How to use Boat Control to Catch Walleyes On June 17, 2013
Why is boat control so important for walleyes?
Walleyes are very creative in how they adapt to different water systems so you must learn how to use boat control to catch walleyes. You can catch them suspended in large schools like salmon, hiding behind logs and weeds like a bass, and hugging the bottom like catfish. Walleye can be caught from one foot of water to 100 feet of water.
Boat control is different for each situation and each situation is different when the wind blows so you must master multiple techniques to position the boat in order to present your bait to walleye.
Can you give me an example of boat control for shallow walleyes in a lake?
When fishing shallow reef walleyes in mild to moderate wind, the bow mount trolling motor is very important. Cable drive and electric steer both will work well in this condition. I use the Lowrance HDS in splitscreen map/sonar in the bow to see the depth so I can understand the layout of the reef and I always look for fish on the deeper edges in case they have moved off the reef.
Boat control in this situation involves positioning the boat off the reef (walleyes don’t like boats over them except in moving water and turbid water) in order to cast jigs or crankbaits like a Salmo Hornet or Rapala Shad Rap over the top. It is best to have some wind and waves when fishing shallow reefs as the walleyes bite better in those conditions.
When the wind kicks up and the waves start rolling it is time to anchor. Anchoring allows you to focus on fishing instead of boat control which is very difficult in 20 mph winds. It is best to anchor upwind of what you consider the prime spot (where you were catching the fish before it got windy).
How about those suspended walleyes you mentioned?
Suspended walleyes roam the main basin of lakes. They can be anywhere in the water column from 3-80 feet. Trolling is the best method to target them. You can use planer boards for the fish that are shallow and spook away from the boat. Leadcore line and weights are used to get the bait to the correct depth.
Speed control is very important with leadcore line and weights as a small change in speed will change the depth of the bait or lure. I start by positioning the lures or bait at different depths and once you catch a walleye you know what depth to target. The best way to monitor speed is using the overlay feature on your GPS. GPS speed is the most accurate method for trolling.
Learning how to use boat control to catch walleyes is much easier with the correct tools. The most important is a trolling motor that has an autopilot. Your choices are the Minn Kota Terrova or PowerDrive. Professional walleye anglers use the trolling motor with a gas kicker motor. The kicker provides extra thrust so you don’t have to worry about trolling batteries running low and also charge the starting battery while you troll. I use the throttle control on both to get the right speed. I recommend a CoPilot or i-Pilot so you can control the trolling motor from the back of the boat.
The autopilot keeps you on track while you tie lines, catch fish, and eat sandwiches.
I think of it as have a cheap first mate.
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