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B mac

Where does everyone set up on structure?

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When setting up on or around a hump or shoreline break (example: 10-15ft flat that drops into 30ft. basin), whether it be a turn or a point....do most people set up:

1. On the top or shallowest part of the structure at the edge of the break.

2. On the break between the shallowest and deepest part.

3. At the bottom where the drop meets the mid-lake basin.

Just curious....I've tried all three and haven't found a steady pattern to be better than the other. I usually set up shallower if I plan on fishing later and deeper if I plan on leaving shortly after dark.

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Hey B
I've always had my best luck kind of in the middle of the slope althought you didn't tell us what you were fishing for I usually fish for walleyes. I always would fish from my portable and put a tip-up out in the shallower water, alwaya had real good luck like this, then if I was staying later and the fish moved shallower just moved portable to the shallow holes and fished there and did'nt have to drill new holes and disturb the fish

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I usually will drill a series of holes from deep to shallow, start deep and no fish pull flip over to the next set. work my way shallower with fading daylight or as fish dictate. If it is real cold I usually get parked in the middle and stay too long without moving.


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I always fish walleyes. I'm often too lazy...so I park my fat *** on one spot and don't move! I usually don't have any trouble catching at least a few....with a few perch always thrown in to keep me busy!

I read a lot, and I've never found any literature that answers this question. I have read that walleyes will suspend in deeper water at the same depth as they were feeding. So, if they were feeding at 15ft., they will travel out to mid-lake and hang at 15 and then back to shallower water in the evening to feed again. If you're set up in 20-25ft., you will miss all these fish coming and going??? Something I've read, but I haven't found it to hold true in the real world. Thanks for your responses.

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Depends what species you are fishing for and what the surroundings are like.

If I'm targeting walleyes I'll place a tip-up in shallower water off the break of the hump facing deeper water. Then I'll punch holes over the base of the breakline and out a few yards and jig those holes. The walleyes will move in at lowlight periods to feed and often times you can intercept them in deeper water if you figure out their pattern of movement. Punch a few extra holes up near the tip-up and in shallower water so that when the walleyes do move in you are not spooking the fish by punching more holes. Sometimes the fish will approach the structure head on and sometimes they will approach it from the side. It all depends on whats around the structure as well. If you have a 10 foot bar that extends out into 20 feet but there is a breakline in 40 feet to one of the sides you can find fish appraoching from the side a lot of the time rising onto the bar. Or if the point you are fishing has an inside turn you can target that area and even watch fish pile up there as well. When I apprach a piece of structure that I want to fish I break it down into three parts.

  • The actual structure
  • The breaks off the structure
  • The area around the structure

You could have a point, hump, or bar that stands out but might not hold any fish because the surroundings are not right. Like available deeper water, weeds, bottom makeup, forage, etc. I like to find points that extend into deeper water with shallower less steep breaks on the sides. Sometimes there will be more structure on the sides as well like a hump or bar outside from the point. Fish will relate to a lot of these areas come sundown and they will be looking to feed.

The misconception that walleyes move shallow at sundown isn't always true. Walleyes will still relate and feed in deeper water at dark. So it doesn't always mean that you have to find a point or bar in shallower water and hit that once dusk approaches. I've had good luck fishing deep edges of holes for walleyes at dark and deep soft bottom flats too. If targeting a flat look for any structure that stands out, the walleyes will often times locate near obvious structure on a large barren flat. Rocks, dips, stumps, transistion areas, these are a few things to look for.

Fishing walleyes in the winter can be complicated and frustrating. But once you find a pattern you will catch fish.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

First Choice Guide Service

[email protected]
Catch-N Tackle and Bio Bait

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Good post Matt! Lots of good information there.
I don't have much to add after that. I generally try to have the fish tell me where they are. A lot of the time, the shallower part of the structure is where the active fish will move to during the peak feeding periods. Oftentimes, the area just past the break, or deeper water out from a point or hump will hold fish during the day. These fish won't often be as super agressive as the ones that move up on top later in the day, but you might be able to catch some.

I think a good part of the time when you catch fish hand over fist, they'll be on top of some type of structure. However, a lot of days don't have action like that, and the fish might be holding off from the top, or packed in along an inside turn or something similar. These fish might not be as active, but it's where they are, and you have to fish where they are to catch them. If fish aren't active enough to rise up to the top of structure and turn the feed bags on, look somewhere else for fish.

So, there are generalities to go by, but don't follow general patterns like they're written in stone. Things change day to day, and certain locations will put out fish at certain times, even if it doesn't always go by the book.
Good luck out there.

gill man

[This message has been edited by gill man (edited 12-24-2003).]

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I don't think there is a "one size fits all" rule here. Fishing my favorite lake I always put my tip-up in deeper water, this lets me know that the fish are moving to the hump and I can get ready for my presentation. I usually set up 1/3 the way up the hump.

Sometimes as soon as I get a hit on the tip-up I will pull it and concentrate on two rods where I can control the presentation. I believe many methods will work and that is why they call it fishing.

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