Spring fishing season is upon us, and with that many of you are spending weekends in your favorite fishing spot hoping to land that trophy fish. All anglers have their favorite fish species to catch; however, walleye are often a preferred dinner after a day on the lake. Here are USSA’s tips on where to find and how to best catch spring walleye:
Where to find them:
Walleye begin to spawn soon after the ice melts and tend to remain in shallow water to feed. Water temperature and sunlight play a large role in where walleye migrate, meaning you will most likely find them in water depths ranging from 2-15 feet. They love dark sandbars and weed beds, so fishing along the shore is also a good technique.
How to catch them:
All anglers have their own preferred method to reel in a walleye. But here are two methods used by many:
1) “Jigging”: The use of jigs is a popular way to catch walleye. Jigs fall to lake beds in shallow water where walleye tend to be making the lures appear as tasty treats.
Cast your jig away from the boat, and allow it to reach the lake bed before using a series of “jigging” or twitching motions to move the bait up and down – some refer to this jigging motion as if you are “bouncing a basketball.” Allow the jig to sink and the line to remain taught in-between each twitch or bounce.
It is not necessary to use live bait when jigging, however, many anglers use it for added attraction and scent. In the Spring, walleye tend to bite best at minnows – small red tail chubs or fatheads.
Pro Tip: Don’t “jig” too much. Often times, fishermen are too enthusiastic when jigging for walleye. Instead of long vertical strokes, use short lifts and drops to hook a walleye.
2) Trolling: Trolling allows you to cover a lot of ground and is an effective ways to catch feeding walleye. Trolling places your bait deep in the strike zone and is a great way to bring home a fair amount of walleye, especially for beginners.
If you are trolling in shallow water, it is best to use a side-planer board to carry your lure/bait a good distance away from the boat.
For trolling, we recommend using crank baits or other jigs, downriggers or planer boards.
For some new tips on how to catch a walleye dinner, go to the latest issue of the North American Fishing Club at http://www.fishingclub.com/digitalissues/2013april/index.html.