If you know a thing or two about walleye fishing, you are probably aware of the effectiveness of live bait. Leeches, crayfish, and nightcrawlers are used to entice walleye. But a leech is perhaps the most lethal live bait.
The goal of this post is to help you learn how to use leeches to entice walleye. Here you will find everything you need to know about walleye fishing with leeches. Keep reading!
Why Use Leeches?
Anglers have long been using leeches as live bait. Experienced anglers know that walleye are particularly attracted to these little suckers. They are better than nightcrawlers because they can withstand clash with rock structures. You can even reuse leeches after a catch. Nightcrawlers tear easily, but leeches do not.
It is also easier to store leeches. They can survive for days without any food. Leeches do not need food often, but they need to clean themselves. If they develop slime, they smell bad and become unappealing to walleye.
There is a product called leech tamer that gives leeches a rough surface, which is ideal for them. If you wish, you can store leeches in your refrigerator. But make sure they are not stored for too long. You can store them for a pretty long time in normal temperature.
All leeches are not equally effective. In freshwater rivers, ponds and lakes, the most commonly found leeches are horse leeches. This variety is not a favorite to walleye. To attract them, consider using ribbon or sand leeches. They are about a couple of inches long.
Choose the right type of leeches and present them in the right way. There is no particular time when walleye like leeches. They like them throughout the year. A well-chosen variety of leech can make fishing a lot more fun. You can contact your local fishing store for some good advice.
When it comes to walleye fishing with leeches, the right presentation is of utmost importance. Leeches can be effectively presented in several ways. If you are looking for a good option, you can consider slip-sinker rigs. Investing in one can be highly rewarding.
This rig can help you easily detect the bite. To suspend the leech, you can use a floating jib or Lil Corky. The rig can be made colorful and interesting by adding jig heads or colored bids.
With this setup, you can use size 4 hooks. A size 8 hook can be used if the situation requires. The leech should be hooked to the tail sucker. Detect the target area and cast the leech. Then retrieve it slowly. Do not worry if it comes in contact with structures or weeds in the area. To attract walleye, make sure the presentation is slow.
You can also jig with leeches. With this presentation, a number 6 hook is a good choice. Throw the leech, let it go down, and then bring it up. Make sure the leech does not rise and fall at the same speed. Ideally, you should do it at varying speeds.
It is also possible to troll with leeches. For this, a leech should be combined with a single hook, and there should be a bottom bouncer. To the rigging, you can attach a 6 or 8-foot leader. Things will go smoothly if you do it with an electric trolling motor. If you want to cover more water, you can consider using in-line planer boards.
In the absence of these options, you can use the rig when trolling. Control drifting goes smoothly with it. To make the presentation successful, every step should be slow and deliberate.
Walleye Fishing in Different Seasons
Walleye do not behave the same way throughout the year. This is the case with most fish species. Each season comes with unique fishing challenges and opportunities. That is why it is good to apply different strategies in different seasons.
Walleye Fishing With Leeches in the Spring
Walleye spawn in the spring, because water temperatures rise in this season. Walleye lay their eggs in their nests close to shore. They become a bit aggressive during this time and strike at things making shore fishing a great option.
In shallow waters, you can consider using shad imitation lures or cast and retrieve methods. You will have an increased chance of catching female walleye at dusk and dawn. Using leeches can be highly rewarding.
Another method is to troll with crankbaits. This method can be helpful if you do not know the exact location of the fish. Hopefully, you will get bites in weeded areas and sandy bars.
Walleye Fishing With Leeches in the Summer
With the advent of summer, walleye go to deeper water, because water gets warm. In deep water, a vertical presentation works well so jigging is pretty effective. You can use silver jigging spoons or tail grub jigs.
A fish finder can be helpful in this season because the fish will go to deep water. In summer, trolling techniques such as planer boards, heavy bottom bouncers and deep-diving crankbaits are very useful.
You do not need to keep trolling when you find a shoal of walleye. At night, walleye often come to the shallows. In summer, walleye fishing with leeches can be a source of great joy, and all experienced anglers are familiar with this joy.
Walleye Fishing With Leeches in the Fall
It is not very easy to catch walleye during the fall. That is why anglers are often encouraged to experiment with different lures, techniques, and locations during the fall. The feeding activity of this fish slows down in this season. This is partly because this fish no longer prefers deep water as the summer ends.
No matter which fishing methods you are using, try to do everything slowly and deliberately. Make sure there is not much weight on jigs, and the jigging action is relaxed. Do not use large crankbaits. Reset the speed of your trolling motor. Slowing down will not work in some cases. You can try speeding up in such a situation. Be a bit creative and do not hesitate to try different methods.
Walleye Fishing With Leeches in the Winter
If you are living in the north, walleye fishing in the winter may simply mean ice fishing. But in this case, you will use a power or hand angler by your side. In the south, reservoirs and lakes are not covered with ice in the winter. It is a bit challenging to identify patterns during this time, and as a result, the process is much slower.
But if you have an open mind and you are willing to experiment with different methods, walleye fishing with leeches is a lot of fun. And as you gain more experience, the entire process will become a source of great joy for you.
Found in rivers, reservoirs, and lakes in Canada and the U.S., walleye is a very accessible species of fish. Whether you are a seasoned professional angler or a brand new angler, you can hope to lure this fish pretty easily. We hope you have found this article helpful and will effectively use leeches for walleye fishing.