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Spinner Detail Leads to Success

By Eric Brandriet - June 21, 2021
There are countless ways to boat walleyes, but the traditional spinner or livebait rig probably accounts for as many as any other. They are in every walleye wrangler's arsenal and their ability to catch walleyes in every inhabited water is remarkable. Their simplicity, ability to cover water and ease of use only adds to its popularity.
Many anglers see spinners as a simple mindless rig and they certainly can be, but others that break down each component while choosing the best for current water clarity, depth and fish behavior make the spinner rig an even more effective walleye catching tool. While many anglers purchase completely tied spinner rigs, others choose to tie their own with specifically chosen components for specific reasons.


Today's spinner blades come in a variety of shapes each providing their own vibration and flash. Many are now made of materials other than metal like the poly-carbonate Northland Tackle Butterfly Blades.

While available in countless colors and patterns, it is important to match baitfish colors or present dark and light colors due to current light and water conditions. Larger blades are a great choice for bigger, more aggressive fish where often switching to a smaller Butterfly or prop style blade can entice even the most neutral of walleyes. When trolling at slower speeds, smaller blades maintain rotation easier so they make less contact with the bottom and result in less snagging.


It is important to have a good assortment of hooks in different styles, sizes and colors. The most important is to match your hooks to the livebait being presented. Octopus to slow-death to circle all have their place. Minnows/chubs and leeches are preferred on octopus style hooks where crawlers are preferred on slow-death or octopus style that can be snelled with 2 or 3 hooks. Remember it takes less force to imbed a smaller hook so using the smallest hook that an angler can get by with is good but don't overlook the potential size of walleyes in the body of water.


Like blades and hooks, beads come in many shapes, sizes and colors and add attraction to the spinner harness. Besides attraction, beads play an important role in providing space between hooks and blade allowing the clevis to spin freely. Experimenting with different color combinations or lack of can entice more walleyes.


Type of structure or lack of structure often depicts preferences in leader strength and length. Monofilament or fluorocarbon is usually preferred because of stretch and invisibility. The heavier the line, the more buoyant it will be which can be preferred when fishing over rock/weeds or waters with many pike. Leader length too should depend on spinner blade, structure fished and fish behavior. Heavier metal blades when fished on long snells can lay on bottom or snag up so lighter weight or smaller blades may be preferred. Traditionally, shorter snells are used more for aggressive walleyes whereas longer snells are preferred for more finicky or inactive fish traditionally.
Manufacturers have done a great job in incorporating the most common components in their spinner rigs but there still are times when tying rigs allows customization to better match current conditions and characteristics of water. Today's Plano Stowaways provide easy organized storage and protection of all components that play a unique and specific purpose in today's walleye spinner rigs. Paying attention to the detail of your spinner rigs will hopefully put more walleyes in your net this summer! Good Luck and have a GREAT SPINNER SEASON!

Gear Used

Eric Brandriet
Eric Brandriet, a USCG licensed captain, is part owner/operator of Dakota Prairie Angling LLC, offering year-round guided trips on SD Glacial Lakes and summer trips on Lake Oahe. When not on the water or ice, he enjoys sharing his knowledge through fishing seminars, articles and blogs. Learn more by visiting
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