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james_walleye

Lake with ciscoes?

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So i'm looking for some tips here on something i've not encountered much. The situation involves a deep lake with ciscoes. In the summer time you can graph the ciscoes and as the day moves on the ciscoes move higher in the water column until they are basically on the surface. The monster walleyes and northerns in the lake are with them of course. Sometimes the fish push the ciscoes as well right up on these really steep breaks. I'm looking for a few tips on how to target these fish. Is trolling the best way? Is it the only way? What cranks might work best? When the ciscoes are popping on the surface you will actually see white tips pop out of the water, can a guy cast at these fish? In 2 of the 3 years i've visited this lake early in summer i've seen the ciscoes doing this but have never tried to target the eyes with them. I know the giants in this lake are right under these schools of ciscoes. Any tips much appreciated!

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You are on the right track, try trolling various plugs throughout the day targeting the depths you are seeing the baitfish at. Silver and black, gold and black, don't be afraid to upsize to magnum type baits like a super shad rap or some of the larger taildancers afterall, these are large fish after larger prey. #18 rapala floating minnows when they are near the surface, If the water is clear try pulling planer boards and getting your line off to the side and back away from the boat to targert those fish that are spooky. When the fish are right on top try casting minnow type baits, Thundersticks, minnow raps, husky jerk-baits ect. Another option is to use spoons when the fish are tight to the steep breaks you can vertically jig them or you can cast them out and use a snap, flutter, snap flutter slow retrieve back to the boat. Dr. spoons, hopkins spoons, cleos, rattling spoons and crocs to name a few. I'd probably go to a dr or croc due to the longer shape more profile like a ciscoe, and use the hopkins and rattle spoons for vertical jigging. If you want to target the ciscoes think small panfish/trout type baits, small spinners, spoon, a small flu flu with or without a waxie would be my bait of choice. A flu flu suspended under a small bobber can work on those more finicky fish. This is a great pattern to work and you will be happy with the quality of the fish you catch but don't expect numbers as much as quality. Good luck, hope this helps.

Tunrevir~

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Excellent post by tunrevir.

Only thing I have to add is if the bait is suspended and deep during the day, the gamefish will probably slightly deeper than the ciscoes, and possibly off to the side somewhere. You should be able to mark the gamefish on your electronics (the cisccoes too). If you're not marking the gamefish and not catching them by trolling, then they're probably not there. I've found situations like you're describing and not been able to mark or catch the gamefish, so I don't think they were relating to the ciscoes at those times.

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Great thread! I see the same thing and see those huge arcs down there. Haven't had much luck yet, but I haven't put much effort into it either. I want to put in some time this summer.

If you have some time (8 pages of posts), here is a link with some fantastic information about suspending walleye's/Cisco's. Most of the info was by Toad, he's done articles in In-Fisherman. Hope he's still around these parts.

http://www.fishingminnesota.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/160427/1

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It was old; took me a few minutes to find it. But it was just so memorable, it had to be resurrected!

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Great link, provided me with an afternoon of knowledge.

Those were some incredibly well written, informative, and encouraging posts. We should all try to model our posts like that. Wow, thats some high quality.

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Beautiful post tunrevir and solbes, thank you for posting the link with additional information.

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What colors best replicate ciscoes? What color lures should be used when using this method?

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Black and silver, blackback and gold/silver, Purple/silver, look to match the forage. In some waters it might be golden shiners or a gold hue to the ciscoes in others they will be a nice shiny silver. Some of the off color stuff can and will work as well like wonderbread, firetiger or clown but I like to stick with something that resembles the fish that are being fed on. The super shad rap in silver shiner, goldshiner, #18 rap in black/silver/ black/gold/silver, the polish shad can be awsome as well(think muskie baits). The biggest thing is to keep the presentation slightly above the big arcs you are seeing or right at that level. Typically it is going to be about 1-4' above the marks that you are fishing for. Hope this helps.

Tunrevir~

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Pretty cool to come across this topic by chance after all these years. And great to see that we're still thinking about a pattern that remains overlooked by most anglers, despite all that's been written about it in recent seasons.

An interesting side note, and a recent developement on this walleye-cisco relationship . . . one of the most consistent big walleye patterns early in the season in these lakes has been to look in super deep water-- 30 to 60 feet. Hesitate to even mention it, as these obviously aren't the depths to fish

if you're planning to release walleyes. But the fish are there.

Particularly this season, as cool temps have kept waters from thermally stratifying, walleyes are free to venture into the depths to pursue ciscoes, as adequate oxygen persists. Whereas during most seasons, mid June means surface water temps into the upper 60s/low 70s, this year, surface temps hover only in the upper 50s. It's almost like fall. I love it, because it goes against the grain of typical walleye wisdom. And it proves that when it comes to fish behavior, we're not so smart as we're often led to believe-- there's still so much we have to learn.

So even though I personally choose not to target these super deep walleyes, I like the thought that they're there-- that in this age of easily accessible fishing information, there are still lots of fish doing things that remain mysterious to us. I like that this is still a thinking man's game. That it never gets stale, boring or mundane, because no matter what level of experience we've achieved, there's always another layer of knowledge yet to be attained.

I digress. Perhaps, though, the next time you mark large arcs on sonar in what appears to be water that's "too deep," you might consider that these could be the largest walleyes in the lake. I like to fish with my eyes only in this case, lowering my Aqua-Vu MAV camera and watching the show unfold on screen.

But if you do choose to fish for them, try a 3/4oz sinker and livebait rig with a large redtail chub. Or pull crankbaits with leadcore line. Often, they'll be suspended 2 to 15 feet above bottom over these deep flats.

These walleyes will bite. No question. So if you do fish 'em, just bring them up nice and slow. Let them work their way up on their own. Might take a few minutes. These are invariably the largest specimens in the lake, and they deserve to be recycled.

The main point is, fishing is all about discovery. It's about fun, and learning nature's mysterious ways. That technology can only bring us so far. The rest of it-- the pure joy of fishing discovery-- well, that's up to each of us, how we choose on an individual basis to approach this wonderful pursuit. smile

-a friend called Toad

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Great info. I'm seeing the same thing on the lake I fish. The northerns and walleye's are just not in their normal spots. The water temps were still in the upper 50's this last weekend. Weeds along the shoreline are still sparse to my amazement.

I'm guessing these fish are gorging on the ciscoes. Maybe the young of the year perch will get a temporary reprieve this year?

I've had the same reservations about fishing for deep walleyes. I have a small downrigger that would work perfect, but they are just too deep right now. Would be hard to see a large female go belly up because of a rapid ascent. I'm going to try the Aqua Vu idea though, I sometimes have more fun using that thing than actually fishing. Do you have good success seeing walleyes in 30-50 feet of water?

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