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Walleyes In flooded timber
By Sam Anderson
I pulled my boat through the flooded timber as if I was navigating a mine field. The approach was slow and well thought out before I gave my Trolling Motor a burst of speed. Finally , after I got to the point I flipped a Fuzzy Grub jig into the most tangled piece of wood and POW right on the fall I felt the nice walleye bite. I set the hook and the race was on to see if the walleye was going to wrap me around the tree or if I could wrestle him out into open water. I won this battle and pulled a fine plump 4 lb. eye into the net.
Fishing flooded timber is an overlooked structure that more fisherman should look for in the spring of the year. There are two ways you can fish flooded timber. One is by trolling crank baits over and around the wood. The other is by working live bait over, around and through the trees.
Some of the crucial pieces of equipment that you should probably consider when fishing flooded timber are: Depth finder with GPS and plotter screen, I prefer a LMS 350A: a two to three ounce Bottom Bouncer, a bait casting rod, spooled with Magnum 14/40 line; and an assortment of jigs, spoons, crank baits, slip bobbers and live bait rigs.
You will need a good depth finder with a large picture not only to see what is directly below the boat but also what you have just passed over. You will also need this to mark where you caught that last fish and on what side of the log, so you can back and fish your way out. Or better yet, just allow yourself an easy escape route by following the plotter to the point that you entered the flooded timber. Bottom bouncers also add a new dimension to your fishing harness. I will up a bottom bouncer on my line and then attach a short leader of lighter line, maybe 6 or 8 lb Easy Cast Stren. The bottom bouncer acts as a brush detector and keeps my jig out of snags. Don't worry, there are plenty of snags, and you will be retying while your fishing buddy is reeling in the big one. The method is easy , just simply drop your rod nest to a log and wait until your bottom bouncer touches a limb or a bush. If by chance it touches nothing allow it to drop all the way to the bottom, walleyes like to hang on the edge of the timber also.
The second way of catching walleyes in flooded timber is to drag a crank bait through all the stick ups. Now you probably think that I have spent to much time in the sun, but believe me it works. I know that I was skeptical when I first visited southern reservoirs that were choked with flooded timbers I thought it would be impossible to do this. Again this method is very simple. Watch your depth finder and chart a course through the timber while keeping your eyes fixed on the brush tops below and concentrate at what depth they top off at. Ease into the timber with your trolling motor and try not to make noise. Remember you might be in some pretty shallow water and you don't want to spook those fish. After you have charted the course use a neutrally buoyant lure like a Suspending Thunderstick and attach Suspendots to your lure until it hovers right above the brush or tree tops. Then let out line and move back down the charted course till you reach the point that you want to retrieve the bait. Reel in the line at a SLOW steady pace. Or you might want to pause occasionally to allow the lure to gradually sit motionless or rise ever so gradually. This will drive those inactive walleyes crazy and you will truly be amazed on how easy this method is to use.
My all time favorite method of catching those monster eyes in the timber is with a slip bobber. the new style of thin bobbers make timber fishing a dream. Attach a slip bobber to your line with a Bob A Bit or split shot with a Mustad Hook and just dip your selection along side the timber or over the brush. Experiment with the length of leader from the split shot to the hook. If the split shot is further up the line you will have more natural swimming action of your live bait.
All in all flooded timber is overlooked by most anglers and when open
water walleye fishing occurs in early spring it is a great place to go
and catch your limit of fish. My bobber just headed down and it is
time to set the hook. Hope to see you in the flooded timber soon!
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