So here we are, end of March and it’s that time, time to hit some of the first open water. The water temps are warming up and your chance at some of the biggest Walleye of the season is now.
RESEARCH- The more you know about Walleyes seasonal movements, the better your chances are at finding them. Walleye spawn a lot earlier than people think. They usually start their pre spawn movement when water temps start to reach 38-40F. Usually spawning will occur when it reaches 44-48F. Knowing where they are going to spawn like cobble flats or riffles in river channels and mouths where they run into a bigger lake or reservoir narrows the water you need to search. Now there will be vast differences in water temps throughout any body of water, especially when you add in weather. Cool winds can drop water temps, south facing shorelines that get more sunlight will be considerably warmer. Darker silt bottoms will jump water temperature as well. Add to that any runoff that is triggered by rain fall can drop or raise temperatures are also factors.
Current is probably the most important clue to finding fish. Find an area that has warmer water temps that have some current, and you are loading the bases. Look for areas where the current is broken by a structure that are near deeper water where fish that are moving from. Small bars that break current and allow fish to hold are good bets. Outside corners, and any edges, even as small as 1’ can attracted them.
WHAT TO USE
Jigs are hard to beat this time of year, but size them to the situation. Deeper water and or current usually dictate heavier. Team them with soft plastic and keep them on the bottom. 1/4-5/8oz are good choices and narrow plastics cut through the water and fish deeper. You see where this is going, don’t be tempted to use lighter jigs, which a lot of people believe are better. If you are not on the bottom, you are wasting your time!!! Use fairly small hops to move the jig, you can get a little more aggressive if the water temperature rises. Trolling cranks can also be productive, especially if you can get them near the bottom. Knowing how deep they dive on how many feet of line is probably the most important factor and a little experimentation can solve this.
Remember that the window for active fish is pretty small and will very. Light penetration will move fish from shallow water. Low light in the afternoon due to cloud cover can trigger a pretty intense bite one day but clear skies the next will make the fish move to the deeper edges. Night fishing will see Walleye move right in to the shallowest edges.
Now all that’s left is hitting the water and finding them, don’t forget to bring clothes for cold and wind!!! Good luck out there!!!