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Exploring Shallow Devils Lake Walleyes with Shallow Running Crankbaits

Exploring Shallow Devils Lake Walleyes with Shallow Running Crankbaits

by Jason Mitchell

Walleye anglers have long loved crankbaits especially while fishing Devils Lake. There are several opportunities where anglers can cast crankbaits and catch fish. Once again, especially while fishing Devils Lake focusing on shallow water often 7 feet and less.

Casting crankbaits is predominately a shallow water affair for fishing in less than seven feet of water and many shallow bites often can often occur in water depths as little as three feet.

Classic crankbait casting strategies often involve positioning the boat in deeper water and casting toward shallower water. When fish are hanging off weed line edges or rock, this deep to shallow water casting angle can be very productive. Windblown shorelines are a classic example where anglers can cast in towards shallower water and catch aggressive fish that are positioned high up on the spot.

So often during strong winds, fish will position themselves just under the underflow current which is created by current pushing back off the shoreline where fish are positioned often with their eyes facing toward the bank and into the current.

Casting crankbaits is one of the most productive and safest ways to reach these shallow fish.

What I love to do when I have a general location narrowed down in shallow water, if the fish are a touch deeper, but holding along a defined shallow break-line is nose the front of the boat up to where the fish are holding and cast ahead of the boat where the lure follows the break line and stays in the productive zone longer.

In shallow and clear water, you will bump some fish from below the boat as you move along. The big advantage however, is that you fish the water before the boat passes over fish and you can keep the lure in their strike zone for a larger percentage of each cast.

If there is a mistake that many anglers make when casting crankbaits, it seems like so many anglers use too stiff of a rod. My favorite action in a crank casting rod is a seven-foot medium-light action spinning rod. A faster medium-light action is typically required because crankbaits have small treble hooks and the fish typically strike and fight hard.

A lighter action rod paired up with ten-pound braid has the right flex for whipping lighter lures further and cushions runs where hooks don’t tear out of a fishes mouth so easily.

A good live bait rigging rod action is also typically a good crank casting rod.

Off shore reefs, wind blow shorelines, shallow weed line edges and shallow sand flats are all prime locations where casting crankbaits can shine.  Whenever you need pinpoint accuracy and want to thoroughly cover a distinct location where there is a higher percentage spot on the spot, casting crankbaits will often out produce trolling crankbaits.

As more anglers are discovering, casting crankbaits is a productive tactic than is well known to produce the fish of Devils Lake during the entire open water fishing season. •


Jason Mitchell Outdoors Television airs weekly on Fox Sports North at 9:00 am Sundays.  More information can be found at

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