Walleye is by far the most popular freshwater sport fish in Ontario. Many anglers dedicate themselves exclusively to attracting Walleye, whom many consider to be the tastiest freshwater fish around. While they are generally easier to catch during the spring and fall, Walleye can still be had during hot, mid-summer days if you follow a few basic techniques.
The main problem with summertime fishing is that the food supplies for predator fish are extremely plentiful. They are also less aggressive feeders in the summer as opposed to the active spring period and the fall period where they are feeding more aggressively to prepare for winter. This means that you will have to use the best lures and techniques to lure a Walleye in the summertime. They are much pickier about what they choose to attack during this season.
Walleye have excellent vision in low light and stained water conditions and they generally prefer to feed at dawn, dusk and during particularly rough or stormy conditions. These periods have a stronger adverse effect on the prey which gives the Walleye a significant advantage. By planning your fishing excursions for these times you will greatly increase your success rate. There is even a term known as “Walleye Chop” which refers to particularly rough conditions when they are actively feeding.
Live bait is almost always the best option in the summertime. Given the abundance of food and minimal risk of running out of food, Walleye can be downright picky about what they will bite. You are definitely not going to get a lot of action on a bare hook or basic spinner. You are going to have to drop something fairly enticing in front of it to get a hit. For many fishermen, even the experienced ones, lure selection can often be quite daunting. Take a tour down your local fishing store and you will be presented with seemingly endless options. Many of these are supposed to appeal to the fish but all too often they appeal only to the fisherman. Since Walleye have extremely good vision, you will need to be a little more careful to select something that will work. Something like a Rapala Flat Rap in perch colouring will often do the trick. You will need to ensure that you have a mixture of baitfish looking lures and bright ridiculous looking lures. Fish on any particular day will usually show an extreme preference for one or the other.
Your actual fishing technique will have a lot more influence on your success than your lure selection though. Trolling with live minnows and almost any lure will often work but during hot summer days you will usually need to drag the lure or bait right past their nose. Your best bet will be to find some good structure where Walleye are likely to hide, waiting to ambush their prey. Slow cast and retrieve methods that drag your lure along a weed bed or outcropping will usually result in the best results.
By selecting the best time of day and optimum Walleye feeding conditions, along with proper lure selection and technique, you can be virtually assured of a successful fishing trip.