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Trolling Lake Winnebago

7/21/19 @ 10:20 PM
The Nenska
User since 7/21/19

After many years of unsuccessfully fishing Lake Winnebago, I'm looking for help. My home port is Calumet Harbor on the east side of the lake and every Regular I talk to seems to have the lake figured out. I read on lake-link about the walleyes others catch and I know I'm doing something wrong.

This is my first season attempting trolling, other than past attempts by cluelessly and without conviction, dragging a crank bait behind my boat. I have four planer boards and I'm beginning to be very comfortable with them. I understand working different depths of the lake--my outside board has a 2'-6' diver, my middle board has a 6'-12' diver and I'll drag rippin' raps straight out behind the boat. The only thing hitting is white bass on the rippin' raps and after hours of no walleyes, I just put rippin' raps on all boards. 

I had some success with walleyes in June on the east side but never my daily bag limit and it wasn't because I knew what I was doing. 

Everyone I talk to says that the walleyes are on the mud flats in summer. 

Where do the mud flats begin? My understanding is that the mud flats can be anywhere from 14' to 19' or deeper in the middle of the lake.

How do you target fish on the mud flats? I've trolled what I've understood to be the mud flats and it's a ghost town on the fish finder and a bunch of ghosts on my lures. 

A lot of people I've talked to who launch from Calumet Harbor say that they go north. Is there really no walleye action near Cal Harbor? How far north of Calumet Harbor do I need to go to find consistent action?

Is the east side of the lake even worth the time? My favorite perch spot is Abraham's reef on the west side and I understand the structure that's on the west side and what role that structure plays for all the fish in the lake. I trolled by that structure today in the mud flats with nothing but ghosts on my line. 

Does the choppiness of the lake determine where the fish will be? I understand that when it's choppy, the fish will seek the wind-blown side of structure. Even that doesn't work for me. If the lake is glass, where do I look for walleyes?

I have a million more questions, but hopefully someone can answer some of these initial ones.

Many thanks,

-The Nenska

2/26/20 @ 10:25 PM
Fish Hound
User since 1/29/02

I'm glad you feel that way, I do not.

2/26/20 @ 8:30 PM
User since 10/10/17

Fish Hound.....why would you change the limits on Green Bay?  

If the fish are there.....and there are a ton of good sized fish on Green Bay.....I think 5 keepers is appropriate.  The population is lower than the Saginaw Bay, and the size is better on Green Bay.  I think the current # of walleye kept each year is appropriate.  

2/26/20 @ 1:19 PM
Paranoid Percher
User since 8/19/18

Fishhound I agree i do the same I  hate cleaning fish

2/26/20 @ 12:39 PM
Fish Hound
User since 1/29/02

Paranoid Percher, I know it's a crazy idea but how about catch and release. Have fun catching fish and at the end, if you want, take your three fish home.

Sure hope the WDNR does something soon for the Bay as well.

2/26/20 @ 12:30 PM
User since 2/8/05

I usually fish the west shore... and can do the trolling thing.... but tend to cast cranks far more often.  Best days are with a decent chop crashing into shore.  Find the rocks and it is usually great fishing.  If trolling, always try running at least one bait up high.  Less sheep... and at times the best line for walleye of the three.

2/26/20 @ 8:55 AM
Paranoid Percher
User since 8/19/18

wont matter what or how you troll after April 1st only 3 eyes by the time you get a program going you will have a limit see you boys in Green Bay

2/25/20 @ 9:23 PM
User since 10/10/17

Thanks for restarting this thread Surf.  

Another comment on crankbait running speeds.  Let about 5 feet out and watch your crankbait's action on the side of the boat per speed you are trolling.  Check it out per 0.1 mph on your GPS.  You should pick the speed(s) that give the best action.  That might be exactly 1.3 mph, 1.8 mph, and 2.4 mph.  

2/25/20 @ 9:04 PM
User since 12/26/07

1) If you can swing it get the Precision Trolling Data app for your smartphone.  I got it last summer and love it.

2) Line counter reels are invaluable, but they must be calibrated so the footage of line out is dead on.  Takes some time to calibrate 6 of them, but it's darn nice knowing almost exactly where your bait is running, for depth.  The line out footage is measured from where the line actually enters the water, not the rod tip.  See Youtube for some tips on calibrating LC's.

12/1/19 @ 11:46 PM
User since 6/29/01

On Bago the east shore is good in june with sw and w winds.  Troll shoreline areas from 5 to 9 fow with rock that usually ends at around 6ft.  Size 5 shad raps and flicker shads are good at about 2 to 2.5 mph.  Size 7 CD rapalas at 2.4 to 3 mph are good too.  If the weather then turns hot, muggy, and flat calm move out over the mud 12+ fow.  Same baits in the top 7 fow will catch the active biters.  If the mud bite is on there will be plenty of boats in areas with active fish.  

8/15/19 @ 11:22 PM
The Nenska
User since 7/21/19

Thanks again, I have gained a lot of perspective from reading all of your posts.

Does anyone use snap weights when trolling? If so, how many oz, how far back, how does that affect my crank?

Is anyone using salmo hornets instead of stick baits?

What size?

What size stick baits are you using?

Do you use different sizes throughout the year; i.e., size 5 in spring and size 9 in fall?

As far as fishing club goes, I want this thread to be my fishing club. You guys have been great.

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