How to Fish Leeches for Walleye: A Comprehensive Guide
Welcome, avid anglers! Today we are diving into the exciting world of walleye fishing using leeches as bait. Widely regarded as one of the most effective techniques, fishing with leeches can yield impressive results. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know to successfully fish leeches for walleye.
The Appeal of Fishing with Leeches
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand why fishing with leeches is so appealing. Walleye find these wriggling creatures irresistible due to their natural scent and motion in the water. Leeches also closely resemble the preferred food sources of walleye such as minnows and small fish.
Gathering Your Gear
Prior to heading out on your angling adventure, make sure you have all the necessary gear at hand:
- Rod and reel suitable for walleye fishing
- Fishing line (6-10 lb test) – fluorocarbon or monofilament works best
- Bobbers or slip bobber rigs (optional)
- Sinkers or weights appropriate for your chosen technique
- Fishing hooks (size #4-#8 depending on preference)
- Bait container with a lid for storing live leeches
- Bucket filled with clean water for temporarily housing caught walleye
- TIP: Keep your bait container cool by placing ice packs around it during warm weather outings.
Selecting Quality Live Leeches
When it comes to leech selection, opting for healthy and lively specimens is crucial. This ensures that the scent and movement will be enticing to walleye. Here’s what to look for:
- Freshness: Choose active leeches with a smooth, undamaged body.
- Size: Select medium-sized leeches (around 2-3 inches) as they tend to be most effective.
- Motion: Observe their movements; avoid sluggish or curled-up ones.
Baiting Your Hook with Leeches
Now that you have your gear ready and live leeches at hand, let’s get down to baiting your hook effectively:
- Gently insert the point of the fishing hook through one end of the leech’s sucker.
- TIP: Avoid piercing through the middle as this restricts their motion in water.
Selecting the Right Fishing Technique
Various techniques can be employed when fishing with leeches for walleye. Here are two popular options:
A) Bottom-Bouncing Technique
This technique works best in rocky or weedy areas where walleye tend to hide:
- Rig your slip sinker above a swivel on your main line.
- Add an 18-24 inch fluorocarbon leader below the swivel with a suitable hook attached at its end.
- Cast out and allow your baited hook to touch bottom while maintaining tension on your line.
B) Slip Bobber Technique
This technique is ideal for fishing in deeper waters or during low-light conditions:
- Slide a slip bobber stop onto your line, followed by the slip bobber itself.
- Tie on a fluorocarbon leader with an appropriate hook at its end.
- Cast out and adjust the slip bobber to reach your desired depth.
Finding Walleye Hotspots
Lastly, it’s crucial to locate areas where walleye are likely to be concentrated. Consider these factors when scouting for hotspots:
- Structures: Look for submerged rocks, reefs, drop-offs, or sunken timber that create ideal hiding spots.
- Water Temperature: Walleye prefer cooler temperatures, so focus your efforts around thermoclines or cooler pockets of water.
- Baitfish Presence: Pay attention to signs of baitfish activity such as jumping minnows or diving birds – they indicate potential walleye feeding grounds.
A successful day of walleye fishing using leeches as bait requires proper preparation and technique. By following this comprehensive guide on how to fish leeches for walleye, you’ll be well-equipped to reel in those elusive trophies. Remember to always respect local regulations regarding size limits and catch-and-release policies. Happy fishing!