man holds walleye on sunny day
Dave Bennett

I’ve loads of confidence in a number of baits for catching walleye, however few are in the identical league as a energetic leech for teasing bites from lock-jawed fish. Even a synthetic leech is usually a shoo-in at instances when fished on a jig or drop-shot, for example.

Right here’s a refresher on some great benefits of utilizing stay and synthetic leeches for walleye, together with some dependable techniques value having in your repertoire.

Leech season

“I exploit leeches primarily from the post-spawn interval as soon as water temps have crept up into the mid-50s, till I can’t get them anymore,” mentioned Dave Bennett, an expert fishing information on Lake of the Woods.

The cold-water intervals bookending the timeframe Bennett outlines are sometimes off limits for leeches. Frigid water makes a leech curl up on a hook and just about renders it ineffective from a fish-attraction standpoint. Past this, although, you’re good to go together with these aquatic suckers from mid- to late-spring to early fall.

Why leeches catch walleye

“Leeches are pure forage that’s plentiful in our northern Ontario lakes and a very good selection for anglers seeking to improve their odds of placing extra walleye within the boat,” mentioned Cameron Boake, an completed angler from North Bay who repeatedly makes use of leeches to idiot bottom-oriented walleye.

A leech’s pure, undulating swim is another excuse this stay bait is nearly foolproof for triggering walleye. Watching one transfer by means of the water is mesmerizing.

“Fish have a tough time saying no to leech,” Bennett mentioned. “You get a leech of their face, depart it there lengthy sufficient and a walleye goes to eat it.”

Walleye will maintain on to leeches, which Bennett says offers shoppers extra time to detect gentle bites, set hooks, and put fish within the boat.

Delicate-bait suckers

soft plastic leech bait

Delicate-bait leeches are additionally nice at fooling walleye. The three- and five-inch Berkley Gulp! Leech and Jumbo Leech are staples in my deal with bag and get used usually when walleye want further convincing.

Boake can also be a fan. “Berkley Gulp! Leeches are a steadfast go-to in terms of imitating leeches with their wonderful scent dispersion and excellent form. I usually interchange sizes till I’m able to dial-in the profile walleye favor,” he mentioned.

Different synthetic choices embrace the Lunkerhunt Leech and Northland Impluse Rig’N Leech.

Synthetic baits additionally supply sturdiness. When walleye are keyed in on a bloodsucker’s profile and wanting to eat, a rugged gentle bait will keep on the hook longer than stay bait — each a time and money-saver.

Robust to beat a leech and a jig

“I make my dwelling with a jig,” Bennett mentioned. “My prospects are going to have their greatest success price with a jig, and a leech is certainly going to get bites when walleye are fussy.”

“From the beginning of June into July, the first weapon is a leech on a 1 ⁄8-ounce jig,” Bennett mentioned. “If I discover fish extraordinarily shallow rubble the place there are plenty of snags, I could go to a 1⁄16 ounce. Or, if there’s an actual particular weed edge in 5 to 6 toes of water, I’ll throw 1 ⁄16-ounce jig on the weedbed, pull it throughout and let it sink slowly off the face of the weeds. It’s lethal.”

When walleye push out to deeper water as spring offers strategy to summer time, Bennett bumps as much as 1 ⁄4 ounce. When jigging 18 to 25 toes in windy con- ditions, a 3 ⁄8-ounce jig could also be wanted.

Sharpshooting with leeches

I’ve written beforehand in regards to the efficiency of stay bait used along side forward-facing sonar for walleye, and Boake is throughout this development. He makes use of Garmin’s LiveScope to make fast work of finding bottom-oriented walleye cruising flats, prowling factors, and referring to different buildings on Lake Temagami, Lake Nipissing, and different waters round North Bay.

“After I fish leeches, I primarily make the most of a drop-shot with a dimension 1 or 1/0 Berkley drop-shot hook with roughly a 12-inch fluorocarbon result in a tungsten weight,” he mentioned. “The dimensions of the burden relies on water present, readability, and depth.”

Utilizing a drop-shot retains the leech elevated off backside. This helps it get seen by walleye, which Boake mentioned are sometimes wanting as much as feed.

Trolling leeches

A dependable presentation is slowly dragging a leech on a floating jig head behind a strolling sinker. Pull this set-up throughout factors, sand bars, and flats, and also you’ll catch walleye in the event that they’re round.

A leech on a spinner rig is another choice. It may be fished with a bullet sinker for walleye in shallow, sparse weeds, or pulled behind a backside bouncer in deeper eventualities.

Don’t be shy about utilizing a synthetic with a bait rig. Consider it as a “Can I get away with it?” experiment. It’s positively value attempting if operating low on stay bait.

There’s quite a bit to like about leeches. Actual leeches are probably the greatest sorts of stay bait however scented soft-bait leeches will even catch loads of walleye.

Subject tip: Go synthetic when walleye are grouped with panfish, that are skilled leech thieves.

Initially printed within the Might 2023 subject of Ontario OUT of DOORS

Tim Allard 2022

Tim Allard is a full-time freelance journalist and photographer primarily based in Ottawa. He’s the creator of the multi-award successful ebook Ice-Fishing – The Final Information. Attain Tim at:

For extra fishing tales, click on right here

Click on right here for extra outdoor information



No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *