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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Fishing Forum :: ?'s on bottom bouncers/spinner rigs
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Savage Voyageur
01/22/2022 11:42AM
I have fished central Ontario for walleye many trips over the years. The bottom structure there is identical to the BWCA. I’ve tried bottom bouncers up there but they did not work. For small pebbles or sandy bottoms bottom bouncers are a good choice. But for the BWCA for a spinner rig with minnows or crawlers you will want a (bead chain keel weight). 1/8oz, 1/4oz and maybe 3/8oz is all you need. The biggest problem with bottom bouncers is they are constantly getting caught in the boulders and getting stuck. You can’t get them out of the rocks. With a keel weight you still are going to get stuck, but you just go back over in the opposite way and it just lifts right out. Bead chain keel weights are getting hard to find. I think people think that keel weights are old school technology, or they see a fancy new bottom bouncers and buy that. There is nothing fancy or new about a bead chain keel weight, they just work.
Even Lindy rig weights get stuck where a keel weight wound not. If you are using spider-wire or spectra braid just tie the keel weight to the braid, then attach your spinner rig to the clip on the keel weight. I use keel weights all the time in the BWCA when drifting or trolling.

Side note on spinner blade colors. The spinner blade colors you want are blue for cloudy or overcast days, bright chartreuse, green, or bright orange for sunny days.
01/22/2022 02:53PM
I second the comments about bottom-bouncers not working in the BWCA, even if you fish almost vertically. There are too many reefs/sunken islands/boulders, etc., to run into. You would be much better off with a bullet weight, egg/slip sinker or in-line trolling sinker or even a few split-shots. If you are drifting, you shouldn't need much more than 1/4-1oz to get in that strike zone 1-5' off bottom.

It took me quite a while trying all these methods to figure out what works, and in the end I wish I had saved my money, the weight and lead on the bottom of the lake and just stuck with jigs. Even in a little bit of current or wind that pushes the boat up to 1+ mph, a 3/8 (at the most 1/2 oz) jig, even in deep water will allow you to make bottom contact and fish vertically enough (45 degree is ideal) to avoid most snags.

Also, unless you are fishing with a sonar, you deal with so much variation in depth in these canadian shield lakes you won't necessarily know the depth if you arent making bottom contact - I like a good heavy jig for that over a bottom bouncer any day.
01/22/2022 11:05AM
I use them all over for walleyes, but never have in the BWCA. Seems they'd be a perfect way to locate fish and then possibly switch over to jigs or slip bobber. Was thinking of tying some 5' single hook rigs for minnows when we go up this September and possibly even some crawler harnesses just in case the walleyes are on the crawlers.

Any experiences or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
01/22/2022 12:26PM
They work well if you find areas w/ smooth bottom. But if you're in areas w/ broken rocks like a lot of places...good luck using a bottom bouncer. Unless of course you're not letting it all the way down and just using it to get closer to the bottom.

Actual "bottom bouncing" is tricky at best in a lot of spots
Captn Tony
01/23/2022 12:02PM
I have used lindy rigs and bottom bouncers for years. Yes, you do get hung up a lot but as was mentioned before you can get it out the majority of the time by backing straight up and then when you get to where your line is pointing opposite of the direction you were originally trolling give it a jerk. That being said you still will want to have extra rigs as you will lose some.
05/02/2022 03:39PM
We also bottom bounce almost exclusively. Like Otzi says...drop it down, find the bottom, and hike it up a bit, and you're fine. I typically use a float; my husband does not. No issues with losing them. We're mostly on Crooked anymore...typically rocky bottom areas, but do cross a few flats.
01/22/2022 12:51PM
Thanks for the replies. I was kinda wondering about the rocks gobbling up bottom bouncers? That said I do fish it as close to vertical as possible? I usually drop to bottom and reel up a few cranks on the baitcaster. Seems to work well. We will be on the Kawashiwi River this Sept and I thought a nice slow drift with the current while watching sonar would be the ticket??? Still gotta try it while other guy jigs until sanity prevails I think?
01/23/2022 08:53AM
If you've got sonar I'd give it a thought. But I like to keep things compact and those BB's take up so much space. I'd rather have the no snag lindy sinker or something else still. Same idea....but also have some jigs along to do the same thing.
01/24/2022 09:56PM
+1 Captn Tony

I have been using Lindy Rigs and Bottom Bouncers with Floating Crawler Harnesses, Floating Jigs, and Mack Spinner Blades for years up in Quetico. I have caught a lot of big walleyes on this presentation.

I don’t lose many rigs, as I use braided line to the sinker and with this line I can feel the bottom very well. When I hit a rocks I just lift up the bouncer or Lindy weight and skim it just above the hard bottom. If I feel it hitting bottom I just lift it up a bit. And if I do get snagged just let out line and paddle back past where you snagged and then pull out.

I did a lot better with live crawlers before the Quetico Live Bait Ban way back when. Now I use Gulp Killer Crawlers on my Floating Jigs, and 4 inch Gulp Crawlers on my Spinner Harnesses and Mack Blades and still catch lots of eyes.

Lindy’s NO SNAGG sinker does work well.

I troll bottom bouncers along weed edges, rock points, saddles and bottom transitions like rock to mud lines and flats to find walleyes. Then I switch to using jigs/tails to vertically catch them.

One key I have found is that the bigger walleye I catch are in the aforementioned spots that are close to DEEP WATER.
05/02/2022 09:43AM
Bottom bouncers are my go-to when first trying to locate walleye and lake trout in a new BWCA or Quetico lake; in fact, I've caught more of both species on this set-up than anything else up there. I don't think I've ever gotten one stuck, but then again, I guess I have never taken the name literally. I was always taught to run it just above the bottom and only occasionally will it make contact; otherwise if you're feeling the bottom consistently with the bouncer, it is essentially tipping over at the bottom of the lake and not standing up vertically - i.e. dragging on its side or somewhat hunched over thus not presenting your bait as desired. I use braided line to bouncer and have a fish finder so easy to feel/see and avoid issues with snags.
05/02/2022 10:56AM
I say give it a try. Last year was the first year that I used a bottom bouncer in the BW (first time I used one anywhere). It was very simple to use up there. And I like a new technique that as soon as I started using it, I started catching fish. The key is using a spinner rig with a float. And we shorten the leader to 2-3', which helps with snags and makes it easier to handle when seated in a canoe. When we tried without a float, those would constantly snag. We were mainly fishing Insula, which is full of rocks and boulders. Yesterday I started adding floats to all the spinner rigs that I'm taking up this year. We caught walleyes on pieces of nightcrawler that we found around camp, but majority were with imitation leeches. The reason I tried bottom bouncing in the first place is it's usually pretty windy in August when we trip and I had a hard time keeping even heavy jigs in contact with the bottom. We also use a drift sock. Bottom bouncers filled this role great and we plan on using them a bunch this year. I also like them for feeling what's on the bottom while covering water. I was actually surprised how well I could feel the rocks, boulders, sand and occasional muck.