Top early season baits and lures
Here's a quick rundown of what I'll have in my arsenal for fishing walleyes in May and June. My top presentations include: jig and minnow, live bait rigs, three-ways, a Guppy weight system, and crankbaits. Now, allow me to elaborate on some of these techniques.
Crankbaits are an underused option, but more productive than many people realize. In colder water temperatures, plan on a slower, more deliberate type of presentation. It's kicker motor time, and stick with smaller lures, perhaps those with a more subtle vibration
When we're talking jigs, this again depends on water temperatures, but I'll stick with a plain, short-shanked jig with a minnow. Vary the size of minnows. If water temperatures warm up, use larger minnows and maybe add some dressing.
The whole time I'm on the water, I'm relating to weather and activity level of fish. Many fish won't readily bite leeches. But if water temperatures reach the mid-50s, I'll definitely use leeches. We tend to use jumbo leeches, but medium leeches will be productive. That smaller profile is good.
In the evening, consider long-line trolling the shallows with crankbaits. We tend to think of long and slim crankbaits for walleyes, but that's not always true. I've had good luck casting or trolling Shad Raps.
Also, when trolling with cranks, we should troll in an S-pattern, vary our speed, and occasionally take the rod tip and pull forward. (This style works with multiple species, including lake trout and pike or muskies.) Don't just drag it behind the boat; do an occasional pump-pause, too.
When live-bait rigging, change your bait up and hook it through the tail. Simple changes like this can make a big difference.
Finally, when jigging, everyone works a lift-drop method. That's fine, but sometimes bring it up and hold. Your minnow is attractor and trigger; the jig is just the mechanism for moving it. So use a just-heavy-enough jig to contact the bottom and keep it vertical, and no heavier!