Want Walleyes Right Now? Use Spinners

June 22, 2015 by  

As the water warms and we get into the heat of summer, most predator fish will be feeding aggressively.  Walleyes will be eating whatever they can find.  A very effective way to catch walleyes is with a spinner rigged with a nightcrawler.  Here’s how you get started.

For the next few weeks, spinners for walleyes will be hard to beat.  Dean Arnoldussen caught this guy suspended on a spinner.

For the next few weeks, spinners for walleyes will be hard to beat. Dean Arnoldussen caught this guy suspended on a spinner.

Spinners are the preferred presentation of many walleye anglers this time of year because spinners allow you to cover water quickly but effectively, and also because walleyes like to eat them.

The spinners we’re talking about are those that start with a monofilament leader 48 to 60-inches long.  Tie on a couple of hooks, then thread on some beads and a clevis and attach a spinner to the clevis.  At the opposite end of the hooks, tie on a swivel.  Good examples of the type of spinner I’m talking about are Northland’s Baitfish Spinner Harness or their Mr. Walleye Crawler Hauler.  More and more, we’re using Impulse Nightcrawlers on our spinners.  The fish like them just as well, and they’re more durable and cleaner to use.  And, you don’t have to keep them out of the sun.

We’ll be using a bottom bouncer to get this rig into the fish zone.  Traditional bottom bouncers do a good job.  They’re relatively snag-free, provide good feel, and serve the purpose of getting the rig to the bottom.  That said, I prefer a Rock-Runner Slip Bouncer for spinner rigs and for much of my live bait rig fishing.  This sinker is also fairly snag-free and provides good feel, but it slides on the line on a quick-disconnect sleeve.  The sleeve allows an angler to change sinker weight without cutting and re-tying.  You simply snap the bottom bouncer off the sleeve and replace it with a heavier or lighter sinker.  It’s a five-second process, so your bait is back in the water quicker.

When using spinners, the general rule-of-thumb is small, subtle colored blades in clear water, bigger, brighter blades in stained water.  I have found too many times that walleyes don’t know about rules-of-thumb.  Try different blade sizes and colors until the fish show you what color and size they want on that particular day in that particular body of water.  Blade size and color preference will change from day to day and even hour to hour.  If the fish quit eating the color you’re using, change colors.

RigRaps are new to the fishing world and do a great job of keeping spinner rigs neatly stored.

RigRaps are new to the fishing world and do a great job of keeping spinner rigs neatly stored.

In the past, it’s been kind of a hassle changing spinner rigs.  You’ve got all these 48 to 60-inch lengths of line laying around the boat causing a mess.  A relatively new tool for storing spinners is the RigRap.  A RigRap is a small plastic container that allows us to easily and neatly store spinners, snells and the like.

You can move pretty quickly with spinners. .9 to 1.3 miles per hour are productive speeds much of the time.  Before dropping your spinner into the fish zone, observe the blade at boat side to make sure it’s spinning.  You’ll need heavier bottom bouncers for faster speeds most of the time.

Many anglers prefer a baitcasting rod/reel for pulling spinners, and the line selection of many anglers is braid.  Sunline’s SX 1 in 10 or 12-pound test is super sensitive.  You can feel your bottom bouncer crawling over pebbles on the bottom, and you can easily feel when a walleye takes your spinner.  When you feel that hit, keep a little pressure on the rod as you drop the tip back to the fish.  Then just sweep the rod ahead: You don’t need a hard hookset.

Spinners are outstanding when the walleyes are spread out over the bottom or suspended.  Experiment with blade size until you find the hot set-up and you will understand why so many of the most successful anglers rely on spinners for walleyes in the summer.

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