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Mastering Springtime Walleyes: Three Proven Techniques for Successful Fishing

Mastering Springtime Walleyes

It’s finally that time of year! The shallows are teaming with life and post-spawn walleyes are hungry and feeding hard! In the next few paragraphs I’m going to cover three well-established techniques that have proven effective for catching springtime walleyes in shallow water.  Additionally, we'll explore three lesser-known methods that have yielded excellent results for those willing to try something different. By the end of this article, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of how to successfully target walleyes during spring. 

       During the spring, walleyes can be found lingering in shallow water after the spawning season. They are attracted to the warmer water, and the presence of baitfish in these areas makes them even more appealing. Depending on the body of water, shallow can refer to depths ranging from two to about 12 feet. Darker stained bodies of water tend to have shallower walleyes, while clearer bodies of water may require slightly deeper fishing. Spring is an opportune time to target walleyes as they are more aggressive, easier to locate, and concentrated in specific areas. This period typically lasts from April through mid-June when water temperatures reach the mid-60s to low 70s.

Mastering Springtime Walleyes

Preferred Techniques for Mastering Springtime Walleyes:

  1. Jig and Minnow: The jig and minnow combination is a tried and true method for catching walleyes. Using a plain lead head jig in weights ranging from 1/8 to 3/8 ounces, you can present the bait naturally by tipping it with a minnow. This technique works well when casting or pitching the jig around shallow cover such as gravel flats, gravel bars, or weed edges. The jig and minnow approach offers a slower presentation, making it ideal for enticing finicky walleyes.

  2. Jerkbait Fishing: Jerkbaits, such as the Rapala X-Rap and Shadow Rap Deep, have been effective in catching walleyes for years. These lures are designed to mimic baitfish and can be casted onto shallow rocks, gravel, or sandy areas where walleyes tend to congregate. A twitch-pause retrieve, where the bait moves quickly before hanging motionless, triggers the walleyes to strike. This method is highly productive and can also attract other species like smallmouth bass.

  3. Lipless Crankbait: Lipless crankbaits, like the Z Viber from EuroTackle, offer a unique approach to catching walleyes in the spring. These baits sink quickly and can be fished with a jigging technique. Cast the bait out, let it sink to the bottom, and then employ a series of upward pulls followed by drops to imitate a wounded baitfish. The flash and rattle of a lipless crankbait can entice aggressive strikes from walleyes.

Mastering Springtime Walleyes

Alternative Techniques for Springtime Walleye Fishing:

  1. Slip Bobbering: While slip bobbering is typically associated with deeper water and different bait types, it can be highly effective for walleyes in the springtime. Rigging a slip float with a sizable float, split shot weights, and a fluorocarbon leader, you can present larger minnows effectively. This method works best when targeting specific fish you can observe on live sonar or side imaging. By allowing the minnow to swim freely on a circle hook, you can entice walleyes into biting without gut hooking them.

  2. Finesse Swimbait: Using a finesse swimbait with a thinner body and smaller boot tail can be a game-changer in the spring. This technique involves pitching the swimbait around areas with current or similar spots where you would typically use a stick bait.  

  3. Weedless jig head with straight tail worm:  This setup allows you to navigate through weed beds without getting tangled up while enticing walleyes to bite. Choose a weedless jig with a wide gap hook and pair it with a straight tail jig worm, preferably in natural colors like green pumpkin or watermelon. Cast the rig into the weed pockets or along weed edges and retrieve it slowly, allowing the bait to swim through the vegetation. The weedless design helps you keep the bait in the strike zone longer, increasing your chances of hooking a walleye. 


Mastering Springtime Walleyes

With these proven techniques and alternative methods in your fishing arsenal, you're well-equipped to Mastering Springtime Walleyes in shallow water this spring. Remember to adapt your approach based on the specific conditions of the body of water you're fishing in and be patient as you explore different presentations and depths. Keep experimenting and adjusting your tactics until you find what works best for the walleyes in your area. So, grab your gear, head to the shallows, and enjoy a successful walleye fishing adventure this spring!

Caleb Wistad


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