Basic Presentations for Weed Walleye

By Lance Valentine

BasicsAs spring turns to summer everything in nature starts to turn to green. Our lawns need constant attention, the trees are coming into full bloom and weeds are starting to grow in our favorite walleye waters. Walleye are now fully recovered from spawning and have one thing on their mind – FOOD! And nothing says “food” to a walleye better than green weed growth.

Good walleye anglers know that green weeds, especially cabbage and coontail, produce great walleye fishing all season long, but are full of bait and walleye in the late spring and early summer. The old wife’s tales of walleye not liking the sun, having to live in deep water and liking only hard bottom have all been proven wrong and smart anglers look for weeds. Walleye in the weeds can be a challenge, but here are some basic presentations that will help you catch more weed walleye this season.

BasicsCasting or trolling crankbaits around weeds, especially before they reach the surface is one of the most fun ways to catch walleye. Shallow weed walleye hit hard, fight hard and are usually aggressive making them great targets for crankbaits. Focus on stick baits and shallow diving shad style baits for fishing over the tops of shallow weeds and deeper diving shad style baits for fishing the deep edges. Move quickly with a trolling motor and cast to weed beds, stopping when you catch a fish to work the area more thoroughly.

Jigs also excel for fishing in the weeds. A casting style jig with the line tie on the nose is a proven walleye catcher. Add a paddle tail plastic and work the jig/plastic combo just like a crankbait, with the extra advantage of being able to let it “flutter” down in to pockets or holes in the weeds. Lighter weight weedless jigs work great with live bait (my favorite is a leech!) and can be work on the bottom through sparser weed beds, into holes and pockets, or fished parallel to the deep weed edge.

BasicsNothing beats a slip bobber/leech presentation for precise location and getting neutral or negative weed walleye to bite. Send the rig into holes or pockets in the weeds and let the leech do its magic “leech dance” to provoke inactive walleye to bite. Moving slowly with a trolling motor and dropping the bobber/leech into small pockets can produce some giant walleye from shallow weed beds all season long.

An untraditional presentation that all weed walleye anglers need in their tackle box is a safety pin spinner, or “spinnerbait”, most often thought of as a bass lure. Spinnerbaits are weedless, create flash and vibration, imitate baitfish and are great walleye catchers! Lots of bass anglers catch big walleye in the weeds every year on spinnerbaits “on accident”…well it’s not an accident and smart walleye anglers know that spinnerbaits are a great option for fishing in the weeds.

Fishing for walleye in the weeds can be frustrating, but the presentations above have proved over the years to be consistent walleye producers. It seems like you are always taking either a weed or a walleye off your hook after every cast. Anglers who can stay patient and not get frustrated are usually rewarded with amazing catches of aggressive walleye from the weeds!

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