As water temperatures increase, it’s time to crank it up!
What do you mean crank it up? Well, I’m here to tell you that we are about to embark on my favorite part of the year, which is pulling crankbaits for multi-species action.
Anyone can do it, and it's a great way to introduce kids into the sport of fishing. Pike, walleyes, bass, and panfish are all hungry. This crankbait period can last all the way to Labor Day, depending on the lake.
During the day, crankbaits work well on windblown weed edges. The wind drives the entire food chain to the windy side of bays and lakes, which creates a concentration of bait and fish.
When you encounter a windblown weed edge, determine the maximum depth that weeds grow, and that is your target trolling depth. The target trolling depth will change from lake to lake and time of year. Choose crankbaits that dive two to five feet above the bottom. If the weed edge is 13 feet, on the inside (shallow) rod, select a crankbait that dives around eight feet. On the outside rod, choose a crankbait that dives to about 11 feet. An ideal speed to troll varies from 1.8 to 2.5 mph. Weather will determine your trolling speed; go slower during a cool weather trend and faster during warm periods.
Selecting the color of the lure is dependent on water clarity. Classifying the lake into either clear or dingy water keeps it simple. In clear water, a natural color pattern is a good bet. Fish have great eyesight, so in that scenario you want to mimic the bait fish. The opposite holds true for dingy water. This situation calls for bright colors. The exotic colors “pop” in the dirtier water, creating a halo effect for fish to key in on. There are exceptions to this rule, just like in all things fishing.
Some colors work great in both situations like white, classic black/silver or firetiger. The old wive’s tale is you can use any color you want as long it’s firetiger. Don't overthink it though, fishing should be laid back, fun and a great stress reliever. There is not one “catch-all” crankbait. The most important thing is the depth your crankbait dives. The second thing is the trolling speed and lastly is the color of the crankbait.
Remember, the depth the lure runs is far more important, so let the weed edge tell you what crankbait to use. Good choices during this period are Berkley Flicker Minnows and Shads, Storm Deep and Original Thundersticks and Rapala Shad Raps.This tactic works great for exploring a new lake as well as producing bigger fish. Head out and give it a try. Fish love crankbaits!
Lee Skajewski is owner of Skiez Outdoors Guide Service.