By Dan Johnson

Mud equals walleyes on Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago. Local guide, tournament competitor and Lindy pro-staffer Jason Muche reports the big lake’s mud flats are producing great catches right now, but another hot pattern is also gaining steam.

“Mud flats on the north, northeast and south ends of the lake are giving up numbers of 17- to 22-inch walleyes, with plenty of 24- to 26-inchers in the mix as well,” he says. “There’s lots of room for anglers to spread out and catch fish.”

On the north side, the fish are suspending 10 to 12 feet down over 18 feet of water. The bite is a bit shallower to the south, where 14 feet of water is key.

Regardless of the depth, Muche maintains that trolling is the ticket to connecting with mud flat walleyes.

“Lindy Crawler Harnesses are outfishing crankbaits right now,” he says, noting that gold, size 4 Colorado blades are his go-to spinner blades at the moment.

Muche’s typical trolling setup includes 1-ounce in-line weights snapped 30 feet up the line from the spinner. Setting the weights 20 to 28 feet behind a planer board gets the rig into the strike zone at 1.1 to 1.3 mph, while reducing wave-related surges from heavy seas.

He expects the mud flat bite to remain good headed into the weekend.

“Water temperatures are around 74 degrees and there’s no major bug hatches, so we’re looking good,” he says.
He also expects it to factor into the upcoming Otter Street Fishing Club’s annual Battle on Bago walleye tournament, which takes place Saturday and Sunday.

Muche plans to fish the event and predicts it will take 44 to 45 pounds for 10 walleyes to win. Last weekend, he threw his hat in the ring at the Mercury National Walleye Tournament, also on Winnebago, and with teammate Ernest Anderson took a respectable 12th place out of more than 240 teams.

Another pattern on Lake Winnebago that holds promise around the Walleye Belt is the early summer weed bite.

“It’s starting to heat up in the bays, in stands of coontail in 3 to 4½ feet of water,” he says.

To ply the salad, Muche looks for areas where water clarity isn’t quite good enough to see bottom.

“That’s too clear,” he says. “You want to be able to see the weed tops halfway down. When you find the right conditions, pitch an 1/8-ounce Lindy Jig tipped with a leech into pockets and along edges, bounce it along the bottom—and hang on!”