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"Would you release this walleye?"
by Captain Darrell Mittlesteadt

WalleyeJim didnít think he would either, but he did. We took this picture and put it back, put it back to grow from the 9 lb... that it weighed to who knows how large. We also released several more the same day that were between 5 lb... and 9 lb... ďJust a little bigger and on the wall it will goĒ, a statement we heard several times from Jim Peardon from Lake Tomahawk. On this particular day it didnít happen. We had what any walleye fisherman would say was ď a hell of a dayĒ and we did take several walleyes between 15 and 20 inches home for the table.

HOW?.... WHEN?.... WHERE?.... These questions will all be answered in the next few paragraphs. I will put you on these big fish, explain a couple of techniques and give you some hints on how to catch them.

HOW?....the most effective method to fish for the huge walleyes is to troll for them with lead core line (My favorite rig is a Lamiglas Back Bouncer Rod, Shimano Bantam 1500LC Line Counter reel and Cortland Lead Core line with Off Shore planner boards) and planner boards. Itís not the only method, but it is definitely the most effective. The next best way is to troll with snap weights and planner boards. Planner boards and lead core line give your baits more action from the surface. Snap weights do just the opposite, they reduce the action from the surface. Snap weights absorb a lot of the wave action, while lead core transmits it to the lure. Trolling over deep water is one of the most effective methods of producing big walleyes. Contrary to what most people believe, trolling has to be very exact if you are going to be effective. Where you make your trolling pass is only a small part of the total presentation. Things like water temperature, water depth, lure depth, lure color, lure size, lure action, speed of presentation, direction of presentation, wind, wind direction, and surrounding structure all plat an important role in how effective trolling will be for you. Water

Temperature...water temperature is one of the key factors involved in locating walleyes. It is what controls the depth that these fish are in, where most of the oxygen is and where the food is.

Water Depth...water depth, as in all walleye fishing is very important. When it comes to trolling for large fish, large basins with areas of uniform depths are vital. Most trolling for large walleyes will be in 20 to 40 feet of water. A somewhat consistent water depth will get you the best results.

Lure Depth....lure depths may have to be changed daily or several times during the day to adjust to the depth the fish are in and the depth of the water you are trolling. Your lure (my favorites are Storm Thundersticks and Luhr Jensenís Power Dive Minnows) must be kept in the strike zone at all time to be as effective as possible. To adjust your lure depth you have to do one or more of the following. Change your speed, the amount of backing, the amount of lead core or the amount of leader you have out.

Lure Color...lure colors are as important as anything else involved in trolling. Imitating forage colors is very hard. Color is affected by so many things such as water clarity, sunlight, amounts of light at different times of the day, chop on the water and many other things I probably havenít even thought of. Try several colors and patterns, stick with the one that works.

Lure Action... lure action, like color has to match the forage at the time. The most effective lure (again I prefer Storm Thundersticks and Luhr Jensenís Power Dive Minnow) will have the action it takes to trigger the strike. You must also remember that you can vary the action of any lure. Do what it takes to initiate a strike.

Speed Of Presentation...speed does a lot of different things to affect what happens when trolling. Most importantly speed changes the action and depth of your lures. The right speed, like everything else, can be different from day to day or from hour to hour.

Direction Of Presentation...direction, although not the most important ingredient to trolling, does play a part. Wind will play a big part in the direction you troll. Trolling with the wind is the easiest for boat control and it is without a doubt the most productive. When you are working with the wind, planner boards have movement, forward and back as they rise over a wave and then drop back. This movement makes your lure surge ahead, then drop back with each and every wave, changing the speed and action of your lure with each wave.

Wind... wind and the size of the waves go together. When it comes to trolling, any wind is better than no wind. When it comes to the question of lead core line or snap weights, which should you use when? Use lead core in waves up to two feet to get the most action from your lure. Use snap weights in waves over two feet to slow down the action of your lures.

Wind Direction...wind direction is helpful when it is blowing in the direction you want to troll. It is very difficult to troll along at a certain depth or along some deep structure with a cross wind. Planning and knowing whatís there is a must. Good trolling runs are usually available from all directions. Learn and take advantage of them.

Surrounding Structure...structure, a small mid bay hump or a steep drop off into the lake basin. Learn as much as you can about all structure and plan your trolling runs accordingly.

When... The premiere time to catch these trophy walleyes is in the late summer and fall, from the time the water temperature gets down to the mid 50 degrees until it freezes. The exact dates will vary from year to year, but it usually starts around the 20th of September and continues until the first part of December. It is possible during an extremely warm fall to extend this season until Christmas, but it is possible to be froze up by the last week in November.

Where... Little Bay De Noc in the south central part of Michiganís Upper Peninsula at Gladstone, Mi...... Little Bay De Noc is a bay on the northwest end of the Lake Michiganís Green Bay. The bay has an area of 50 square miles with a maximum depth of 115 feet. In the Midwest, it is without a doubt one of the best. It is also one of the best trophy walleye waters in the country. Your best chance for a real, honest, 10 lb. trophy walleye is here. It is also possible to get a 12 or even a 14 lb. walleye out of these waters.

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