Spring Time Walleye's
By Shane Belter
Spring walleye fishing can offer some of the years best fishing, and
of the worst. Warming weather is usually the indicator in this department.
If the temperature rises just a degree or two, and stays relatively
constant, the bite can really turn on. If the mercury goes south so
does the bite.
During the pre-spawn period walleye's are usually found in deeper water,
fifteen to twenty feet down just off their spawning beds. As the spawn
underway the opposite is true and most fish will be caught in the two
six foot ranges.
Catching walleye, particularly big females, during this time can also
tricky. Often the smaller, more aggressive males are the first so strike
passing jig or live bait rig. Once the spawn is in full swing the females
stop feeding and any fish caught during this period are all males.
females have finished spawning they begin their journey to their summer
holding spots. Big females can be caught at this time as they gorge
themselves trying to replenish energy used during the spawn.
Catching walleyes in the spring can require a wide range of tactics.
Jigging and rigging are probably the most popular, but don't count
bobbers or crankbaits. The only way to know what works is to experiment.
I've always done what I do best and work my way through the different
techniques until I start catching fish.
When jigging in Western Canada I start by using a ¼ ounce jig
bigger usually tipped with a minnow, leech, or night crawler. I work
down in size until I consistently catch fish. I usually start by lifting
and dropping the jig keeping my line tight at all times to feel even
slightest hit. If that does not produce I use a dragging method which
almost always triggers a strike. Experiment with size and different
until the fish tells you what it wants, and then fine-tune your color
contrast to hook in to that big one.
LIVE BAIT RIGS
Live bait rigging can be done so many different ways that it's tough
in to detail on all aspects of rigging. I generally prefer a straight
hook with a leech on a ¼ ounce walking sinker and a black barrel
stopper. When the water is stained or fish are holding just off the
I'll use a floating jig head or a northland gumdrop floater. Either
technique will generally produce fish in a more aggressive mood. Catching
fish on these rigs depends on two things. Bait choice and most importantly,
boat speed. This will generally be the indicator for the day on how
travel to catch fish. Live bait rigging is a great way to cover more
quicker and find fish faster.
On the other end of the spectrum from jig fishing is crankin'. Cranks
generally find aggressive fish fast and eliminate unproductive waters
equally as fast. They can be fished in variety of ways from planer
to bottom bouncers. I typically use Reef Runner crankbaits because
exceptional wobble they produce. I generally long line these cranks,
use boards in shallow and when fish are spooky, like in clearer water.
key to catching walleye's on cranks is experimentation and duplication.
Once you catch a fish duplicate the exact boat speed, amount of line
and the size and shape of bait and you could have a good day runnin'
Once you have found a concentration of fish, slip bobbing can be the
deadliest way to catch walleyes yet. Many tournament anglers do not
this style of fishing but it has been proven to produce time and again.
simple J hook with an active leech on is sufficient. The more natural
can present the bait the better your odds at a good fish. Fish will
pass on moving baits but take a bait dangling right in front of their
noses. Never count out this simple yet deadly walleye pattern.
The springtime can offer some of the best fishing of the year. Get out
the water and try these techniques and I guarantee that you'll catch
fish and have more fun doing so. Remember to always take a kid fishing
introduce them to the outdoors at an early age, they'll thank you for
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