Each year there is a special time. We all have cabin fever, new tackle to try, and we have been to so many fishing seminars we feel we could now give a good seminar ourselves. It's called "Spring Fever". This is the time we have waited for all winter. Now that it is here, where should I go, what bait should I bring, what presentation should I use, and so on, and so on.
All of a sudden, we forget what we have heard at all these seminars, and for that matter, how we have caught walleyes before in the same place, same time frame. The truth of the matter is, there have been so many seminars on how to catch spring walleyes, and there are so many new ways. But guess what? It all boils down to a jig and minnow presentation. It's like re-inventing the wheel.
At this time of year, the fish are predictable. In fact this is the one time of year that they are the most predictable. Water temps and water levels usually will play a big factor, but Mother Nature plays the biggest. Walleyes like to stage just outside of their spawning grounds, waiting for the water to warm to just that right temp. If you know where the fish spawn, then look for those staging area's down stream from the spawning ground. Walleyes will set up in eddy's below the spawning grounds recouping from that journey.
This is the usual happenings in a River system. On lakes, check out the sandy, gravel areas then go to deeper water close by. If you were to ask 5 different fish biologists what temperature walleyes spawn, chances are you would get 5 different answers but they would be close.
It seems the best average is 43-47 degree's. So you take it from there. Don't wait till the water is this warm or you will miss the best bite of all. Usually the first and the last one to bite are the males. The females will go on a bite for a short while, just prior to spawning, but after they finish they are ready to eat. After the females make their journey back to where ever they came from, the males are still around, and again, they are feeding heavy. There seems to be a time frame of about one week prior to the spawn, and then about two-three weeks after the spawn. This is what is known as " The Spring Walleye Run". Have you ever heard the caption, The Wolf River Walleye Run, this is what everyone around Wisconsin hears.
As I mentioned earlier, the best presentation in the spring is a simple jig and minnow combo. Vertical jigging, as everyone knows, is not as simple as it sounds. I have been on the river in spring, and I see guys who will drift with the current, and go by me like I am standing still. All they are doing is drifting with the current . When they make their next pass, they ask, "How are you catching those fish"? What they have done, is not contact bottom with their jig. When vertical jigging, simply use a jig heavy enough to maintain bottom contact, NOT DRAGGING IT, but by lifting it then setting it back down. Do not let it set long or you will get snagged or pick up last years grass and leaves.
I always tell people to place a bobber on a string about 4-6 ft long, throw it in the water, tie one end to your boat and make sure there is about 2-3 ft of slack in the line. Start drifting and maintain the same amount of slack at all times. If you can do this, and jig slow, up and down, only bumping bottom with your jig on the downward motion, then you are Vertical Jigging!
This presentation is popular on the rivers in spring. If you are fishing a lake, then I would either pitch light jigs to the area you have chosen, or use slip bobbers.
I hope this simple reminder helps you through the Cabin Fever, because by writing this, it has helped me remember what to do in spring fishing. No one needs to be re-taught how to fish, just reminded of the things we already know.
If you think about going fishing Tomorrow, Go. If you don't, tomorrow has just become yesterday, and you didn't go! Take a kid with you!