SPRING RIVER WALLEYE JIGGING
Crestliner Pro Staff
Walleyes will head up the rivers in spring to get ready for their annual spawning runs. This is where some of the largest fish of the season will be found. As the water warms, the walleyes will become more active as they search for food. There are some unique strategies to use to land these fish.
It is important to start with the right equipment, boat, and proper electric trolling motor since boat control is one of the key elements to catch good walleyes. Low-profile V-bottom 15' -20' length boats work best in rivers. Crestliner offers a variety of quality walleye boats to meet the needs of novice to tournament anglers.
When the wind is blowing and the current is up, you will need lots of trolling motor power (24 or 36 volts is best) to keep your line in that vertical position with the jig just off the bottom of the river bed. Bow-mounted electric trolling motors have become very popular, but transom-mounted electrics can also be used to back troll. Fish will hide behind rocks or boulders, especially where the river makes the turns to create that natural eddy of fast to slow current. The walleye and other predatory fish will be in schools to wait for their next meal that comes drifting down stream. In early spring, try shallow areas with warmer water temperatures. Water temperature is key because that is where you will find the minnows that the walleyes will feed on. Look for warm water discharges or areas where the sun will warm slower-moving currents. Use lighter round ball jigs which will work the bait slower and keep it in the strike zone. Use 3/8 ¿ 1/2 oz. jigs in shallow water with light winds, or 5/8 ¿ 3/4 oz. jigs in deeper water or heavier wind conditions. Try chartreuse, black, blue and white, or fire-tiger colors for best results. We have found that Detroit Custom Tackle jigs work very well.
For rod & reel spinning combos, we like to use 5 ½, 6, or 6 ½ feet rods. My favorite size is 6 feet. Walleyes have hard bony mouths so a very fast taper rod will give you power to set the hook. A high quality graphite rod with HM 6, 7, or 8 rod blank will give you the sensitivity needed to feel the light-biting walleyes. Good line choice is important, so try hi vis 6-8 lb. superbraids. Lighter lines will help keep your line in the vertical position so do not be afraid to even try 4-8 lb. superbraids. They are plenty strong! Good lines to try are: Berkley Fire Line and Spiderwire.
There are two basic ways to tie line to the jigs. The first is: superbraid directly to jig using a Trilene knot with 6 -8 wraps or a polymer knot. The second method is: superbraid to crane or barrel swivel to 3-5 feet of 10-12 lb. fluorocarbon line to the jig head.
Add live emerald shiner minnows or Berkley Gulp Imitations to your jigs and get ready for some of the best fishing action of the year!