin is full of food. Roaming schools of baitfish, blood worms, tulibee, perch minnows, young of the year perch, larvae from hatches, etc are all very prevalent. Pulling a crankbait through these walleyes can be the ticket and normally is effective.
When choosing lures, assuming you are fishing with a partner and can use more than one line, experiment with lures. Start out using a Rapala Shad Rap and a Lindy Shadling. These cranks have different wobbles and walleyes can change their preference on any given day. Try a combination of colors. Lake of the Woods has stained water, thus gold, chrome, firetiger and UV colors are good choices to start.
Downriggers. Downriggers are a large ball of lead lowered on a strong wire with a clip that allows fishing line to be attached. This ultimately allows your line with lure attached to be dragged in deeper depths than a crankbait can achieve on it’s own. When a fish hits, the clip is set with variable tension and will release the line. This method of trolling crankbaits is very effective on Lake of the Woods and are used this time of year by many of our resort charter boats. If you like reeling in a lot of fish, this might be a nice option for you.
The dog days of summer are often a tough time of fishing on many lakes. The fish have a variety of young of the year baitfish and fry to eat. They often head for deeper waters which are more difficult to fish. They also may head to the weeds which are at full bloom and again, are difficult to fish. On LOW, the dog days are some of the best days to consistently catch walleyes. We don’t have the weeds, have a max depth in the Big Traverse basin of only about 34′ and there are so many fish, it takes a small percentage for react to a tempting crankbait to make the day very successful. This is also a time when big numbers of trophy walleyes are caught.
If you get the chance, get out on the big water and pluck some Lake of the Woods gold from the deeper waters. They are plentiful and taste better than ever!