4 Tips for Hunting Walleye in the Dog Days of Summer
No angler should let the summer heat keep them off the water. In fact, even the dog days of summer can prove to be one of the most productive times for bringing in walleye. Limiting out on summer walleye, and landing lunkers, requires a little bit of preparation, a little bit of strategy, and a willingness to have a lot of fun on the water.
1. GO INTO DEEP WATER
During the day, summer walleye are going to be seeking shade. That can mean hitting weed beds and structures that provide cover. However, weeds and other structures have a reputation for attracting smaller walleye looking to forage for smaller prey. For the lunkers, consider trolling over a waterway’s basins for suspended walleye hunting in the depths. They may be deep, but they’re still hungry.
2. GO FISHING AT NIGHT
A great way to limit out on walleye and avoid the summer sun—wait for the sun to go down to fish. At night those monster walleye cruising the deeper waterways for prey often rise and move to the structures and weed beds to gorge while it’s cooler. That can provide anglers willing to put in some night work an amazing opportunity to hunt big walleye, often in considerable numbers.
3. GO WITH LIVE BAIT
Walleye are an aggressive hunting species. If you’re not having luck with sinking crankbaits, jigs, or spinnerbaits, switch to live baits. It can be as basic a setup as a few split-shots and a simple spinner rig in front of a nightcrawler. The average walleye’s diet consists mostly of other fish, so the proper presentation of minnow can definitely trigger a lot of strikes. Many walleye anglers also swear by the power of the leech. Experimenting on your home water to find out what works is part of the fun of fishing.
4. OUTFIT YOURSELF WITH PERFORMANCE GEAR
Spending a day under the sun in a boat, often without shade to retreat to, can be brutal in the wrong apparel. Gear up with long sleeve performance fishing shirts and performance fishing pants. Professional-grade fishing gear should be fabricated from high-performance polyester, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying. It should also be lightweight and breathable to keep you cool while protecting you from the sun. Look for performance fishing shirts and pants that offer UPF 50+ protection from the sun. Also, don’t forget to accessorize for the occasion. At the very least, you want to bring along a fishing hat; a high-quality baseball cap will provide some shade from the glare. Add a pair of polarized sunglasses to your kit as well. Polarized shades block more UV rays than traditional sunglasses and provide superior in-water vision. Both can make a big difference on the water.
Photo by Joel Dueck.