Trolling The Basics

Trolling for walleye can seem like a major problem or the simplest thing in the world, depending on how you approach it. There are a few basic things that I do each and every time I go out. First off I am assuming you are properly equipped, that could be another topic.
  1. Find them. Us your sonar to locate what looks to you to be a school of walleye, so you need to be intimate with your equipment and know what a walleye looks like on your sonar. Looking for boat packs will sometimes work but you are then depending on someone else’s skill and judgment.
  2. Set up on them. Try and determine which way is best for you to troll. Generally this is with the waves or into them. Other times you may want to quarter the wave. You need to know your boat and how it handles in different wave conditions.
  3. Bait selection. What baits have been working best, which have you caught walleye with in the past, start with your “go to” baits and put out as many different baits as you have lines. Once you “hopefully” catch one or two make bait changes to the successful bait.
  4. Speed Control. Understand a little about walleye and how they react to temperature, weather and water conditions. The colder the water the more lethargic the walleye will be so the slower you need to troll. The same goes for muddy water conditions. Warmer waters mean more active fish so your speed may need to be increased. General rule start around 2mph and adjust.
  5. Return to hot spot. Once we catch a walleye we will go for about 5 minutes, if not having caught another we make a circle, figure eight or do a 180-degree turn and go over the same spot again. Walleye are schooling fish and generally where there is one there will be others.
  6. Don’t waste your time. After some period of time if you have not caught any walleye or are into all “trash” fish go back to 1 and start over.