Innovative tips for opener walleyes
Those crafty walleyes ensure that anglers pursuing them employ
crafty methods to catch them. Not coincidentally, walleye anglers
usually are on the cutting edge of what’s new in the fishing
Gone are the “good old days” when trolling around your favorite
lake with live bait produced a limit of walleyes with relative
Today, consistently putting walleyes in the boat has become a
finesse game. Anglers who stay up to speed with the most innovative
presentations catch more fish than those content fishing the same
way they did 10 years ago.
Even the most traditional and relatively simple walleye
presentations have been tweaked and refined, ultimately adding to
their fish-catching ability.
Spinner rigs are a prime example. The concept of live bait
fishing with a spinner rig is nothing new. But the components,
which comprise the actual presentation, have evolved into a
completely new category of options for walleye anglers.
To get a better understanding of the modern versions of this
presentation, look back at its primitive beginnings.
A spinner rig consists of nothing more than a piece of
monofilament line. On one end of the line, you’ll find a loop or a
swivel tied to the line on your reel.
On the business end of the rig you’ll find the spinner, a clevis
which harbors it, and several beads for spacers between the spinner
blade and the hook.
The number of beads used to separate the spinner and hook
depends on the size of the blade. The bigger the blade, the more
beads you add. You don’t want the actual spinner blade to
completely cover the hook.
Up until just a few years ago, the variations of these
components were limited. Gold and silver were about the only two
options you had for spinner blades; the beads were usually red, and
the hook was usually only available in black or gold.
By breaking down a spinner rig and looking at each part of it
individually, it’s easy to see how the entire setup has changed in
John Peterson is the president of Northland Tackle Company and a
consistent money-winner on the Professional Walleye Trail. Peterson
has seen drastic changes in the spinner rig presentation in recent
years, many of which he’s pioneered.
“The spinner rig, like most other walleye presentations, has
been refined in recent years,” Peterson said. “There have been a
lot of positive changes made to this piece of tackle.”
The changes are truly productive. It’s not just a gold spinner
and plain hook any longer. You’ll now find spinner blades in a
variety of shapes and sizes. Different color schemes and pattern
finishes on the blades have also added more life to the
Lindy Tackle Company’s Hatchet Harness, neon glow blades from
JR’s Tackle, and the holographic 3-D baitfish images on the blades
of Northland Tackle have breathed new life into the spinner rig
The clevis, which holds the blade, is now available in a
“quick-change” style. This allows the angler to change blades
without cutting the line. Pop one blade out of the clevis and pop
in a different blade.
Even the smallest component of a spinner rig the beads have gone
high tech. JR’s Tackle has a full line of neon glow beads available
this year. Not only do they glow traditional white, but you’ll also
find green glow, red glow, green glow, and blue glow beads for
This walleye season also marks the second year Northland Tackle
has been distributing its Rattle Beads. Each individual bead has
four small BB’s in it. With every revolution of the blade, the
beads give off a resounding rattle.
Beads once used as nothing more than a spacer between the blade
and hook now act as legitimate fish-attractants.
“Sometimes, new presentations are discovered out of necessity,”
Peterson said. “We had so much success in stained or dirty water
with crankbaits, it seemed only logical to try them in spinner rigs
Colored and glow hooks also have replaced black and gold hooks
on many spinner rigs marketed today.
Most importantly, these new additions will keep spinner rigs at
the top of the list as a productive walleye presentation. It can be
worked with any type of live bait, which adds to its
“A spinner rig is a classic walleye presentation,” Peterson
adds. “I don’t care where you fish walleyes in the country, spinner
rigs tipped with leeches, crawlers, or minnows are going to catch