River Walleye Fishing

 Bottom Bouncers for Walleye Fishing

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Bottom Bouncers for Walleye Rigs
: We use two primary strategies, either the bottom bouncers with wire molded inside the lead or we can three way swivel.  Another technique that is effective in waters that don't have a ton of rocks is a simple sliding weight attached directly on your main line.

The rivers are bigger, wider and longer however, when walleye are being caught you'll know because every single boat on the river is located in these areas.  Fishing pressure on walleye can intensify dramatically which results in less fish to catch and people scratching their heads wondering where all the walleye have gone.

Out west the rivers run faster, deeper and oftentimes wild as hell.  We need a lot of weight to get our presentation in front of the walleye.  The bait of choice on these rivers are night crawlers. We can't use live bait therefore, we have the choice of plastics or worms.

The Columbia River presents a unique situation with all the dams.  Locals call it the main channel and a few others call it the old river bed.  We like to find bends in the river where the main channel will make a drastic turn either left or right and fish over the flats created by that turn.  These areas are littered with rocks which makes it the perfect choice for bottom bouncers.


Bottom bouncers with a wire below the weight are my favorite choice because you can bounce your bait along the bottom where the walleye are hanging out during daylight hours.  Leader length is dependent upon clarity of water and location of fish.  That wire allows your presentation to float over the rocks and if it happens to hit a rock it will hopefully bounce up and over without snagging up.

Click Image to see options and for river fishing we do use the 2 oz models.


If you would like to see the worm harnesses we put on these bottom bouncers follow this link: Walleye Fishing Worm Harness



 Bottom Bouncer Fishing Rod of Choice:  I'm not a very smart person and tried using one of my bass fishing rods to bottom bounce with.  Trust me it worked and we caught fish but my arm was tired at the end of the day.  You see, we never let our line out and then put it in the rod holders.  Bottom bouncing requires constant contact with the bottom, therefore we are always letting line out and reeling it back in.

My buddy told me about a rod he was using that really helped fight fatique and actually helped him detect bites a lot better.  I told him he was full of BS and tried it for about an hour.  I was hooked, lined and sinkered.  I went out and purchased it the next day from Bass Pro Shops.

If you are a serious walleye fisherman and you need a rod/reel combo for bottom bouncers then take a serious look at this one, I love it.

Bottom Bouncer Walleye Rigs:  most walleye fisherman prefer spinner rigs or worm harness. The leaders can range from 3.5 feet on pre-tied walleye spinner rigs purchased from a sporting goods store down to 18 inches that are pre-tied by walleye fisherman themselves.

I like to use shorter spinner rigs in stained waters or when we have a lot of snags as a result of loosing our leaders on rocks or other debris.  

Bottom Bouncers: Which Weight Should I Chose?

You always want your biat in front of walleye, however if you are always snagging up, you aren't fishing. Depending on your location you could be in rock infested waters or the wind is blowing so hard you have to run your motor faster to keep your bait in front of the walleye.

We have plenty of bottom bouncers on hand and they ranged from 4 ounces down to 1 ounce. I prefer going light but that's not always going to happen.  On the main channel with a strong current, you might be able to use 2.5 ounce bottom bouncers. In calmer waters away from the channel 1.5 or 2 ouncers work well.  

What you really want is a tick tick action instead of a draggig action that oftentimes results in some big time snags and lose of your entire setup.

How to Save Your Entire Bottom Bouncer and Walleye Worm Harness:

Let's just face it, you will lose walleye gear.  Sometimes it might just be the worm harness and if that happens be thankful.  However, here is what we always do when someone is hung up.

1.  Start the big motor
2.  Drive the boat towards the snag till we get to the opposite side
3.  Once we are on opposite side and excess line is on our reel, give it one quick pull
4.  If we are still snagged, we try the bow and arrow technique
5.  Lastly we try to get directly over it and give it a quick tug or two or three
6.  Last resort is to wrap the line around our hand and drive opposite direction until line breaks or we save something.

3 Way Swivels

These work the same way as bottom bouncers without the wire.  This can be a cheaper way to fish but ever since we switched to bottom bouncers I don't really mess with this technique anymore.  To rig these up is a simple process.

1.  Tie 3 way to main line
2.  Tie worm harness to 3 way swivel
3.  Tie a line about 12 inches below 3 way and attach lead.

The beauty of 3 way swivels is you can really calculate precisely how much weight you will need to keep the presention on the bottom with the occasional tick, tick, tick.  However, where we fish, the depth changes so much (I zig zag troll) that you will need to go heavier to match the deepest part of your troll and a lot of times, you will lose your lead weights a lot.  With wires they come off more often without having to re-tie a new worm harness.

As a sidenote:  My catch rate started to climb after I started using some of the techniques I found and studied while reading Walleye Fishing Secrets. I've used these strategies on Lake Roosevelt, Irrigon, McNary, Paterson, Crowe Butte, John Day and anywhere in-between. In fact one simple tactic I learned to hellp me catch my very first walleye in Minnesota is still used today on the Columbia River.  Walleye Fishing Secrets is a really good manual for beginners and experienced fisherman alike.

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 bottom bouncers for walleye rigs