By Mike Frisch
June is often a great time to catch walleyes! These fish are fully recovered from the spawn, are on the feed, and are often not that tough to catch. Here are some tips for finding and catching aggressive June walleyes.
The main lake structure starts to hold walleyes during early June. Shallower sunken humps and islands will often hold walleyes during June, with deeper water structures holding more and more fish as summer wears on. Other good fish-holding spots on lots of lakes during June are major points that extend off the shoreline break and jut out into the lake.
Regardless of the structure being targeted, I use my fish-finding sonar and GPS navigation to quickly search and find structure-related walleyes. The CHIRP SideVision technology on my Raymarine units allows me to quickly move along looking off to the boat’s sides to find shallow fish-holding structures and the fish themselves. Combining that technology with CHIRP sonar and DownVision on other screens lets me also see fish holding under the boat. These technologies are easy to use, easy to interpret and let me quickly and efficiently eliminate unproductive water, and spend more time fishing “good” water.
Once fish are found, I let their location determine how I am going to fish for them. For example, if a school of fish is found relating to a small area, maybe the tip of an underwater point in shallow water, I may hold the boat out off the end of the point and pitch a jig and minnow combination to them.
A Stand-Up Fire-Ball baited with either a fathead or shiner minnow can be pitched and slowly worked through these fish, particularly if they are a bit tentative. If, on the other hand, the fish are active and aggressive, a soft plastic bait pitched and worked more aggressively will often shine.
Pitching jigs work great to groups of fish holding in small areas. If, however, they are more spread out, maybe they are scattered along the drop-off edges of a point extending out into the main lake, then I will opt for a bottom bouncer, plain snell, and hook tipped with either a nightcrawler or leech.
I use a heavy bouncer (about one ounce per every 10-feet of water being fished), about a 3 ½-foot snell of line, and a #4 fish hook in either super-glo pink or super-glo orange colors baited with a nightcrawler or leech. The heavy bouncer allows me to cover water quickly searching for active biters, and the colored hook and bait combination has proven deadly when presented quickly behind a bouncer.
Mainly anglers choose the more traditional slip-sinker to live bait rig in this situation. I have found, however, that I can cover water more quickly to put my bait in front of more fish utilizing this set-up. Another key is that keeping the bouncer fishing fairly vertically imparts a stuttering action to the bait that often triggers aggressive bites. I often fish this rig close to 1 mph, whereas traditional “riggers” often fish slip-sinker rigs at about half that speed.
June often means biting walleyes that can be caught consistently. Using the aforementioned tips can, in fact, help you get in on the “aggressive walleyes of June” this year. As always, good luck on the water, and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoor adventure!
Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the Fishing the Midwest TV series. Follow Fishing the Midwest on Facebook for more “fishy” information!
Photo – June is a great month to target walleyes!