Dealing with Dirty Water

By Lance Valentine

In the past we have talked about finding the “right” water color and clarity every day, focusing on avoiding dirty water, especially when the water is cold. But, as anyone who fishes in the early spring knows, sometimes dirty water is all we can find. If that happens, don’t get discouraged.

Dirty water is a challenge, especially for walleye, because most fish need to see a lure before they hit it. Obviously dirty water makes that tough. When faced with dirty water I start with two adjustments that have proven to help me catch a few extra fish in dirty water over the years.

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First, I add scent to any lure or live bait I am using. A commercial scent product (my favorite is Pro-Cure bait scents), helps fish find your lure from a distance. Smell is the most dominant sense in most fish and is the sense that is “triggered” from the furthest distance away. Don’t be afraid to put more scent on than you think is right…too much is better than not enough! In dirty water I like “stinky” scents. Two of my favorites from Pro-Cure are Garlic Night Crawler and Trophy Walleye Super Gels. Don’t be afraid to add scent to live bait also, the extra stink is an advantage.

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Second, I pick lures that have a low frequency sound. Low frequency sounds are picked up by the lateral line of fish and are picked up from a good distance. Low Frequency will alert fish that something is in the area and can often get fish looking at your lure that would otherwise not even now your lure was there. A single (or 2) large ball bearings create the desired low frequency sound. Shake a lure, and if it makes a “thud, thud” sound it is creating low frequency sound. Plastic baits usually have better sound production and amplification than wood baits, so consider that when stocking your spring crankbait box.

Dirty water can be a challenge. But, appeal to a fishes most sensitive senses, smell and vibration, and your success in dirty water will start to increase.

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