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by Norb Wallock
One of the season’s first opportunities for getting in on a little open water walleye action, takes place on many of our Nation’s rivers. Early season river angling can beabsolutely phenomenal at times, and unbelievably tough at others. It equates to a feast or famine situation, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Catching walleyes when things are good can be a relatively easy task. On the other hand, when things are tough it can seem down right impossible. The thing is, even when it’s tough, there will still be some catching done by somebody. Those that continue to catch have made the necessary adjustments to keep them in the right place at the right time, doing the right things.
Timing is the key to phenomenal action, and is dependant on a couple of factors, including water levels and the actual spawn.
Activity levels surrounding the spawn can vary greatly, depending on just exactly wha stage they happen to be in. Pre-spawn walleyes for example, are often found to be extremely active and aggressive, and is a condition anglers would do well to key on.
Catching spawning walleyes, on the other hand, can be darn near impossible. And while post spawn fish might be a bit tough, it’s certainly not an impossible task.Water levels dictate where walleyes can be expected to be found, and may also effect how active they’ll be. Low water tends to spreads them out, while higher water levels may help bunch them up. Although high water can be a good thing, it isn’t always, especially if you get so much run off that it turns a river to mud.
When it’s good, just about everybody does at least some catching, and
Tougher conditions ( like post spawn walleyes in a high muddy water environment ), call for techniques outside of the standard fare, and includes trolling against the grain with a minnow imitating crankbait, through deeper holes and current breaks. The upstream program consists of a dead slow trolling run, against the current, with a long slender crankbait. The technique can best be accomplished by employing a three way swivel with a dropper line tied to a heavy bell sinker, and a leader attached to a crankbait that can produce the right action at the slowest of speeds.
The right speed may be so slow that you seem almost stalled out, but don’t let that bother you. Even at a stall, the current is probably enough to give your bait all the action it needs.
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