Deep Water Walleye Fishing Tips from Professional Angler Pat Slater
By Matt Schauer

Posted: September 12, 2012


Seems the entire west is on fire, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved fighting the blazes and those adversely affected. I hope the cooler temperatures help everyone!

A couple weeks ago, I fished, with a close friend, Boysen Reservoir. We tried something I hadn’t done before, fishing deep water for walleyes.

How deep is deep? Try 60 to 65 feet!

An important detail to know up front is any walleyes caught from this depth should be harvested for the table. Bringing a fish up quickly from any depth over 20 to 30 feet will cause the air in its’ system to expand and cause tissue damage. I know of no scientific studies which have detailed the effects on walleyes caught in deep water and then released, but experience and logic tells me the survival rate would probably be minimal. Our own test with clip weights and a constant flow of fresh water in the live well yeilded about 50% mortality by the end of the afternoon.

We fished with line counter reels and 3 oz. bottom bouncer weights, crawler harnesses and Mack’s Lure “Smile Blade-Slo Death” rigs with good success. Lost a few rigs between the two of us, but it was fun learning something new. We would run the rigs just above the tree tops (about 30 feet down and right near the bottom) picking up bites on both levels. Once again, the line counter reels allowed us to duplicate our distance from the boat.  This kept our baits in the zone where we got strikes and helped reduce the number of snags. Boat speed was just fast enough to spin the “Smile Blades” and “Slow Death” hooks.

Try something new next time you hit the water, get outside your confort zone, as they say, and you might surprise yourself. I hope you will practice selective harvest, so we’ll all have fish to go after in the future!

Til next time….Be Smart and Be Safe!


This post was provided by Pat Slater, Pro Staff: Mack’s Lure & Ranger Boats

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