Gamefish on the Edge


As summer progresses, gamefish gather along the edges including walleyes, bass, panfish, pike, muskies and others. On natural lakes, my favorite areas now are where there are changes in depth and bottom content along with quick transitions from weeds to open water. On some larger lakes like Minnesota’s Mille Lacs, subtler edges are key, especially the ones that have hard to soft mud.

In general, the sharper or more dramatic the change, the more fish you’ll find confined to a narrower area. That’s why steep breaks, well-defined content transitions and weed walls are all easier to fish than areas with gradual tapers and scraggly, drawn-out weed edges.

Lake maps are great tools for finding such strike zones, particularly depth changes. Remember, the closer the contour lines the more distinct the drop is. Side-scanning sonar and polarized glasses help pinpoint prime weedlines, and down-scanning sonar and sensitive sinkers highlight variations in bottom composition.

For example, an ultra-sensitive, sliding Slick-Stick Bottom Bouncer transmits bottom information, revealing whether I’m over rock, sand or mud. Another plus is that by paying attention to sonar returns as I tap different bottom types, I can then better interpret what my electronics are trying to tell me.

You can be among the first to get the latest info on where to go, what to use and how to use it!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

When you do find a promising edge, choose a presentation that matches the conditions at hand and mood of the species you’re after. When fish cruise up and down along an edge, mobile tactics like trolling and casting often outproduce more sedentary strategies such as vertical jigging or slip-bobbering.

One of my favorite all-around techniques for finding and catching late-summer walleyes scattered along a productive edge is pulling a Northland’s Float’N Crawler Hauler. Rigged with half a nightcrawler, it produces a Slow Death rig-style spinning motion that mimics dying baitfish.

Finally, while the snag-resistant Slick-Stick excels on a variety of bottoms, I switch to fixed L-arm bottom bouncers like the Rock-Runner when fishing weed edges. These push light vegetation out of the way to create a trail for the rig to follow.