It's Time For A Change

By Scott Ehricke - August 1, 2009
Well, here we are at the month of August and most of you are probably scratching your heads and wondering why you are not catching as many walleyes as you did in May, June, and July. The fish have not gone away, they have not all been caught, they are there, and you just need to make some changes. There are several reasons for this and I am going to try and explain what we do a little different in the month of August to get more walleyes out of the lake and into our box.

One of the biggest problems I notice when heading out to Lake Winnebago with my clients or friends, is that people have the tendency to fish memories. What I mean by this is that because you went to a certain spot earlier in the year or in years past, you think the fish will automatically be there. This is not the case. The fish will move wherever the baitfish go and you need to be on the hunt for them. Try new locations, look for different structure, try a new method, but do not just go back to your favorite place and sit there all day and catch nothing. We typically will jig a reef for about ½ an hour and if we are not on fish we will bounce from reef to reef looking for them. There are times, especially this time of year, when I will just go out and look for new places to fish. You need to do this to be more productive.

The second thing that really comes to mind, is when I am launching or loading the boat and I have the chance to see what other people are using for baits on their trolling gear. I notice that they are still running a lot of smaller #4 and #5 sized baits. The baitfish have grown up as the season has progressed and you need to now change to some bigger profile baits such as #7 Shad Raps, #7 Flicker shads, larger Live Target Lures, and so forth. I like to run a lot of crawler harnesses in my boat, but this time of year, we really only run Scootchie Rigs. These run the same as a harness, but have the added kick of a squid bait at the end, thus creating a larger profile bait. You run Scootchie Rigs the exact same way as a standard crawler harness and they will out fish a harness about 3 to 1. Choosing the correct type of lure is very important also. I get asked almost daily on what is my favorite color of lure, or what is my favorite overall bait. The truth is, I like to use whatever is working that day. In August I have noticed over the past few years that baits with rattles work real well. Typically, Lake Winnebago is real green this time of year and the rattling action of crank baits is what really triggers the fish. Rattle or noise is the most important feature to me, and then vibration, flash and finally color. I do use the weather to help me choose the color of baits. If it is sunny outside I use baits that are metallic colored. These are designed to reflect light and can only do so when the sun is real bright. On overcast or rainy days, I like to choose baits that are more naturally colored such as baby bass, walleye or perch colored.

The third thing I notice when talking to people at the boat landings, through E-mails, websites or the phone is that they are telling me that they are on good fish but the fish keep biting them off. Maybe it is time for you to change your line. You probably have been using the same line since the ice went out in April and this line has gone through all different types of weather. It has seen cold days, hot days, rainy weather, been sitting around in your boat in the garage, basically it has been decomposing all summer. I suggest changing your line now. I run Vicious fishing line all the time. I use 8 lb. Ultimate for jigging and 10 lb. Ultimate for trolling. It is great line and has low memory and is very cost effective.

One of the other things I notice in today's society is how much we really lean on the Internet to fish. Almost all of us check out the message boards, forums and various websites about walleye fishing on a daily basis. There is always good information on a lot of them and there also is some not so good information. Do not rely on what you read on the Internet as a way to determine where or how you are going to fish. Go fishing and then you will know what is happening. Start a logbook and keep track of what and where you fished and how you did. After several years, you will really begin to see a pattern and then you have your own message board or forum to rely on. Your Grandpa never had the Internet and he caught fish and maybe he even taught you how to fish without the Internet.

Overall, august is a tough month to fish, and has been known as "The dog days of summer", but if you use a few tips from above, you just might improve your catch dramatically. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have and remember to always take a kid fishing.

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Author Scott Ehricke
Scott Ehricke
Scott "Axl" Ehricke owns and operates Winnebago Fishing Guide Service. He is a noted seminar speaker, radio show host, and has appeared in several TV segments and magazine articles across the country. He specializes in walleyes on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. Sponsors include; Lakemaster Maps, Okuma Fishing, Vicious Fishing Line, Mercury Marine, Kopper's Live Target Lures and Truckin’ America. For more information, please visit www.winnebagofishing.com