I headed north west to fish the Connecticut River specifically for walleye. I wanted some to eat, since the last trip produced zero walleye, but I also wanted to try to add walleye to the list of species caught on my new signature series lure...the Whisperer. I got on the water at 5:30am and immediately went to work trying to put walleye on the stringer.The wind was flat calm and the skies were cloudy and overcast. The flow on the river was so low I had to strain to see if it was even moving at times.
My first technique was to use a two-ounce bottom bouncer rig with an orange floating crawler harness tipped with a dillie (short crawler.) The key when using bottom bouncers for walleye is to troll as slow as you can, keep the line coming off the rod at a 90 degree angle, and make sure you can see or feel the rod tip bouncing. If the tip isn't bouncing, the bottom bouncer isn't on the bottom where it should be. I was fishing as close to well defined break lines as I could get. I can usually see where that is, but since the weeds are still low I used my Sonarphone T-Pod to locate breaks. I began targeting water in the low teens for depth and planned to move deeper as the day progressed. Knowing that walleye will often move up into setbacks to feed at night I made sure I was paying attention as I trolled passed the mouths and it paid off. I landed two walleye (one nice keeper and one that had to be released) doing this and they were both in front of a setback. I landed a dandy yellow perch, but as the sun rose (behind the clouds) the action slowed down.
I made th decision to switch to the Whisperer lure and move to sunken structure in deeper water. Rivers like the CT are full of submerged wood and that makes a great place to find summertime walleye. It's still a bit early, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway. After some doing I did manage one walleye on my Whisperer lure, but it was 17" and had to be released (all walleye 16" - 18" must be released in the CT River) so a quick pick and off it went.
As the morning progressed I decided to switch to the old faithful 1/4 ounce jig head tipped with a dillie which landed me several rock bass and yellow perch, but no walleye. As I drifted by a setback that I knew held northern pike I decided to switch it up and try for a few pike. Well, a few pike turned into 20 pike nd before I knew it 1pm turned into 6pm and it was about time to leave. All of the pike I caught came on the Whisperer lure. I fished it sort of Texas rigged, but with the hook point exposed and with no weight. With a steel leader it sank just enough to keep it slightly below the surface, but still allowed me to twitch the bit with great action. If the pike were there, they ate my lure. I was finding them in 2' - 3' of water, but only where there was at least some weed growth, even if it was still below the surface. As long as the weeds were there, so were the pike. They didn't just crawl onto it either. They crushed it with a vengeance! I didn't land any huge pike, but I got a few respectable fish and I was happy with numbers rather than size for this trip.
I'm really getting comfortable on my new Predator kayak and fished standing for a while for the first time which gave me a huge advantage on the flats since I was able to sight-fish much of the time. It proved to be extremely effective and fun for targeting pike on the flats. I had the cameras running almost the entire time and got what I think will be some great footage for my next TMO TV episode. This was a very fun and educational trip for me, but I have had my fill of numbers of fish. My next goal is to find some big pike for the cameras.