Eat, Hide, Repeat: Walleyes in The Weeds

Rigging for weed walleyes demands nuance and the right tackle, but properly prepared anglers can expect dynamite action the entire open-water season!

In the fall or even during the heart of summer, green weeds on many water bodies will attract walleyes. Some anglers believe these walleyes are more likely to come from hatcheries, but I’m not sure that has any credence. Throughout the natural history of walleyes, I suspect some of these fish have positioned themselves near weed cover. Also, evolution is a continuing process and as lakes age and become more lush with vegetation, I have no doubt that relatively short life-cycled walleyes adjust.

Green weeds will produce throughout a fall pattern. You’ll find me working an aggressive presentation, typically with lipless crank baits, but maybe one with a bill, too, depending on the thickness of the weeds. Working these fish, you’d sometimes swear you’re catching smallies. You can have some dynamite, explosive action!

Tackle Terry Tuma
Tackle Terry Tuma

Need to dial it back for neutral fish? Try casting small jigs with minnows and leeches into pockets in the vegetation. Or maybe try a float system with minnow or leech and cast into those holes.

If you find some semi-weedy flats, don’t exclude live bait rigging. Fluorocarbon line sinks, so here we want to use (generally speaking) 8-pound-test line. If you have a neutral fish or even a tougher bite, tie your own snells, say 2- to 3 feet long with a bullet weight sinker. Use that trolling motor and move right along the weed edge. You should pick up a few weeds or you’re not close enough. Anglers don’t like it, but that’s reality, because that’s where fish will be.

Tip your rig with fathead minnows. I’ve also had great success using chubs, which I find are very, very productive. Use redtails 4-, 6-, or even 8 inches long. Here again, using a proper size hook for a good hookset is mandatory. A No. 2 hook is typical depending on the make and model. We want to get away from No. 6s with 4- or 6-inch redtails. And always hook ’em through the tail when working weed walleyes. You want that action and every available advantage.

Good luck out there!

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