By Eric Brandriet
There are countless presentations that anglers use to catch walleyes throughout the open-water walleye season. Angler strengths and confidence often steer their preference and in South Dakota a livebait rig pulled behind a traditional bottom bouncer probably tops them all. Very simple, yet effective livebait spinner rigs can entice the weariest of eyes!
After spawn concludes and water temps increase, walleyes transition off shorelines and shallow areas to weedlines and mid-lake structures. While other presentations can be effective, spinner rigs become the summer norm allowing anglers to cover large areas of water with varying baits, at various speeds, often producing some of the best walleye angling of the year.
Even though spinner rigs are often seen as simple, they have not avoided evolution through the years. As a young angler, 2-3 hook harnesses with solid colored #3 Colorado Blades topped our options. Todays multi-colored blades on snells, with a variety of hook types, was the farthest from my dreams.
It has been no secret that many walleyes have succumbed to the Northland Tackle Butterfly Blades after their introduction last year. Butterfly Blades brought spinner blades to an all new level due to their weight (polycarbonate) or lack of, color variations and sonic like vibrations. Endless versatility with the ability to troll at speeds as low as 0.25 mph, use hook variations of choice and catch everything from panfish to pike have made them my favorite.
Thinking my arsenal was complete with infinite flexibility, Northland Tackle has now introduced the NEW Butterfly Blade Float’n Harness and the Butterfly Wing-Nut Blade Rig. I quickly realized merely after a couple of trolling passes that these just unturned even more trolling options.
The Butterfly Blade Float’n Harness quickly proved very effective trolled over emerging weeds and rocky areas. It’s ability to avoid snags (weeds/rocks) but remain in the strike zone made this a favorite. The 12 NEW colors in 2 different blade sizes will give us options complimenting forage and water/weather conditions.
The Butterfly Wing-Nut Blade Rig without a doubt became my favorite enticing almost every species of fish. The small blade produces a slightly more erratic action unmatched by any other blade which is simply irresistible. This unmatched action coupled with three hook configurations (2-Hook, 1-Hook and Super Death) only add to versatility allowing this harness to be tipped with your choice of minnows, crawlers or leeches.
There are characteristics that allow these blades to stand alone and simply will put more fish in your boat. Their composition (polycarbonate) allows less sagging when trolled at slow speeds, on turns or while drifting. The action and vibration is atypical of standard metal blades and this action and vibration attracts fish of all species. The unique color blade options and 2 sizes of Float’n Harnesses allows matching size profile that is preferred by fish on any given day.
I was born and raised in Northeastern South Dakota. Currently living on Big Stone Lake, also with a property on Lake Oahe, I’ve quickly realized I’m surrounded by “walleye” country! As a guide, spinner harnesses are a fishing backbone on many bodies of water as they can be fished easily by anglers of all ages with success. The NEW Northland Tackle Butterfly Blade Float’n Harnesses and Butterfly Wing-Nut Blades have definitely earned space in my stowaways since walleyes simply can’t resist them!