By Dan Johnson

Keeping atop summertime walleye transitions can mean more fish on every trip, and Minnesota’s mighty Upper Red Lake offers a prime example right now.

“We’re switching over from the shallow jig bite to deeper trolling patterns,” reports Lindy pro staffer and fourth generation Red Lake walleye stalker Jonny Petrowske.

Where walleyes had recently been ravaging Lindy Jigs in as little as two feet of water, the action is now shifting offshore into depths of seven to 10 feet. “Baitfish are moving out as the water warms, and a lot of walleyes—especially the bigger fish—are following them,” he explains.

Serious sonar recon puts Petrowske on pods of active fish over sand and rubble bottoms up to four miles out, and he says subtle depth changes often hold the key to tracking down wandering ’eyes.

“Tiny little contour changes that don’t mean much on other lakes are a big deal on Red Lake,” he says. “A six-inch hump on Red can be a gold mine.”

Once over a fish-holding area, Petrowske deploys a spread of size 3 Lindy River Rockers. “These 2 3/8-inch baits are a perfect match for the forage walleyes are eating right now,” he offers, noting that shades of pink, purple and silver are top producers.

“I longline River Rockers on mono mainline down to about eight feet, but use lead-core line for deeper fish,” he adds. In either case, speeds of 2.3 to 2.5 mph are tripping walleyes’ triggers.

As for numbers of fish, Petrowske says, “Red Lake is settling into its normal summer patterns, and you can expect 30 fish running 16 to 20 inches, per day, in a boat with a couple of anglers.” While that’s routine for Red, it’s an excellent average anywhere in the Midwest.

It’s worth noting that Red Lake’s legendary northern pike are also on the bite. “I know of at least four fish over 44 inches taken last week, and the sheer number of 40s is amazing,” Petrowske says.

If you want to wrestle a gator, he recommends throwing a 3 1/8-inch, size 5 Lindy River Rocker along reed edges in shallow water. “Besides pike, you’ll also get bonus big walleyes,” he says, alluding to yet another twist in the summertime walleye plot that anglers across Lindy Land should watch as the season unfolds.