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Night Hawk Stories... Entry 14

Tips for Summertime Walleye Fishing

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Keith Kavajecz of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, a pro walleye fisherman, specializes in tournament fishing and walleye-fishing promotions. Kavajecz, who has fished in walleye tournaments since 1986, won the 1994 and 1998 North American Walleye Anglers Angler-of-the-Year award. He and his son, Tommy, won the 1998 North American Walleye Anglers Team of the Year. Kavajecz and his business partner, Gary Parsons, won the Masters Walleye Circuit Team of the Year and World Championship in 1988. Keith and Gary co-host "Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World," which airs on TNN.

QUESTION: Can you give us some tips for catching walleye in the summer?
TIP 1: You catch walleye up shallow in the summer. In May, June and even into July, fish often will stay up shallow because where they'll find numbers of minnow hatches. Whenever those minnows hatch, obviously the walleye will stay shallow. The nice thing about shallow walleye is that they're very aggressive. Many times I'll cover a lot of water and make long casts until I get a bite or a fish on my line. Then I'll slow down and concentrate on the area because walleye travel in schools. When I try to fish aggressively, I'll put a plastic lure such as the Berkley Power Jig Worm, Power Minnow or Power Leech on my jig. I like those three lures because of their durability. Too, you can cast those lures a long way. If you get a bite and miss it, you simply can drop back the plastic. A plastic lure typically will remain on the hook, which allows you a second chance for catching those fish.

click to enlargeTIP 2: You also can find summertime walleye in the weeds. Many walleye anglers overlook weeds because of how difficult fishing the weeds is. But I like to get right in the weeds using my trolling motor. I wear polarized sunglasses and look down into the weeds for areas to fish. Again, because of their aggressiveness, these fish will come out and chase after things. You don't have to get your lure right in front of a walleye's nose. I look for small pockets, troughs or edges of weeds where I can make small casts and work a jig three or four times to try to get them to come out of the weeds and bite my bait. If I use live bait, I like to fish with leeches because they have enough durability to keep pulling through the weeds. Again, you also can use plastics.

TIP 3: The key to successfully fishing plastics for walleyes involves picking very limber plastics. For this reason, I like the Berkley Power Bait series. Pure Fishing's Berkley even has a subsection of Power Baits designed specifically for walleye. The big difference isn't the scent of the lures but rather the action of the baits. The Power Baits designed for walleye are very limber and have good flipping actions that makes the lures look like real crawlers or minnows. But once more, you get the durability of plastics when you fish these baits. Then you don't have to rebait all the time.

TIP 4: A lot of people ask what kind of bait or what color lures you need to use to fish for walleye. Water clarity determines the color lures I use, whether I fish a jig, a crankbait or even a spinnerbait. If the area where you're fishing has very clear water, you'll want to pick a Tennessee shad, black and silver, or gold and black color -- something that resembles a natural baitfish or natural forage coming through the water. If you're fishing in dingy conditions, like stained water or maybe water that's been stirred-up by mud, go to much brighter colors like chartreuse, orange or the Fire Tiger type lures. In dingy water, although walleye can ear a bait, they must see the bait to see it. The bright colors show through quite much better.

click to enlargeTIP 5: When you fish clear water for walleye, use either very thin line or Berkley's Vanish line. Often when I fish gin-clear water, I'll go down to 4-pound test line. For the other choice, instead of going so light that you may lose a really big fish on it, you can use Vanish. Even though it's a thicker line, you can go up to 6- or 8-pound test. Because of the invisibility factor, this line really disappears into the water and allows you to move up to those higher test pounds without the fish seeing it. You must be real conscious in clear water of the color of the lures you pick and also the invisibility of your line. You should use either fluorocarbon or a very light pound test line.

Tomorrow: More Tips for Catching Summertime Walleye


Entry 11-Fishing Rivers for Summertime Walleye
Entry 12-Fishing Lakes for Summertime Walleye
Entry 13-Fishing Reservoirs for Summertime Walleye
Entry 14-Tips for Summertime Walleye Fishing
Entry 15-More Tips for Catching Summertime Walleye

Night Hawk Stories