It won’t be long until we’re on the ice chasing walleyes or icing walleyes. There are a lot of different ways to catch walleyes under the ice, but it seems like many, maybe even most walleye ice anglers like to use spoons. There’s a good reason for that: Spoons and other styles of hard baits catch walleyes really effectively. There are a bunch of different types of spoons and hard baits available to walleye anglers. Although they may look similar, there are some differences, and there are a few things you should consider when you’re deciding what spoon to tie onto the end of your line. Here are some of those considerations.
Is the water clear or cloudy? In cloudy water, a noisy spoon like a Buck-Shot® Rattle Spoon is the way to go. The rattling noise coming from the spoon will help walleyes find the bait easier when their sight is limited.
In clear water, the rattling noise isn’t as necessary, but it still doesn’t hurt. However, if you’re fishing clear water and see fish on your sonar come in and look at your lure but not eat it, and if you’re using a rattling lure, switch to a spoon that doesn’t rattle. A quiet lure, at times, will be more productive, especially in clear water.
Consider the color of the spoon. Again, clear or cloudy water will have a bearing on what color to start with. Clearwater: Something natural in appearance.
Cloudy water: Go with something brighter, something that will be more visible in limited visibility conditions. The new UV colors that Northland paints many of their best fish catchers with will, at times, produce noticeably better than ordinary colors.
And, again, if the fish are looking but not eating, try something else. Sometimes bright lures perform very well in clear water.
If you’re fishing walleyes that have been getting a lot of fishing pressure, try something way different. Fish become conditioned to a particular presentation. If everyone is doing the same thing and it’s not working, try something else.
When the fish are finicky, a spoon that’s smaller in appearance will often be better.
A bait that doesn’t really fit the “spoon” description but is kind of similar is a Puppet Minnow. These baits glide and fall in a unique manner that the walleyes really like at times. If traditional spoons aren’t working, give this style of bait a try. In fact, if you’re fishing with a group, everyone should be trying different baits until the best one is determined.
Spoons catch icing walleyes, as well as perch and crappies and pike. Give them a try this winter. If you’re fishing near fish, and if those fish are just a little bit hungry, they’re going to eat your spoon.
Photo Caption: John Peterson caught this nice walleye in stained water on a rattling spoon.
To see all the most recent episodes of the Fishing the Midwest television series, new fishing-related tips, and fishing articles from the past, go to fishingthemidwest.com.
By Bob Jensen