The bottom-walker trolling setup is without a doubt one of the most popular and effective rigs used to target walleye. Whether you are a midwest angler, fishing Minnesota, Wisconsin and Lake Erie tributaries, or a Pacific Northwest Walleye Hound you'll find this rig is highly applicable.
In the videos below we go over a number of factors for setting up for Walleye trolling. We focus on the bottom-walker technique as this is an excellent way to start fishing walleye, and certain times of year will get you the most bites.
To learn how to rig the bottom-walker setup, watch this tutorial with TJ Hester below. Willamette River fisherman in Oregon can utilize this rig to target trophy walleye. This rig is very popular in fisheries like the Columbia River and can be used on the Detroit River and beyond.
Learn How-To Rig for Walleye Trolling
After you've setup for trolling, you can either add bait like an earthworm (hence the "worm-harness" name) or you can utilize a technique that we use in the Columbia River in cold water. Try an artificial minnow or grub tail off of the back for a nice action and contrasting color. View the video below:
Tipping Bottom-Walkers with Artificials
Once you've setup for bottom walkers, you must get your gear down to the bottom to properly present your lure/bait. This isn't necessarily as easy as it sounds especially in deep water. In the video below, TJ shows how to find the bottom and then walk your weight back to find "true bottom." This helps you to tick the bottom and get the most out of your baits.
Scent on Artificial Tip: Adding scent to your artificial lures allows a scent trail to attract Walleye from farther distances. Pro-Cure Trophy Walleye scent works excellent for this purpose.
Finding "True Bottom"
Now that you're rigged and on the bottom, the fun begins! This is where targeting the right water becomes your focus. Remember, the walleye bite may be subtle so you must pay very close attention to your rod.
Walleye Trolling Gear
Casting rods from 6'6 to 9'6 are best that can handle enough weight for your particular fishery. Even though a rod may say 1/4 - 5/8oz it might troll very well with 3-4 oz. We often even use our steelhead casting rods to do this technique in the Columbia River.
Line-counter reels are best in this situation as it provides a good read on your lure. This allows you to numerically reference your multiple rod setups.
Braided line is best for having a instant connection to your rig. We prefer to use P-Line for Braid and Flouro.
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