Oneida Lake, long revered for its walleye fishery, can at times frustrate novices as well as seasoned anglers. Let’s not forget the basics. Here is my version of an Oneida Lake walleye starter kit.
Walleye Starter Kit
First and foremost item is the black/purple bucktail jig dressed with a nightcrawler! Throughout the months of May and June, jigging accounts for the lion’s share of the walleye catch. Whether it be shallow or deep, the presentation of a jig slithering and hopping across the bottom for whatever reasons is deadly to foraging walleyes.
To some, jigging is an art, to others it is a dedication, and to the beginner it can be an enigma. My advice: “Maintain contact with the bottom and be relentless until that first strike.” Of course, all this is predicated on the presence of bottom oriented “eyes.” Good fish detection equipment is a must. I use a “Lowrance HDS-10.”
The second item in the kit is a blade bait. This is a metal, vibrating lure fished similar to a jig, but more vigorously. Popular brands are the “XPS Lazer Blade,” “Heddon Sonar” and “Mad River Sports” Jigging Blade. You will need the 1/4, 1/2, 5/8, and 3/4 oz. models depending on the depth and mood of the fish.
The smaller models have a higher frequency to the vibration and vice-versa. Sometimes walleye need motivation to strike. I classify this lure as a strike instigator. Gold is my primary color. This is a must addition to your kit! Sometimes bottom oriented eyes need that little extra trigger to get active. “Mad River Sports” is now inserting the E-Chip in the blade for extra appeal.
The third item would be the spinner/worm combo. Spinners and worms whether trolled, drifted or casted, also account for significant catches of walleye, particularly during July.
In the open water where schooled, walleye suspend in the summertime, the spinner/worm is best used in a trolling mode. Inshore, along weed lines and on structure, the spinner/worm combo used casting, will keep you busy with not only walleye, but every other creature that has tails, scales and fins.
Fourth on my list are the hardbaits or walleye crankbaits. These space age plastics in the shape of minnows with shallow bills, deep diving bills, holographic designs, floating models, jerking models and suspending models, are great to retrieve over structure or troll in the deep environment.
Standard colors are: chrome/silver, blue/silver, chartreuse, firetiger and shad. I like the Bass Pro XPS series, the Rapala divers, and the Cotton Cordell deep divers.
On any given day, one of these weapons in this walleye starter kit will out fish the others. It’s up to you to find out. Not a bad assignment! Have a safe and successful fishing season on Oneida.