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By John Campbell
A variety of different methods will take early spring walleyes, since
Backtrolling, anchoring and casting, or drifting all work well for fishing the adjacent drop-off areas during the day. The real importance lies in the speed at which you present the jig. As long as it is slow and close to the bottom, you're all set. The water temperature is cold, and the walleyes are lethargic. Slow jigging is perfect for these conditions.
3/8 ounce sinkers. Small plain hooks generally work best, although you
can try a spinner rig in dark water. Minnows are generally the top live
bait choice at this time of year, although leeches and nightcrawlers can
work, too. The same boat-control methods apply.
Look for structure that the fish use as ambush points or places to hide,
out of the current. Such structure might be logs, weeds, rocks or boat
docks. All of these make excellent casting points to target while
fishing from shore. If you are in an area that allows you to have two
poles out, use a rod tipped with live bait and the other rod with an
artificial lure. If you position your live bait adjacent to the
structure, you can use the artificial lure to entice a fish to follow
and have them hook up on your live bait rig.
Several other systems work particularly well at night . Try fancasting
or long-line trolling minnow imitation baits, like Lindy Shadlings in
the immediate vicinity, right up in areas with good spawning area and
structure. Stay close to the bottom in current, or in water deeper than
6 to 8 feet. At night, however, fish commonly cruise 2 to 8 foot depths,
and trolling is perfect.
If you're going to be using a crankbait, however, you should also think
about the action of the lure in the water. The wobble of the bait can
make a difference in how many walleyes you catch.
It seems like a minor thing, and many walleye chasers don't even notice
that different baits have different wobbles as they're pulled through
the water. It's been my experience, though, that marble-eyed fish are
definitely influenced by the action of the lure.
Early season walleyes are some of the best tasting table fare. Remember
to slow down your presentation and try a variety of methods and you will
be having a fresh fish dinner before to long. Also, don't forget to
visit me on the web at www.walleye.info
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