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Latest Trends in Walleye Spinner Rigs

Everyone has their favorite bait or lure for catching walleye, and for most people, it is the one that is catching fish for them right now.  But when the bite stops on that favorite, it is time to switch up and change, maybe experiment a little.

For spinner rigs built on fishing line rather than wire, the components will include 1, 2 or 3 hooks, 1 or 2 spinner blades, folded or quick-change clevises and beads They also may include floats which too come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Consideration also needs to be given to how the spinner rig is tied both as to the type of knot used with the hooks and as to the leading end with either a loop or a swivel.  This article presumes the audience is past the beginner stage in using rigs. You have a good idea of what you like and what works where you fish.  But, if you are like me, you are always wondering “What’s new?”  In this article, well talk about five recent trends and the relative impact they are having on the industry in their early years.


With the development of “slow death” hooks that roll with the worm, people have been debating whether they like them or not. They may have already reached their threshold of usage with no new large wave of adopters. However, even once you have decided upon the style or type, brand, size and number of hooks to be put on a spinner rig, you still have one more new factor to now consider.  And that is the color of the hook.  At first, we just had bronze hooks, then black and then red.  Today on some popular makes and models, you have a dozen colors to choose from.  Check with your local tackle shop to see if there are any reports on color of fish hook making a difference.  Still today, I hear mostly about red and that seems to be the more popular color choice, but they are making those other colors of hooks for a reason. Somebody is buying them. If you go the new colored hook route, you will also have to consider whether you want your color choice to be fluorescent or not.  If they are biting on fluorescent pink hooks, all else being equal, you may want to have a few handy.  Time will tell if this is just a fad or a definite trend. Regardless of the other newer colors, I am pretty sure red hooks are here to stay.


There are quite a few tried and true spinner blade designs and in all colors, shapes and sizes.  A few years ago, we saw blades made from plastic being introduced, along with wing-shaped , hatchet-shaped, spiral-shaped, pear-shaped, v-shaped and frog-shaped.  We still had our traditional propeller, Colorado, Indiana and Willow Leaf shaped blades to choose from as well.  But what happened recently was three things – we saw an increase in the number of talented artists creating their own eye-catching awesome designs; we saw a huge increase in the popularity of purple as a color of choice from Lake of the Woods all the way over to Lake Ontario. And, thirdly, we saw the use of a color we never would have thought would have worked. That color is now commonly called “anti-freeze” in the spinner blade world. Ten years ago, it was more popular to use it on the back of spinner blades.  But its popularity led to experimenting with it in designs on the front of blades.  Artists have continued to develop variations in hues of antifreeze (there is a pink and a grape anti-freeze now) and various formulas for making it.  So, keep a look-out for blades (or spinner rigs made with blades) with an anti-freeze back or even perhaps an anti-freeze front, and give them a try.  We’ll be getting a good supply of these in our shop in the near future so if you don’t want to go on a long search, just stop back here in a few.


Bead choices for spinner rigs usually are based on round or faceted shapes and are plastic or glass.  Some may be metallic.  Sizes usually are 3 mm, 3.5, 4, 5, 6 and 8 mm and are usually chosen based upon the size of the accompanying blade.  Now we are seeing three new bead styles that are being offered to the walleye spinner rig market.  They are “eyeball” beads, “wedding ring” beads, and “minnow” beads.  And just as their name indicates, they are designed to look like a small fish-eye, a small wedding ring and a small minnow respectively.  With each there are color and size choices as well as design choices on the minnow beads.  Kokanee fishermen swear by the wedding ring bead and they are also making inroads in walleye spinner rigs as well.  I expect that one to stay.  The eyeball and minnow beads will be around for some time but the minnow bead in particular, is an expensive addition if you are producing a lot of spinner rigs.  You also will need to rethink your spinner rig bead configuration if you are going to use a minnow bead.  Where does it go and what is in front of it and behind it?


The idea behind this new trend was borrowed from the trout/salmon fishermen.  Leave a 4 inch gap between the last bead and the first hook on your spinner rig.  How to do it?  Well, the easy way with no added expense is to position your last bead ahead of your first hook where you want it and then take your line back through the last bead several times until the bead won’t move.  Or you can “peg it” with a toothpick. The idea behind it is to get the following walleye to first notice the attractant (blade and beads) and then notice the separate snack and go for it.  I made quite a few last year for field testing and am waiting for borders to open so they can get a good test in Canadian walleye waters.  If we offer any spinner rigs in our shop that are configured with THE GAP, we’ll let you know down the road a bit.


The incredible walleye fishery that is known as Lake Erie has had an enormous impact on the world of fishing tackle for walleye fishermen.  Daily there are reports of full limits of jumbos.  And they are catching them on both crankbaits and nightcrawler harnesses.  The go-to spinner rigs seem to be tandem Willow Leaf and Colorado blade spinner rigs with two matching blades in the larger sizes.  Amish Outfitters even has specially designed tackle boxes for holding these monster tandem rigs that look like they are headed for the ocean.  Lake Erie is a different kind of walleye fishing than, say, Northwestern Ontario lakes such as Lac Seul, but a lot of the innovation in tackle and spinner design comes from that fishery, especially from those in Ohio. On an average small to medium-sized lake in the Midwest, one would be embarrassed to be caught trolling what is considered a perfectly acceptable walleye spinner rig on Lake Erie.  They are using a bigger profile to catch, on average, a bigger walleye. On Lake Erie you begin and stay with the larger profile baits whereas on Lac Seul, you will generally start smaller and get your “unders” first if you are keeping fish to eat. Once you have those, then you go jumbo-hunting and consider upping the profile-size of your bait.

There is one thing that has not changed. The magic number is still 30 inches.  A 30-inch or greater walleye for anyone anywhere was,  is and probably always will be considered a significant accomplishment.

We’ll keep watching the market and looking out for new trends. If we think they are more than just a thing, we’ll make some and bring them to you here on our site. Feel free to browse the rest of our site to see what spinner rigs / crawler harnesses we currently have in stock.