Andrew Martinsen's Walleye Fishing Secrets

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Andrew Martinsen's Walleye Fishing Update

Dropping the Downrigger in on Walleye

Optimal Walleye Downrigging

Downriggers are great to fish for walleye in deep water because it allows the angler to set the bait depth very precisely. These units merge technology with trolling in order to achieve the best results on the water.

This presentation can be lethal on the water, but it needs to be set-up properly before you can drop the downrigger down on the walleye.

There are several components that are involved in setting up a downrigger. The major piece of this presentation is the spool of wire that is mounted to the boat on an arm. Varying weights can be attached to the line in order to get the bait down the desired depths. A release is attached to the line just below the weight providing a point to attach the bait.

The release will let the line go when a fish strikes, allowing the angler to use the rod and reel to bring in the catch. Since the downrigger is bearing all the weight, lighter rods and lines can be used, which are often easier to handle. While the system is pretty hands-off, the thrill of reeling in the walleye is still there.

A winch lowers the line and bait down to where the fish are holding up. These come in either electronic or manual versions. Electronic winches give you the convenience of lowering the gear with the press of a button. While handy, this isn't always necessary to have. Electronic winches are worth the extra money if you are consistently fishing deep water, usually a hundred feet or more. These depths require significant weights, which can be backbreaking for you.

Before handing over the cash to your local fishing outfitter, you need to make sure you are buying the right downrigger for your boat. Small boats are better paired with more compact arms, usually twenty-four inches or less. Normally, you will be operating the gear while sitting and it will be harder to attach the weights and set the release on long arms.

Larger boats can handle longer arms. If you are planning on running more than one downrigger, you will want arms that are between thirty to fifty inches long. This will help prevent the lines and lures getting tangled when turning. If you have a freeboard on the boat, you will want to go with longer arms in order to prevent the weights from banging against the boat. Once in the water, lead weights can start swinging especially when the water is rough.

Swivel plates are an option that you should consider if money allows. Arms need to be set at forty-five degree angles and the plates allow you to easily move the unit easily in whatever direction you desire. They make it very easy to pull the arms in at the dock or move them out when on the water too. You will probably regret not having them once you start fishing, so bite the bullet and get swivel plates from the get-go.

One of the biggest mistakes anglers make, is not using enough weight on their downriggers. Proper weight will make sure lure stays at the depth you want. They will also keep the lines running true and help prevent tangles. Eight to ten pound weights are usually sufficient for most freshwater lakes.

Size also comes to play when picking out bait for your downrigger. Most walleye anglers have always stuck with smaller bait and slower presentations. Downriggers tend to produce better when the bait is five to six inches. It is better to start out more aggressive and downsize if the fish aren't taking the bait.

Trolling is a favorite way to fish for walleye because it allows you to cover more water faster. Downriggers bring this method to a new level and can be incredibly effective, especially when walleye are suspended in deep waters. Making sure you get the right downrigger set-up for your boat will make it easy to get the drop on the walleye.

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25 Inch Walleye Caught at Lake of the Woods

Walleye Fishing Secrets Student Shares an Awesome Catch


Here's a 25 inch walleye caught at Lake of the Woods, Ontario. The picture is a great memento for me.

I caught it drifting. We caught it amongst some smaller ones that ended up on the dinner table.

Your advice was helpful in making my trip successful. Thank you!"

- Russell K.

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Great Fishin' to You! (Always),


Andrew Martinsen