Early in the summer, fish of different species will spread out in a body of water. Earlier in the year, they were in shallow water getting ready to spawn or they were spawning. We knew where they were, we just had to convince them to eat.
Now that spawning is mostly done, the fish are moving into different locations. For the rest of the open water season they’ll be wherever their food is. Depending on the year, from late May to late June can be kind of a transition time. The fish are heading from their spawning areas to the areas where they’ll be for the summer. They’ll be willing to eat; we just need to put a bait in front of them.
When the fish are spread out, we need to cover water in our attempts to have some action. The more water we cover, the better our chances for getting bit. Trolling is a great way to cover water.
There are a couple different kinds of trolling. There’s precision trolling, which is usually a slower presentation. You locate a small area where you expect the fish to be and you work that area slowly. When we’re looking for fish, we’re going to cover a good amount of water, so we’ll be moving quickly.
Walleyes and northern pike are most susceptible to this trolling technique. Late in the spring and early in the summer, a newly emerging weedline is a great place to troll, although long tapering flats and most other larger structures will be good also.
For pike, use a spoon such as the Forage Minnow. A Lightning Rod Flippin’ Rod with seventeen pound test Trilene XT works well with this spoon. Cover water: If pike are present you’ll get bit.
If walleyes are the quarry, try pulling a Flicker Shad crankbait or Baitfish Image Spinners with Gulp! crawlers. Walleyes will readily eat either.
More and more, anglers are finding that planer boards will help them catch more fish. Boards enable an angler to effectively get more lines in the water, and they also prevent spooking fish in clear water or shallow water. The boards from Off Shore Tackle are easy to use, easy to read, and do a great job of helping anglers troll more successfully.
When trolling this time of year, you’ll catch a fish here, another over there. Keep moving. For pike, you can go two or three miles per hour. Walleyes like it a little slower, but you might be surprised how fast you can troll and still catch them. If you’re on walleye or northern pike water in the next few weeks, try trolling quickly if you want consistent action.