Mike Frish holding a summer walleye

A good way to connect with mid-summer walleyes is by keeping your hands to yourself. It may sound strange, but Team Northland member Mike Frisch says it’s about the best thing an angler can do when chasing walleyes with his preferred summertime method.

Frisch is not only a Northland pro, he’s an outdoor communicator and a long-time guide who fishes any number of lakes near his home in Elbow Lake, Minnesota. Many of those lakes are strewn with submerged humps and islands that attract walleyes susceptible to a bottom bouncer/’crawler harness rig.

The angler builds his own, using a 2-ounce Rock-Runner® Bottom Bouncer tied to his 20-pound braided mainline, followed by a 42-inch, 10-pound mono for fluoro snell with dual hooks.

“I’m trolling the edges of those humps in anywhere from 15 to 35 feet of water,” he explains, “so you want a bouncer that’s heavy enough to maintain a 45-degree trolling angle, with the bouncer wire just ticking and scrabbling along the bottom.”

Frisch foregoes any type of spinner on the rig because the clear water in the lakes he fishes makes them unnecessary, maybe even a detriment. And the bouncer contacting the bottom imparts an enticing action to the ’crawler that attracts walleyes on its own.

The hands-free aspect of this presentation comes from countless guide trips during which Frisch has noticed that, more often than not, a rod left in a holder out-produces any hand-held rod.

“I think there are a couple of reasons,” he says. “A lot of anglers are tempted to let out more line, but you need that 45-degree entry angle to keep the bouncer where it needs to be to give the ’crawler some action. Also, fishermen are eager to set the hook and can pull the bait away from the fish. When the rod is in a holder, a walleye has time to work its way up the nightcrawler until it gets to the hook. Then, it hooks itself.”

There are also a few fine points to the system. Frisch doesn’t use any old hook, but rather ties on a size 4 orange (sometimes chartreuse) Super-Glo Attractor Hook in the lead spot, with a like-sized red Roach Hook 3 inches behind. “The added color simply catches more fish,” he says.

He also advises using only a premium bottom bouncer. “The wire on those cheap ones is just too soft,” he says. “They won’t impart the same kind of action to the bait.”

Finally, while trolling speeds from .5 to 1.5 mph will do, the sweet spot is usually from .7 to 1.0 mph, he notes.

For more, visit Mike on Fishing the Midwest Facebook Page!

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