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Walleye: The Carp Connection
Tom Kemos

The Carp Connection for Walleyes

By: Tom Kemos

The unstable and unpredictable weather of spring has passed, warm summer days are followed by comfortable nights, the water temps have reached the magical 70° mark, and everything that swims is fired up and actively feeding. June marks one of the most consistent times of the year for boating nice walleyes.

During this month I concentrate my efforts on new submerged vegetation. However, one overlooked key area this time of the year are the shallow flats occupied by carp. As the water temperatures hit 70° carp begin their annual spawning ritual. What the heck could a walleye possibly have in common with a carp you ask? Let me tell you. When carp move into the shallows they wallow around and stir up all kinds of insects, crustaceans, and plankton. While walleyes will eat all of the above, most importantly bait fish and small pan fish also move in. It creates a virtual smorgasbord for hungry walleye. Additionally, the fact that the carp stir up the bottom and cloud the water reduces light penetration and creates the ultimate feeding ground for the bug eyed beauties.

Start by target bays that have some vegetation or even scattered rock or sand spots in them. It is an added bonus if there is deep water nearby. Mid-afternoon to late evening is the best time to fish for these shallow water crusaders when it is not uncommon to pluck nice eyes from less than two feet of water. As I sneak my Yar-Craft into the shallows, I raise my MotorGuide up so there is enough clearance as not to disturb the bottom. To add another element of stealthiness, I keep the power turned down and run it on constant to avoid a lot of starting and stopping. The constant noise of the motor does not bother the fish, however starting and stopping does. It is not as critical if you have a little chop on the water to break up the sound.

I use two search bait techniques to locate active walleyes. A Rapala Husky Jerk or Original Minnow fished with a 7 foot St. Croix Walleye Tournament Series Shallow Cranking Rod is an awesome combo. The other search bait is a 1/8 once jig with a wide gap hook and a 3 to 4 inch grub tossed with a 6 foot 8 inch St. Croix Under Action River Jig Rod outfitted with an Avid Series 2500 with clear 816 Suffix Siege line.

With the crankbaits, I like to make long casts and use a medium paced stop and go retrieve. Most strikes come on the pause. An important note is to keep an eye out behind the bait as it nears the boat. Catching these fish on a figure eight is not uncommon. With the jig and grub I use a burn and kill retrieve. Cast out and let the jig hit bottom. Crank it 6 to 8 times as fast as you can then kill it. Keep your rod at a 45° angle and watch the line and set the hook if you see any movement. Once I feel I have picked off the most aggressive fish I will generally switch to a third presentation consisting of a 1/16oz weedless jig and a leech or half a crawler to more methodically dissect the area.

An additional tip to locating fish in the murky water is as long as the weather continues to be stable the Walleyes will stay in the shallows overnight. A great way to locate these shallow fish is to cruise the suspected area with your electric motor under darkness and shine them with a spotlight. Walleyes can hide pretty well during the day, but because they can’t blink there reflective bugles give them away at night.

So to catch more walleyes in June, look to the shallows for the tell tale wakes, and dirty water to make the Carp Connection.

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