Recently a reader asked what walleye baits I recommend for three-way swivel rigs. A logical follow-up question is: How long should my leaders and dropper lines be? Here’s my response to both facets of this important fishing quandary.
Use crankbaits, leeches, minnows and nightcrawlers. Generally, stick with leeches and minnows for early season walleyes, then crawlers and leeches in the summer. Crankbaits will produce throughout the open-water season.
Standard leader length is 5 feet of 8-pound-test for cranks and live bait. Go longer if you’re encountering a spooky bite. Experiment! Dropper lengths can run anywhere from 10 inches to 4 feet depending on where walleyes stage in the water column. We’ll cover weights and rods in our next tip!
Baitcasting reels with free spool release are key to being efficient here. We can follow contour depths simply by releasing the thumb bar. Medium-fast rods running 7 to 7-1/2 feet spread baits or lures away from the boat and maintain tension on hooked fish.
Apply constant tension via the midsection to keep the rod from unloading and losing the fish. Your bell sinker weight should contact bottom only – not too heavy or too light. Contours are extremely easy to follow because of vertical presentation with lures and baits.
Of course, speed and depth control are critical, too. Now, enjoy June walleye angling!