According to Sorensen, 1/8-ounce jigs are ideal for shallow water walleyes, but for areas with current 1/4-ounce to 3/8-ounce jigs are more appropriate. In terms of gear, things vary depending on the technique, but rods of the shorter variety – 6’6” – are ideal for vertical jigging, while longer rods – 6’9” to 7’1” – excel for pitching jigs. Grant relies on a Medium Power rod during this timeframe, especially in current areas where heavier jigs are necessary.
“Another great option for shallow water walleyes in the spring is casting crankbaits and stickbaits. The great part about these lures is that they’re multi-species in nature so you can catch a lot of pike and smallmouth as well.”
The summer months in the Crane Lake region are characterized by two main walleye movements. The first major transition most often occurs during the month of June. As spring fades to summer, walleyes will often make a move from shallow inlet areas to slightly deeper water. “After the spawn wraps up, walleyes are on the move to deeper water and typically disperse throughout the main lake,” says Sorenson. “There are endless miles of shoreline points, reefs, and humps, so structure is in surplus. Thankfully, most of the key areas are pretty obvious and all of the major electronics companies have things mapped out well.”
“The jig bite is often still effective during this period, but there’s also a good rigging bite – especially for the deeper fish. Live bait choices typically transition more from a strictly minnow bite to a combination of minnows and leeches,” says Grant. He relies on rods in the 7’ to 7’6” range for rigging.
During the months of July and August, walleyes transition again to even deeper areas. At this time, humps, points, and reefs are all equal opportunity employers when it comes to housing fish. Walleyes will often position themselves deeper during the day and transition shallower during lowlight hours. “As we get into the later part of summer the trolling bite really starts to kick off. We look to target walleyes that are roaming over deep water. This is a great option to target bigger fish. It’s definitely less of a numbers game, but if you’re willing to stick it out you can be rewarded with some quality fish.” This deep water trolling regimen includes both leadcore and longlining of deeper diving shad style baits.
“The nice part about this area is that you can really fish them how you want especially during this summer.,” says Sorensen. “Of course, there are certain techniques that will be more effective than others, but pretty much everything is fair game throughout the summer months. If you want to rig, then rig. If you want to jig, then jig.”
Key depths throughout the summer months can really vary day by day, but areas in 20-to-35 feet of water are ideal.