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How to fish deep holes in rivers during the winter time? - Walleye Message Central
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Old 11-20-2020, 01:23 PM
Opus Dog Opus Dog is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Papillion, Ne
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Default How to fish deep holes in rivers during the winter time?


I was wondering what the best tactics might be for fishing holes in rivers during the middle of winter into early spring might be? Average depth of the river will be 10-14 feet and then drop to 25 to 30 feet for a 1/4 to 1/2 a mile. Do you float down stream with the bow pointed forward sliding backwards slowly with a jig and minnow down stream into the hole? Pull slowly up river with a jig? Where might the walleye be found in a hole? Pull a lindy rig upstream? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Joe
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Old 11-20-2020, 03:11 PM
Windy City Windy City is offline
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 49

I used to fish a river in Iowa at a deep hole just as you are describing. We would control the boat facing up stream with the trolling motor and vertical jig with a heavy enough blade bait to stay just off the bottom.

Snap up, drop down. I assume any jig and minnow combo would work too.

Upriver side of the hole, drastic drop or wall or behind large structure are key spots on spots.

If that don't work pull pins and drop a few grenades.
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Old 11-20-2020, 03:35 PM
Grumps Grumps is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Central MN
Posts: 116

My first question is are you trying to find fish or catch fish you have already found?

We have caught hundreds of walleyes and sauger on Pool 9 of the Mississippi River from October to March.

Many times they are stacked up in the main channel deep holes (25-45') formed in front of closing dams. Best technique for us is straight up and down vertical jigging with aspirin shaped 1/2 - 1 oz scented hair jigs with trailer hooks or sonars.

If fish are scattered, slow upstream trolling with crankbaits will usually work but finding the pattern can be tough as current/depth/turbidity can change daily/hourly.

Another effective technique is working riprap/wing dams with jigs and minnows/plastics. I anchor/spot lock, cast about 20 times then move a bit.

It sometimes takes a light touch to work wing dams as the fish will only hit the jig moving across the face or on the back slope. Have to find just the right cast angle and jig weight.

I'd budget about two dozen jigs per outing at first (cheapest ones you can find with bendable wire hooks.)

The colder the water the slower I fish.

Lots more info available on youtube.

Last edited by Grumps; 11-20-2020 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 11-23-2020, 05:10 AM
brigeton brigeton is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Grant, Mi
Posts: 1,095

The method used for jigging deep rivers is to drift with the current with your bow pointed into the wind counteracting the wind with your trolling motor to keep your line vertical. If the wind starts blowing you offline so your line isn't vertical give a little burst of power to stay vertical. This is the method used by nearly everyone on the Detroit river.
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:47 AM
hnd hnd is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Quad Cities, IL
Posts: 2,116

pull a dubuque rig up stream at .3-.5 mph if you can. if it takes pegging your trolling motor to make that happen, drift it with the appropriate sized jig.
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Old 11-28-2020, 04:20 PM
REW REW is offline
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Join Date: Nov 1999
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Use exactly the same techniques in the winter time as you do in the summer time to fish the deep holes in the river.

Good luck
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