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Andrew Martinsen's Walleye Fishing Update

Leeches for More Walleye

Walleye Fishing with Leeches

As far as walleye fishing goes, live bait is usually the top producer in the water. Night crawlers, crayfish and leeches have all been known to entice even the most stoic walleye. When it comes to live bait, nothing is quite as lethal as a leech.

Leeches first became popular in mid-70s with anglers that used live-bait. These little suckers have a lot going for them. They are hardier than night crawlers and can withstand being bounced along rock structures. They can even be reused after a walleye catch. They don't tear as easily as night crawlers.


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Leeches are easier to store as well. They can be kept around for long periods of time without food. Even though leeches don't need to eat often, they need to be able to clean themselves. Leeches can develop a slime that makes them smelly and unappealing to anglers and walleye alike.

Investing in the Leech Tamer from JNB Originals can be a quick fix to this problem. This mesh bag gives the leeches a rough surface to clean themselves against. It also makes it easy to store the leeches in the refrigerator, live well or even off of a dock.

There are several ways to effectively present leeches. Slip-sinker rigs are a great option. This rig lets the angler detect the bite long before the walleye notices that something is amiss.

Use a Lil Corky or floating jig head to suspend the leech just of the bottom. Colored beads or jig heads can add color and interest to the rig. Normally, size 4 or 6 hooks work fine with this set-up. If the walleye are on the spooky side, drop down to a size 8 hook.

Hook the leech below the tail sucker. Cast the leech over the target area and slowly retrieve it. Allow it too make contact with any weeds or structures in the area. The slow presentation will give the walleye plenty of time to take hold of the leech.

It is also possible to jig with leeches. Use a 1/32 ounce jug and leech combination. A number 6 or 8 hook works well with this presentation. Let the leech hit the bottom and bring it up in a jerky motion. The best technique allows the leech to rise and fall at varying speeds.

Trolling with leeches is also possible. Combine a leech on a single hook with a bottom bouncer. Attach a six to eight foot leader to the rigging. An electric trolling motor is ideal because it is less likely to spook the trophy-size walleye. In-line planar boards are also handy because they can be used to cover more water.

If these options are unavailable, the rig can be used while back trolling. It also pairs well with controlled drifting. The key to making this presentation successful is to keep it as slow and natural as possible.

When it comes to leech selection, not all leeches work the same. Horse leeches commonly found in fresh water lakes, rivers and ponds. Walleye do not like this variety though. They seem to prefer the sand or ribbon leeches that are about two inches long.

The right leech presented in the right way can be a lethal combination. Walleye tend to snap up leeches no matter what time of year it is. When looking for sure-fire bait for walleye, anglers may want to explore the possibilities of a well-chosen leech.


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