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Spring Walleye Round-up by Dan Manyen for Saginaw Bay and Tittabawassee River From Essexville Michigan

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Walleye Express Charters by Captain Dan Manyen
Fishing the Saginaw Bay and Tittabawassee River From Essexville Michigan by Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website    Walleye Express

E-mail Capt: Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters. 
"Spring Walleye Roundup"
By Captain Dan Manyen

"Fishing Dynamics 101"
      Did you ever fish in a small, narrow river or stream? It doesn't really matter what specie you were fishing for. It always seemed that no matter what side of the waterway you were on, you'd inevitably end up casting to the opposite side. This is usually done by novice, young or inexperienced fishermen. It just made sense to be as far away as possible from the bank you were fishing from. Some fishermen today, young and old, still do the same thing. They blindly stumble out onto the lake or river, maybe with the right equipment, maybe not, looking for the crowd to lead them to fishing success. They haven't learned the most import key to being successful on any body of water. That important key is dynamics. Webster describes dynamics as, "The part of physics that deals with force, energy and motion and the relationship between them". Knowing the dynamics of both the waterways and the species you're fishing for, then equate and apply it to your fishing techniques and equipment, give's you an advantage to figure out that successful fish catching game plan. This can only be done by people who let themselves get fully involved and aware with what they are doing. Then, both apply and understand nature's variables and how it effects her water bound creatures. I'm only writing this to inform you new walleye chasers that it's not a vast conspiracy, and that often getting skunked doesn't mean that you employed the wrong technique, or had the wrong color, size or type lure on. Learning and remembering how and where your prey  lives, feeds and most importantly reacts to certain climatic variables will do more to make you successful than a lifetime of (how-to) seminars.

  With  all that said, I'll try and explain the techniques I use on both the Saginaw Bay and the rivers that connect to it during the Spring. Again, the dynamics of what the river is doing often has an impact on what, where and how I approach the fishing day. 

"High Spring Water"
   Being able to read the river and its currents can really help during high water levels. Nothing beats a jig head tipped with a minnow in high water. Walleye tend to pod-up in swift water and keeping the offering in their faces is best and easier with a pinpoint weapon like a jig. 

Some nice early river walleyes After 15 years of Drift Boat guiding and reading Steelhead and Salmon holding water on Michigan's best rivers, along with my walleye charters, spotting a good holding spot for walleye has become second nature. 
Precise anchoring and quarter casting while slow hopping a jig behind Points, Wing Dams, Ledges, Brush piles and even flooded flats out of the main current, is a great producer in high water on the Tittabawassee River. 

"Low Clear Water"
   There are a few techniques that work well when the river is low and clear. This river condition seems to happen more often lately, with the water tables being what they are on the Great Lakes. With the deeper, darker holes being at a premium in these conditions, getting offerings away from the boat and covering more water pays off big time. A technique called (Dragging) works well, but will cost you a few jig heads. Simply let your boat drift downstream with the current, usually on the outside bends of the river, while you let the combination jig head/twister tail/piece of crawler, bounce along the bottom at a 45 degree angle. I use this technique a lot, but with a variation on the offering. A small (#6) 2 hook harness with three (6 mill) green beads, with one 00 blade, orange or red. Tip this rig with a whole night crawler, and drag at a 60 degree. A single small #7 split shot is often added if the current seems to fast. You want it to tick along bottom fairly regular. This last technique can pay big dividends when the small males aggressively start feeding after the spawn. And small males (2 to 4 pounds) make up 90% of what you'll catch on the Tittabawassee after the season reopens. The larger females can drop virtually all their (up to 10,000 eggs) in just a couple nights when the conditions get right, then hastily retreat back to the Bay in just a few days. Casting # 5 and #7 shad raps or blade baits along the shoreline in likely looking spots as you drift, can also at times be outstanding. Trolling # 7 floating shad raps Silver/Black has also made me look like a genius on a few river charters in years past. Finding a deeper slot or run that's long enough to use this technique is the only tough part on the Tittabawassee.

"Night Eye's"
  Although not for everybody, catching walleyes at night has a charm all its own. Both the Saginaw Bay and the Saginaw River has started to give up some of its (Dark) secrets the last few years. Casting #14 Rapala Husky Jerks along the river shore lines and around bridge abutments from Saginaw to Bay City after the season reopens, has proven to be worthwhile. That, along with the night time trolling bite on the Bay itself, can really spell a great time for savvy anglers. I say savvy, because I highly suggest you know your equipment and it's limitations on the Bay at night. Being able to navigate with your GPS in the Plotter mode and knowing exactly where the marina channel is and how to correctly fallow it (STRAIGHT) in, has become a must in these low water conditions. The proper boat navigation lights, spot light and (on board) boat lights will be some of the necessary equipment needed. I've seen to many guys in 12 to 14 foot boats with absolutely no lights at all, virtually almost too late in the pitch dark. It's not funny when it happens, believe Me. 

Night fishing pays off big dividends for walleyes Your dealing with water temps still to cold and life threatening, to be taking an unexpected dip. Slow trolling the monster #18 Rapala's along with an assortment of Husky's in every size has rewarded me in Spring's past.
These body baits imitate perfectly the abundance of  suckers, spot tailed chubs and smelt that arrive in the close to shore waters about the same time the post spawn walleyes are dropping back out of the rivers, looking for large, quick energy meals. Running short leads off of Inline planner boards with blinking red lights attached to their flags, is about as neat a trick as fishermen have devised in the last few years, and it works like a charm to telegraph any strikes in the dark.

 In conclusion, nothing teaches you how to be a better fisherman more than getting out and doing it. That is, if you learn from each trip out. Absorb as much about every aspect of what you're doing and the variables you're dealing with as well as what the guys around you are doing on every trip. Pay attention and "BE THE FISH" and you will be a better fisherman. 
Good luck and Tight Lines, Capt: Dan Manyen, Walleye Express Charters. 

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