One of my favorite ways to walleye fish is to drift.
There’s nothing like it, sitting back with a warm breeze, with the quietness of nature only being disturbed by the pleasant sound of waves hitting the boat.
But I’m not alone. That’s because Walleye drift fishing is a popular pastime of many anglers, and there are some techniques that can help you with the speed and the rigs and setups, so that your fishing is even more successful.
The first aspect of drift fishing for Walleye is the speed of your boat while drift fishing. Walleyes can be a lazy breed, and if you are going too quickly then your bait will not stay on the bottom. This will cause the bait to go by the fish too fast, and the fish may just watch it go.
If there is a strong wind, it is possible to use your motor to slow down the boat, making your drift fishing more effective. This is done by back trolling, and it will return some of the boat control which the wind is taking. If you do not want to use a motor to slow down, you can tie a bucket to a rope, attach this to your boat, and then let it pull the boat to slow it down.
Windy weather is a great time for Walleye fishing and for drift fishing, and it is possible to go slow enough to drift fish for Walleye no matter how bad the wind is. Drift fishing is all about slow speeds, because Walleye do not expend energy if they do not have to. They prefer bait which is available, and by drift fishing this is what you are presenting. Many anglers take a marker buoy with them, so that they can mark areas where they got a hit and return later.
The second element in drift fishing for Walleye is the Rigs and setups used during the fishing. A live bait rig works very well for most anglers when it is used with a slip sinker.
Simply tie your hook to a test leader between two and five feet long. Now you attach a barrel swivel to the leader. Use either a Lindy or egg sinker on your main line, and place one single bead above and below the sinker, then attach it to a barrel swivel. Now you can bait your hook with a leech, night crawler, crawfish, or minnow.
The size of the weight you use in this rig should depend on the depth you want and the speed you are drift fishing at, and anywhere form one eight ounce to a whole ounce may be right for specific conditions.
If you do not want your bait to scrape along the bottom so that it does not hang up, you can use a floating jighead instead of a hook with live bait. If you are using night crawlers, you can use a worm blower, which will inject a small amount of air into the worm and keep it off the bottom. The air makes the worm float instead.
There are many rigs and setups which will work well when drift fishing. Grab one, give it a go, and put more walleye on your hook!
Andrew Martinsen is a walleye fishing fanatic. His Walleye Fishing Secrets program has helped anglers across North America catch more walleye and bigger walleye.