Crankbaits are often pigeon-holed as warm-water walleye weapons, but Lindy guide Jim Klages is trolling up walleyes and saugers right now on Lake Francis Case, and is quick to share a pattern you can use elsewhere in Lindy Land.

“The fish had been hitting jigs up on the flats in 10 to 14 feet of water, but when the weather cooled and the Corps of Engineers stopped releasing water, the bite shifted to crankbaits along the channel edge,” he reported.

Right now, with surface water temperatures fluctuating from the upper 30s to near 50, Klages is pulling Lindy Wally Demons on lead-core line along the break.

Speeds range from 1.2 to 2.4 mph, depending on the current. “If you pay attention, a Wally Demon will tell you when you’re going the perfect speed because the rodtip buzzes just the right amount,” he said.

His hot lure colors have been Pearl Red Head in all water conditions and Gold Perch in stained water.

Klages says fish from 17 to 19 inches have been smacking the baits with a vengeance. “The fish are either hooked with both trebles or have the bait in their throat,” he said. “They’ve never seen a Wally Demon before and really like to hit ’em.”

As the water warms and hungry fish move back onto the flats, Klages expects the jig bite to pick up again. “The last 10 days before the spawn are typically really good for pitching jigs,” he said.  

To tap that bite, he hooks a minnow on a ¼-ounce Lindy Jig and swims it slowly along the bottom. Hooking depends on the fish’s activity level. Aggressive biters call for skull-hooking or running the hook in the mouth and out the back, while lip-hooking is better for tentative fish.

“Deadsticking a Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub and lip-hooked minnow four inches off bottom is another good tactic,” he added.

Once the spawn hits, Klages says pitching the bluffs in shallow water will provide even faster action, but that’s a story for another day. For now, don’t be shy about adding crankbaits to your cold-water walleye arsenal, and keep the leadheads close at hand.