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by Rock N' Randy Tyler
Wing dams are the sometime the forgotten resource on many river systems yet they can produce walleyes all year long They seem to consistently produce fish and can fished with many different techniques and conditions.
Wing dams can be found in river systems such as the Mississippi river and Missouri river system and are used to control silt and debris from building up in the barge channels. They are man made usually of rock and gravel and run from shore to the edge of the channel. They can be located by either using a navigational map of the system or by sight. While running down a river such as the Mississippi River you need to be especially careful as the water level in river system rises and lowers the tops of the dams can either be completely submerged or completely exposed but one thing is for sure if you hit one with your lower unit of your motor you will regret it. They can easily be identified by the change in the surface conditions of the water moving over them. There is a tell tale rippling that will show up on the surface just after the wing dam and on the inide edge before it there usually is a eddy/
One of my favorite methods of fishing wing dams which can be done in all type of current conditions is what I call slipping the dam. The rig I use for this is a three way rig. I like to use a 5/8th to 3/4 ounce Jumbo Lindy Fuzzy Grub on a 6 to 12' dropper with either a floating jig head on a 2' to 4' leader or possibly a # 5 to 7 floating Rapala but this can also be rigged with a D16Z Daiichi bleeding bait hook with a small bead in the front of it. You can also replace the Lindy Fuzzy grub with a pencil sinker or an egg sinker but you wouldn't believe how many fish I catch on the dropper jig it just doubles the fun. I position the boat just in the front of the wing dam with the bow facing into the current depending on current conditions I will either use my 9.9 Mercury four stroke or my MinnKota 101 bow mount. Starting on the outside channel edge keeping my lures directly in the front of the wing dam and slowly moving my pole about six inches forward and backward keeping in constant contact with the bottom I just slide the face of the dam and wait for the action to start.
Another great way of catching walleyes on wing dams is what I like to call banging the dams. Usually I do this when there is four or five wing dams in a 1/2 mile to mile range. This can be an expensive way of fishing but can also produce some huge walleyes.
Anchoring is alsoanother productive way of fishing the dams and can also be done under all conditions . Once the wing dam you are trying to fish is located go about 50 yards upstream face the bow into the current and drop down the anchor. You will need a good heavy type of anchor for this and also plenty of rope. It is always a good idea to have a five to six foot length of chain attatched to the anchor and then the rope this helps to keep the anchor down and also helps to retrieve the anchor when needed. Once the boat has settled down you have many different option for fishing. Start off quite a ways in front of the dam as the most active fish will be on the front and top of the wing dams. You can fish an area pick up the anchor and then move slightly closer to the dam each time. By tieing the rope to the front and then repositioning to a cleat on either side you can effectively position the boat to work the whole dam.
In closing remember that walleyes arent the only fish that can be found on wing dams, small mouth bass, stripers , northerns and more come her to feed. Please come visit me at www.walleyesinc.com to learn more about walleye fishing from myself and a host of fishing pro's.
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