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walleye, walleyes, jigging, jig, jigs
Cold front tactics
by Rick Olsen

Mother Nature can destroy the best made plans. You could be on a premier walleye lake, at a peak time of the year, with all of the latest gear, and still come up empty handed after a dreaded cold front comes rolling through. 
Cold fronts have given walleye fisherman a time honored excuse for poor fishing results. When ever a fellow angler uses the “ cold front excuse” for a less than expected catch, the excuse is accepted without question, and no more mention is made. It’s the code of the west. 

Rick Olsen shows that cold front walleyes can be caught
Rick Olsen shows that nice eyes can 
be caught during cold fronts
Anglers who have spent any amount of time on the water, understand how devastating a severe cold  front can be. Even during the best of times, a cold front can shut things down totally, and it may be several days before conditions get back to normal and the action picks up again. As tough as that sounds, the really good anglers have learned to deal with this natural phenomenon, and know that there are adjustments that can be made to help increase their odds of finding and catching fish  The first consideration in dealing with a cold front, is judging it’s timing. As bad as the whole cold front scenario may sound, fishing can be pretty darn good at times, and a passing front can actually spur walleye activity. When a high pressure system ( a.k.a. cold front ) approaches, walleyes can turn on and feed heavily
Weather associated with a passing front can fall into the category of classic, optimum conditions, like overcast skies, rain, and a good “walleye chop”. While good fishing can be had ( and even expected ), before and during the passing of a front, it’s the period following that can get a little tough. 
The period following is usually typified by clear blue skies, low humidity, and high pressure. For whatever reason, this period can bring walleye activity to a grinding halt. It could be the high pressure, it could be the added light, or it could be the fact that they’ve already eaten everything they needed to get by 
for a couple days. Nobody knows for sure, but it doesn’t really matter as long as you know it happens. Knowing that it does happen will allow you to react accordingly, and adjust where and how you have been fishing, if necessary. 
The next consideration is measuring the severity of the front, and includes whether or not it was accompanied by an electrical storm, and how drastic the temperature has changed. Angling during an electrical storm is absolutely crazy, and can be downright phenomenal, but is not worth the risk, ever. The fact that it can be so good, has kept anglers out longer than they should have, and some haven’t made it back. Although the action can be pretty intense before an electrical storm passes, the period following can be among the toughest you’ll face. While a cold front by itself has at least a small chance to change things 
for the worse, a front accompanied by an electrical storm can really shut things down. Whether it’s all that electricity, or the fact that electrical storms are often followed by big temperature and pressure changes, fronts with lighting can be expected to have a detrimental effect. Regardless of the severity of a cold front, the first thing to do is to relax, and not panic. If you’ve been on fish and are worried about losing what you’ve had, stop worrying and get fishing. It would be a mistake to immediately believe that all is lost, and you might as well stay home. Even if a front has had an effect, there are ways to deal with it.If you’ve been on fish, the first thing to do is get back there and see what’s happening. If you get back and find conditions similar to what they were, you better drop ol’ marble eyes a line and see if he’s had an attitude change. If conditions have changed, like the notable absence of bait and fish on a graph, it may be time for altering your game plan. 
One of the first reactions to a big change is to look a little deeper. Deeper is relative term, and may mean a few feet, to twenty feet deeper or more. After a cold front passes, many fish will head for deeper water, where they can hole up until better conditions return. Although many of those fish will probably be turned off, chances are that a least a few can be caught.  Another factor is that while there may be plenty of fish shallow, there are almost always some deep. Deep fish are less effected than those that are shallow, and they may continue to feed in the same places, at the same times, as they did prior to the passing of front. Changes in presentations may become necessary, especially if what you’ve been using is getting little or no results. Small changes, like using a smaller bait, may be all that is necessary. 
Rapala Tail Dancer
Rapala Taildancer
For example, if you’ve been trolling with a bigger, hard thumping crank bait, like a Down Deep Fat Rap, you may try something with a softer action, like a Tail Dancer. 
Another option would be to put the crank bait down completely, and try a spinner and live bait combination. The downside to replacing a crank with live bait is the fact you may be giving up your big fish opportunities. Day in and day out, a crank bait pattern will produce bigger fish than with live bait. On the other hand, live bait may be the only way to elicit a strike, and may be your best option. 
If you’ve been using live bait, you may need to change bait types, like going from a crawler to a leech. Another option would be forgoing both crawlers and leeches for a minnow, like a red tail chub. Red tails will work their tails off for you, and can be too much for sluggish walleyes to resist. All in all, cold fronts do have their effect, but by making the right adjustments you can continue to catch fish under the worst conditions. In fact, you just might surprise yourself by how good it can really be. 

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