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Old 02-21-2012, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: walleye fly fishing.

Thanks for posting all of that Oaktree. There are are not a lot of people that fish Walleye with a fly rod. Most of what you see on the internet is not very helpful. I'm glad you started this thread, so we can put some useful information out there for our members and see if we can make it a more mainstream thing. Hopefully it will help you as well. There are a couple of other members that do fish for them, both Canadians, Dark Cahill and Didjeridoo. Hopefully we can get them to add their wisdom and experience to this thread as well.

As I had said before, this is not a real common fly fishing target. Before I really got good at it, I googled it and got a large pile of steaming..... wrongness. Things like "you can only get them shallow in the Spring, then you have to tie a bottom bouncer into your leader and troll for them." Bottom bouncers are large wire and lead things designed for regular 'hardware' guys. You are not fly fishing if you are trolling a leader with a 1 1/2 ounce bottom bouncer in it. I don't care if it's on a fly rod or not. Secondly, you can get them in shallow water from ice out to freeze up, and in fact in rivers, I have learned it's the bigger fish you get shallow. At least in rivers that's true. There is a different strategy somewhat for lakes. The idea that they go deep in Summer is a well established idea among Walleye anglers. However, here is a fine example of why that needs to be reconsidered, at the minimum. This is a Walleye I got in the very end of June a few years back. I got big fish like this all the way through July and would have kept getting them, but had another spot where I was fishing them and got just as big fish.
Click the image to open in full size.
Notice a couple of things here. First, the bank is steep all the way down the river and very brushy. Second, I'm not wearing waders. By the way, there was a wild rose bush there I pulled my fly out of a lot. This is why I started spey casting for them. The river does get pretty deep pretty fast, but you are not going to be doing any 80' casts from a spot like this without getting well into the water, which by the way might get you an extra 12 or 15 feet here. I've decided that after catching a lot of big Walleye like this all through Summer, none of which were ever more than 12 feet deep or so, big Walleyes in the river like the shallow water. I think it's because the current is less closer to shore and big fish like to fight the current less.

Not all shallow water is created equal. There are certain features that will attract bigger fish. These places will almost never have a smaller 'eater' fish, so if that's what you are after, you will need a different strategy. Man has been nice enough to create a few of those features for us. Bridges are a good example. They put a bunch of rock down to stop erosion which attracts food for Walleye. Older railroad bridges have a ton of snaggy metal on the bottom. This does provide more structure, but it is seriously snaggy. I have learned a few tricks to minimize fly loss here also. It attracts Crayfish, minnows, etc. They also provide shade. Big Walleye will go much shallower on a bright sunny day if they have shade.

Interestingly, small Walleye do not seem to like the same spots. I get maybe one or two small Walleye a year. I have a couple of ideas on why that is, but I'm kind of guessing. I think smaller Walleye like us, when young don't mind swimming against more current, and I think big fish run the little ones off. Walleye are willing to go cannibal. I've seen this 'run off the little guys' thing with other species.

Another good place to look for big Walleye is where another river comes in. Especially if it has rapids or falls where it meets. This is going to sound really wrong, but the big Walleye will hang right in the very fast water where it meets the bottom of the rapids or falls. There are spots in those that if it has been left alone, will have a big fish in it almost everytime. Notice tha fast water behind me in this photo. This Walleye is typical of what I get out of these kind of spots. This fish came from behind a big rock right at the bottom of very fast rapids.

Click the image to open in full size.
Spots like tis are good for a couple of fish then generally it's over. If you can get more than three you are having a banner day. Once you get the two or three fish up in the end of the fast water, it does pay to cast around the slack pools and the current seams. Most of the time it isn't Walleye you get, but Pike and Smallies, but they are fun to. In fact I have pulled some monster pike from those seams in spots like this. Occasionally you do however get a big Walleye out in the Pike/Smallie zone. I've even had days where I got more than one out there. Keep in mnd, These are not Spring or Spawning type things, but dead on Summer. Note the lack of warm clothing.

There's a lot more, but I'll save it for another post or three.
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