Lindy Fishing Tackle’s iconic Lindy Rig works equally well with leeches, nightcrawlers and minnows. However, all three choices don’t produce equal results always.

A variety of factors influence which type of live bait is best on any given fishing trip, including the forage base, mood of the fish and environmental conditions.

“Determining the best bait to Lindy Rig on any given fishing trip can mean the difference between catching 20 walleyes or putting just a few fish in the boat,” said longtime guide and Lindy Fish ED TV host Jon Thelen.

He experiments with all three options, but said minnows tend to excel in cool water. Leeches become more effective in late spring—typically from late May into June in the Upper Midwest — and crawlers come into their own shortly after. “Minnows become a factor again later in the season,” Thelen added.

To help anglers match hook size to their bait of choice, Lindy Rigs are available with either a leech-crawler hook or minnow hook. “Having an appropriately sized hook is extremely important, Thelen said, citing improved bait action and hooking percentages as just two of the benefits.

If you’re in a knot about when to Lindy Rig versus other presentations, Thelen says the time-tested rig is a fish catcher all season long. “It’s a great choice early in the year when water temperatures are cool, and whenever fishing is tough, such as after a cold front blows through,” he said. “But Lindy Rigging is deadly spring, summer and fall in a variety of situations.”

One summertime scenario is picking apart mid-lake structure, such as a reef that has a steep drop-off on one side and a feeding shelf on the other.

“The walleyes are going to be on one side or the other,” said Thelen. “With a Lindy Rig, I can catch them on either side — all day long.”