|Casting crankbaits for walleyes is an underused technique
that combines flash, vibration, profile, snag resistance, and controlled running depth.
They're ideal for covering water quickly, either casting or trolling.
The best walleye
crankbaits tend to be either long and thin, imitating forage like smelt or shiners, or
shad-shaped, resembling shad or perch. They present a rolling wobble, not the
hard-thumping action and vibration common to the short round-bodied crankbaits popular for
Natural silver or perch patterns tend to predominate for walleyes, particularly in
clear water. To increase visibility in dingy water, experiment with fluorescent colors
like chartreuse or orange.
Other than color, the most important crankbait feature is controlled running depth.
Floating-diving lures made of wood, hollow plastic, or injected foam tend to run at a
distinct depth depending on bill size, shape, and angle. Shallow runners have small
squarish lips and run 1 to 3 ffeet deep. Deep divers provide a side-to-side wobble. Their
large oval lips force the lure down. Depths from 2 to 12 feet are generally maximum
running depths under optimum conditions--long casts on light lline with a steady retrieve.
In clear, shallow water, fish during low-light perids of morning or evening, at night,
or during windy or cloudy days. In dingy or dark water, active walleyes may be in water 8
ft deep or less. In prairie lakes, wind-whipped reservoirs, natural lakes, or small
impoundments with a bit of drainage color, walleyes often are shallow during daylight. In
shallow water, where fish are easily spooked by noise overhead, try casting ahead of the