Outdoors column: The June fishing transition

Welcome to the best fishing month of the open water season.

June is my favorite month because the spawn has been completed and the water temperatures are rising every day getting the game fish active and cruising for food almost on a full time basis.

Why not gear up for both walleyes and bass on the same outing by using baits that both species prefer.  Submitted photo
Why not gear up for both walleyes and bass on the same outing by using baits that both species prefer. Submitted photo

June is when the bass season gets into gear and the walleyes are still somewhat shallow and active.

Many of the central Minnesota lakes I fish on a regular basis offer both species and I use techniques that work well on both at the same time. Here’s a primer on some of my favorite presentations to catch both of these species in June.


The rule of thumb on cranking for gamefish is to stick to the long and thin crankbaits for walleyes and short, stubby baits for bass.

I always have a couple of rods rigged with both baits and often change between the two every 20 minutes or so.

You can get fooled sometimes as the two species can often flip flop their desires on these baits.

During June I always keep my crankbaits in the mid range of sizes because many of the young-of-the-year baitfish are still tiny and within the two inch length. Most of my June cranks are between one and two inches in length.

These itty-bitty baits are also good on accidental crappies that you take along the way which are always a nice bonus.

Redtail chubs

This is probably the best minnow bait in the central part of Minnesota and I use these exclusively on many lakes such as Leech, Gull, Mille Lacs and Knife Lake. The difference between a redtail and a fathead is huge as many neutral walleyes and bass will turn up their nose at a fathead but will charge in quickly on a redtail chub.

The minnows are super hearty and stand up to a lot of abuse and will last far longer than a standard shiner minnow.

They also a very good in water with low oxygen levels and have a beefy body allowing them to withstand constant trolling and rocky bottoms.

Plastic ringworms

I don’t know what the appeal of the plastic ringworm style of baits to walleyes are but they smack those just as well as the largemouth bass.

These baits have been coming on strong on the river systems in Minnesota and Wisconsin and I have a permanent stash of these baits on hand at all times. These are basically a plastic style worm in the six-inch size that have rows of rings along the bait making them slither and contort giving them great action.

This is a great artificial bait to place on a long shanked jig and thrown into weedlines, breaks or even backtrolled along rockpiles.

There is nothing in the realm of natural food in our lakes that look like these baits but you can’t argue with success.

Maybe it’s because this is something they have never seen before making them strike out of curiosity.

Steve Carney is a contributing writer to the Outdoors page.