Outdoor Bass Tactics for High Water Spring Walleyes It's
the first week of April, that magic time of the year for the
fishermen who've been waiting all winter to catch those wonderful
walleyes. You've watched all the fishing shows this past winter.
You've read all the magazines and seen all the videos of your
favorite fish. You've also gone to numerous outdoor shows
and seminars learning all you can about your number one sought
after species, the walleye. Now finally, it's time to put
everything you've learned to use. It's spring on the Mississippi
and Wisconsin Rivers in the Midwest. The mild winter has caused
northern snows to melt early. But, spring rains have dumped
copious amounts of rain. It's time for spring walleye fishing
on the rivers, but in the wink of an eye water levels have
risen dramatically causing the river to overflow it's banks
and flood backwaters everywhere. Most rivers main channels
are roaring with dam gates open up and down the Mississippi,
Wisconsin, and Fox Rivers, making the normally placid rivers
a fisherman's nightmare. What does a person do to catch walleyes
during this difficult period? First, remember that water temperature
is in the low to mid forties (40's),and nights have been moderate,
with low temperatures still in the 40's and 50's. The rain
that has fallen is warm. But most importantly, the dam gates
have been opened allowing fresh water (i.e. baitfish, bugs,
and other organisms) into a river system that has been stagnate
for months. The fresh water flow has rejuvenated the whole
river system. But, where do these ready-to-spawn walleyes
go during this sudden period of high water? Walleyes will
move into shallow flooded timber and brush during these periods.
Instead of thinking like a normal walleye angler does, this
time of year; using light jigs, minnows, light line, and plain
hook rigs or three-way variations. I take a page from the
bass fisherman and switch to one, a heavier jig, a 1/4 to
3/8 oz., instead of the normal 1/16 or 1/8 oz. jig. Two, I
swim my jig fast enough to just ' tic " the bottom occasionally.
Dragging a jig would result in constant snags and breakoffs.
Hense, this is why you have to reel fast enough to prevent
constantly getting caught and hung up.
||I've found that a jig made by Bait Rigs called the Slo-Poke
works best in these conditions. I've used and lost plenty
of jigs, but the design and shape of the Slo Poke makes
it shine under these tough conditions.The third change
I make is that I switch from live bait (minnows ) to scented
plastic twister or grub tails which stay on your jig better
than live bait and seem to attract fish better in shallow
water, with their flash and vibration.
I've experimented here too, and the plastic tails made by
Kalin's are superior. They make both a 3 inch and 5 inch tail
in many fish catching colors. Occasionally,, I lift the jig
and let it fall. The hits usually come on the fall. The most
important thing I do is switch from 6 lb. Stren Magnathin
to the 10 ib. Stren Easy Cast in coffee color. The coffee
color blends beautifully with the stained water. The 10 ib.
test Easy Cast allows you to pull out most of your snags.
If I used 6 ib. line, I would constantly be re-tying and losing
jigs. You are going to lose some jigs and break off on the
odd stump, but most of the time you will be able to fish and
catch fish under these adverse conditions. I don't think jig
color or tail color makes that much difference because it's
the flash and vibration coupled with getting in their face
that makes them hit. But, I constantly change jig and tail
color, just incase one of the two give a different profile.
Try this till you find something that works. The walleyes
are in the shallows now to get out of the strong river current,
to eat since the baitfish have moved into the brush and wood
cover, and finally they're looking for a place to drop their
eggs. So remember this spring, when confronted with high water
conditions, go shallow, right up into the wood, brush, and
trees; go to a heavier line (preferably 10lb. test ); and
use plastic twister tails until the fish tell you the profile
and size they want. You can anchor outside these wooded areas,
or use a push pole to get back into the little pockets and
openings. I guarantee the walleyes will be there, now you
have the technique to get at them.