As we head into midsummer, there are lots of clues that gamefish can give you if you know what you are looking for. Walleyes especially have a multitude of food sources during the summer months and monitoring your livewell will tell you what they have been feeding on and will clue you in on how you should amend your presentations to basically “match the hatch.”
1.) Crayfish Parts
Often walleyes, northern pike and largemouth bass will expel their food into your livewell and give you a clue to what they are feeding on. Crayfish are very common at this time of the summer, and if they are feeding on them, you will see little pink crayfish parts burped up in the livewell. This is a clue to what your presentation should be such as crayfish-colored jigs and crankbaits.
2.) Sunfish and Crappies
Larger walleyes and pike often expel large bluegills and small crappies throughout the summer months. They often have a smorgasbord of minnow sources and have many opportunities to feed on many species as the minnow hatches are now complete.
If I spot a burped-up sunfish in the livewell, I switch over to a bait that resembles a sunfish like an orange-colored minnow bait or shad-style bait. Many times they expel fathead minnows and even shiner minnows, which again gives you a clue to what you should be offering.
The trick is to duplicate the prey they have been feeding on and your livewell can give you those clues.
Blood leeches are a common food during August, and if you find a burped-up blood leech, than you know it’s time to switch over to a jig-n-leech or livebait rig with a lone leech.
It’s all about recognizing the clues to success and making the adjustment!
Steve Carney is a Minnesota fishing guide, outdoor writer and guest speaker.