Walleye season is here or very near throughout walleye country. There are several good ways to catch walleyes in the spring. Minnow shaped stick baits can be good. So can a live-bait rig or a slip-bobber set-up. But, if limited to one type of lure presentation, many of the most successful walleye anglers would choose a jig for spring walleyes. Following are some ideas for jigging up more spring walleyes.
Jigs come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Shape and size are critical considerations, and much of the time, color will also be an important factor. Sometimes when they’re really aggressive, walleyes will hit any color you put out there, but often one color will be better than another. Chartreuse or orange are good colors, but it usually works better to go with jigs that incorporate a couple of colors. You’re increasing the odds of showing the walleyes a color that appeals to them.
Early in the year, walleyes will be found shallow… less than twelve feet in many bodies of water. A sixteenth or eighth ounce head will be best in many situations. If you’re fishing an area that has a rock bottom, use a jig that will stay near the bottom, but not so heavy that it falls quickly into the rocks. If you’re getting snagged every now and then, you’ve got about the right size jig. If you’re getting snagged all the time, lighten up a bit.
Pay attention to the shape of the jig head. A round head jig is a traditional favorite. But early in the year, while the water is still chilly, a stand-up head is often better. A stand-up head does just that: When it’s at rest on the bottom, it stands up. The hook is up off the bottom. We’re usually tipping our jig with a minnow this time of year, so the minnow is also standing up off the bottom in easy view of any nearby walleyes. A round head jig will lay flat on the bottom, which makes it harder for the fish to see. In the spring, you can’t beat a stand-up Fire-Ball jig. It has a short-shanked hook with a wide gap, so the hooking percentages are outstanding.
A dragging presentation is often best early in the year. The cold water makes the fish a little sluggish, so they’ll respond better to a jig slowly crawling across the bottom. When the water warms up, a faster retrieve will be better.
A sensitive rod will help you detect those soft takes that are so common in the spring. A Fenwick HMG or Walleye Elite Tech medium or medium light action spinning rod spooled with six pound test Trilene XT or Sensation will enable you to better feel those light-biters.
The first fishing trip of the year is something we all look forward to. If you’re after walleyes, and if you keep these ideas in mind, you’re greatly increasing your chance for success.