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gkl

night trolling questions

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Last year from mid July thru mid Oct I finally had consistent success trolling for wallyes at night on Pokegama in GR. What worked summer and fall was 1.7-2mph, hj10s and 12s, 4-12 fow water over weeds/rock/sand. What time of year does it pay to start night trolling? What kind of structure? fow? lure type and size? speed? Any info is greatly appreciated!

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Although the fall is generally the most successful time of year, summertime and early spring can be very successful. Full moon phases and clear skies are usually great chances to get out and pull floaters or huskies.

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I don't troll much in the early spring, I like to let the water warm up a bit first. Plus in the spring the fish are likely to be concentrated in certain areas, and working them with a jig is usually a more effective presentation than trolling.

But, if the fish are in an area conducive to trolling, like a shoreline or a break with shallow sand or rock or scattered weeds, then springtime trolling can be very effective. Slower is better when the water is cold, and I like smaller baits in the spring.

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On opener at night I always like to slow troll a rolling profile minnow bait. Its a good way to cover water up shallow and target the active males that are up shallow searching for/protecting the spawing grounds. This year should be interesting with the colder water temps so I don't know how its all gonna play out. As for speed, if your up north, keep it under 1 mph.

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When and how you troll has everything to do with the lake you are fishing. I think PerchJerker hit it right on the head. On some lakes or parts of some lakes the structure/bait fish/wind will push fish into highly concentrated areas makeing a jig or a rig a more effective presentation especially early on in the season.

With that said there are a couple lakes that I don't even bring live bait to anymore. It drives a fishing buddy nuts everytime I tell him but it works. I will be pulling cranks shallow and slow from the get go.

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As far as bait size, prey is smaller in the spring, so the bait should be also. I usually run a bait that looks like a shiner or small perch.

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The same areas you troll in the fall but at lesser speeds and smaller presentations than what you described above.

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Thanks guys, all the info is greatly appreciated!

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Cicada, there's lots of prey left from the previous year-- do the walleyes not go after that in the spring? I suppose that prey may be harder for them to catch, but aren't those minnows, etc, also more sluggish in the cold water? Is it because of the process of recovering from spawning that they want smaller bait? If a 4-5" redtail is tied down by a hook and line it can't move around very fast; does that work well in spring? I've been wondering about that for a long time. I've always used smaller baits early, but only because general wisdom is that's what you use.

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