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Walleye spinner basics - guaranteed to get a strike

This is my favorite spinner combination. It uses white, chartreuse and red beads and a #4 silver Indiana blade. (Gary Korsgaden / For the Enterprise)

Started as a simple live-bait rig, it now comes in countless forms and can be trolled with just about any system. Consider it a live bait rig with flash. Changing the components makes it the most versatile live bait presentations available. Spinners produce throughout the season with attention to speed and depth.

Favorite blade styles... first the Colorado, the most popular blade used by walleye fisherman. Its semi-round shape puts out a lot of flash and a lot of vibration with very little speed for it to spin. Its deep cup design has a slightly turned up edge that helps it turn at slower speeds.

Second, the Indiana blade, a more elongated design makes it the go toblade for faster speeds as it won’t “spin out”as easily as the Colorado will. The third is a smile blade. The blade shape and it lightness allows it to be trolled at slower speeds particular with the “popular slow death”method which uses a part of a crawler to spin behind the blade.

Contrast makes a lure more noticeable to the fish. With spinners, this can be accomplished by bead patterns and multi-color blades. For our waters I prefer 3-5 mm beads with #4 and smaller Indiana blade. I tie my own spinners on five foot 20# flurocarbon leader with two #4 octopus-style hooks snelled 2.5 inches apart for night-crawlers and a single hook for leeches or minnows.

Keep in mind the spinner is always moving. They garner a lot of hardware and trigger strikes. Consequently, light line won’t gain you any more bites. I prefer flurocarbon leaders as it it is abrasion resistant, less visible and it is stiffer then standard monofilament lines. Stiffer lines tangle less and are easier to unsnarl when they do.

Trolling speed is best charted by water temperatures. Early to mid-spring 40-45 degrees 0.8 to 1.2 mph; late spring to early summer 45-55 degrees 1.5 to 2.5 mph; mid-summer 55-78 degrees 1.5 to 2.5 mph, late summer to early fall 65-55 degrees .5 to 1.6 mph; late fall 55-45 degrees 1 to 1.5 mph.

I string together my bead patterns ending with a quick change clevis on a 6” piece of inexpensive 20# monofilament line looped with a knot on one end and a safety pin on the other to prevent beads from coming off, allowing storage of multiple patterns on one safety pin. Attached to a 5-foot swim noodle are my pre-tied snells for storage . in my rod locker.

To make a spinner, I remove a bead pattern from the safety pin placing the end of the leader through the loop and pull the beads and clevis onto the leader. I tie fresh leaders throughout the year as needed and the bead patterns can be stored from season to season.

Spinners can be delivered with a variety of methods including bottom bouncers, pencil sinkers or live bait sinkers.