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3 FOOLPROOF Methods For Catching Shallow Walleyes!

Updated: Apr 27

Springtime is walleye time here in the Midwest, and if you are anything like me, nothing is quite as exciting as the anticipation of a limit of walleyes the night before the inland walleye season opener.  For most states in the upper Midwest, walleye season opens in early May and this is prime time to catch walleyes shallow. These fish have recently finished spawning and water temps and forage are both optimal in shallow water at this time of year so they usually stick around for 3-5 weeks.  Despite the popularity of live bait in the spring, I generally prefer to target these fish with artificial lures and that's what we will be discussing here. 

     "Shallow" is a relative term that is typically determined by water clarity and average depth of the lake you are fishing.  In most deep, clear lakes, shallow is considered anything less than 10' whereas in a dark, stained shallower lake, "shallow" might mean only 18" to 36" of water.  Any way you slice it, this will be the shallowest depth that you will find walleyes for the entire year on any given water body. 

        To target shallow walleyes with artificial lures I typically employ a 3-pronged approach.  I usually start with shallow to mid-depth running jerkbaits (especially in low light conditions or stained water).  You can work along a bank or the top of a rock spine fairly quickly with a jerkbait and it definitely works well for triggering fish in cold water.  A snap-pause, snap retrieve works the best with some variance in your pause length until you figure out how long the fish want the bait to hang there.  My second go-to method is a 1/4 oz or 1/8 oz jighead with a slim profile 3" paddletail swimbait.  I typically either let this bait settle to bottom and then straight retrieve it with a slow roll, or slowly lift and drop it on the way in.  Either way, work it SLOW.  The third method is employing lipless crankbait as a jigging lure.  These really work well in current areas and around rock.  I like to jig them with a slow rip off the bottom and let them drop back to bottom and repeat.  

         Springtime is viewed by many as the best time of year to catch walleyes and I tend to agree. If you have never tried artificial lures early in the season, I highly recommend that you give the above methods a try!  Hopefully these lure tips will help you become a better shallow water walleye angler this spring. Tight lines!

Caleb Wistad, Hookedupwi

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