Spinner rigs are versatile and we can use them to catch walleyes in a wide variety of depths. Here are a couple tips to catch more fish when targeting walleyes in shallow water. I like to fish as close to the boat as possible, but still remain successful. When fishing dirty or stained water or in windy conditions, you often can troll straight down without an issue, but clear, shallow water can make it challenging to consistently catch fish near the boat.
When trolling spinner rigs, many anglers use bottom bouncers and just release line until they hit bottom and start trolling. This works better in deeper depths, but when fishing shallow water you usually have some kind of vegetation on the bottom. If you drop your weight and spinner to the bottom it will often get fouled by weeds or other debris before you have even started to move. Avoid this is by casting out your spinner rig as you troll.
I use a 1/4- to 3/8-ounce inline slip sinker with a spinner rig on about a 3-foot snell. While trolling at about 1 mph I cast back about 30 to 40 yards. When your lure is still in the air and reaches the right distance, place some resistance on your line to slow the sinker – thus allowing the spinner rig to pass up the sinker. Slowing the line towards the end of your cast will reduce tangles and the spinner rig will drop towards the bottom in line with your sinker. Adjust your speed to keep your offering just above bottom to reduce fouling your spinner and hooks with weeds.
Another way to get away from the boat is by using longer rods (7 to 10 feet or longer) to move farther away and reduce spooking fish as you troll past. Some anglers use planer boards, but in shallow water you’ll often spend more time clearing your lines from weeds than actual fishing. More time in the water means better chances of catching fish.
Stay safe and good luck fishing!