Once you’ve actually spotted a school of fish on the sonar screen, don’t always assume they’re hungry or take for granted they’re the species you’re after. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve quickly nabbed two or three nice walleye casting a big soft-plastic swimbait, for example, then struggled when the fish shut down. As with many anglers, my first reaction when that happens is to switch over to a finesse presentation—such as a jig and live bait or a drop-shot rig—to pick the school apart. Some days that’s the best strategy, but often it’s a waste of time.
That’s because many times you *think* you’re seeing a school of walleye on the screen, it’s actually white suckers or jumbo perch, which share common life-cycle characteristics, preferences and seasonal habitats with walleye. The lesson here is to fish quickly and efficiently to determine what fish are present and if they’re biting, and to remain mobile throughout the day until you find what you’re after. That doesn’t mean there aren’t times when you should slow down, but they’re far fewer than most anglers assume.