Walleye fishermen are questioning, How far back do you run your harnesses with in-line weights? How can I determine how deep my baits are running? Here are a few rules of thumb that I go by.
With a 1oz weight at 1mph. For every 2ft of line you drop back, your bait will drop approximately 1 ft. So for example: I let out 30ft of 12lb Triline XT; my bait will run at approximately 15ft of depth. Now let's add a little more speed. At 1.2mph I let out 30ft of line, Figuring 15ft of depth minus 20% (3ft). That would put my bait at approximately 12 ft of depth. It's not an exact science, but it gets me in the ballpark. Now remember walleyes feed upward in the open water, so if you're running your baits too deep, you'll be under the active fish.
How do I know at what depth the fish are feeding?
That's all trial and error. For example; this is how I set-up in 20ft of water. Outside boards, one at 20ft and one at 25ft back, middle boards 30ft and the inside boards 35ft back. If I'm running too deep it's easy to change quickly. The next thing I do is start trolling into more shallow water (Maybe 16ft or 17ft). Then run back out to deeper water. (24ft to 25ft) I'm looking for active fish! When I find a depth that the fish are active in, I work that depth of water. I add a way point to my Humminbird 1197C every time I catch a fish. Now you can start to create a pattern. The next thing, as you start catching fish, you can now start to hone in on their active feeding depth. Start moving the rest of your baits into that zone. I generally won't set everything exactly to the depth I caught my fish. I'll start to vary my others by about 2ft to 3ft. Next is type and color of blades. When I start I generally put out a selection that has worked well for me in the past. I prefer a high quality blade that has a great spin and keeps a good shine; I use Bugsy's Bait Blades, Purples, chartreuse, whites, and blues, if you have your favorites, definitely use them. You have to have confidence in the baits you use! Now I start playing with colors! At the end I will be running all my baits in the same spectrum of colors.
Give this a try, and Good Luck Fishing!