Fishing the common spinner rig (aka nightcrawler harness) is hands-down the simplest and most popular way to put walleyes in the boat. Consisting of unassuming components—a couple of hooks, a leader, a few beads, and a spinner blade—Lindy rigging took walleye fishing by storm in the late 1960s, and anglers have tinkered with it ever since. But of those parts, spinner blades seem to garner the most attention from fishing fiddlers. While Colorado blades are very productive, throwing one of these three wacky blades can help you catch finicky fish.
Indiana blades in the smaller No. 3 to No. 5 sizes are somewhat popular on smaller bodies of water, but because of their added flash and supercharged vibration, larger No. 6 and No. 8 sizes can be true game changers.
The No. 6 excels when you’re fishing clear or slightly off-color water, whereas the No. 8 is a go-to for tournament anglers fishing off-color and dirty water or when big fish are the primary target.
The No. 8 is more prone to being thrown off a quick-change clevis, making a folded clevis a better choice to save blades and dollars. Because these blades are longer, adding beads will help clear the front hook of the harness and avoid short strikes.
The hatchet and similarly shaped Doc Sheldon blades are often used on tandem rigs and provide a rather unusual presentation when trolled (blades rotate in opposite directions). Much like Indiana blades, Hatchets offer both vibration and flash, and can be run at a variety of speeds.
Sizes No. 4 to No. 6 are most popular, but don’t overlook larger sizes when fishing in off-color water or when large baitfish and walleyes are present. Hatchets truly shine when they’re fished deep on bottom bouncers and three-way rigs. Speed changes can add even more flash. Purposely stalling a planer board or pumping a handheld rod can impart a unique flutter to the rig, making it hard for walleyes to pass up.
Chopper blades are the most distinctive of this dynamic trio. The odd shape gives this rig a gaudy flash and lateral-line-triggering vibration. Much of this is due to its deep cup and turned-up lip.
Size can be very important with choppers. Start with larger sizes that put off more vibration in early spring, and switch to smaller sizes and faster speeds as spring progresses to early summer. Regardless of the time of year, match the size used to the speed you are drifting or trolling. Nos. 3 to 6 are best.