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walleye, walleyes, jigging, jig, jigs
Walleyes INC
Day Dream Walleyes
By Sam Anderson
What a day for a day dream what a day for a day dreaming boy. I've been lost in a day dream, Dreaming about.... ) "Lovin Spoonful"

Growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River I learned at a very early age that most of the fish that live in current seek out slack water areas and current breaks.  They like to be in these areas because it provides a food source for them.  All they simply have to do is wait for the food to pass by and select the food they desire.  Come to think of it, this is a pretty easy life. 

A river's course marks myriad changes in direction and flow; shallow stretches, mid depth runs, bends, holes, and other distinctive structural features interrupt and deflect the flow, creating hiding holding places for all fish, from the tinniest minnow to the greatest predator.  Among these characteristics, holes typically rank as the foremost fish attractors, especially in the spring, when holes become increasingly important as collectors of migrating walleyes. 

Holes typically form at outside river bends or tributary intersections, though they can occur almost anywhere water is constricted and gouges out the bottom.  Most have current, yet in portions, current is greatly reduced or negligible.  At the very least, the leading upriver edge of the hole forms a current deflecting lip below which walleyes lie, anticipating prey tumbling into the hole. 
Rivers are everywhere, and most of them have a good population of fish.  Most anglers live close to a river, therefore it's easy to get onto a good bite when the urge strikes you.  In fact, some rivers that border states have no closed season on a variety of species.  This enables the angler to get out and do some fishing even during the cold winter months. 

Fish can be located below a lock and dam on the Mississippi or Ohio river.  Off the tip of a big sand bar on the Missouri or Minnesota or off a logjam on the Des Moines River in Iowa.  They might be in a bridge hole on the Red River of the North or they can be on an outside bend of the Little Muddy in North Dakota or the Tippecanoe in Indiana. 

Other spots may be structure like gravel or sand bars, shallow rocky shoals near drop-offs, wave washed points, deserted sandy bottom beaches, or bottle necks between two different land masses.  Rip rap is also good, particularly where current hits the rock, such as on a windy point with deep water access, or near a culvert where fresh water is filtering through a rock causeway. 

Feeder streams funneling into a river represent yet other spots which fishermen should check out.  The mouths of these tributaries often turn into fishing gold mines, especially after a heavy rain washes fresh food and fresh water into the river. 

Depending on the force of the current and the water clarity, fish may be as shallow as a couple feet, or in the bottom of a washout hole, or river channel 15 to 20 feet deep.  If the current is stronger than normal, the fish probably are hunkered in a slack water area, All anglers must learn that "current" sets the rules for location and presentation when fishing rivers. 

Therefore, river walleyes tend to be right on the bottom or behind a submerged log out of the current.  These river walleyes grow long and lean in the current areas and they try to stay out of current to preserve energy. When anglers learn this simple rule they can explore the tailout area behind a sand bar or in a depression in a long stretch of river channel.  Or they may find fish behind a "break or barrier" like a point or wing dam, or a log or group of rocks,.  A group of fish could be scattered on a big bar (flat) on the slack water side of the river, the side opposite an outside river bend, where the channel runs against the bank. 

What I  have just described to you are"breaks and barriers".  A"break"is anything that will slow down or divert the current.  Fish will be located behind such structure as rocks, wing dams, logs and stumps.  A "barrier" is anything that will stop a fish from moving on, such as, holes or depressions in the floor of the river, a dam, or a break water structure for harbors, or the narrowing of the river into a channel.  When fish are on the move, concentrate on these structures.  Fish will usually lay in ambush waiting for food to swim by.  Usually fish (and large ones) will be in the warmer water less than 12 feet deep, chasing bait fish.
When looking for those bait fish, I recommend  using a good electronic unit.  The Lowrance Electronics the walleye pro's choice 350 A is a great model for me.  This Lowrance Electronics the walleye pro's choice unit will allow you to see the difference in the hard and soft transition areas, Since river fish rarely suspend, the resolution on these units allows you to locate and see fish that are tight to the bottom.
Vertical jigging is very popular, and the key to fishing a jig vertically in current, is boat control.  Work these areas over with a controlled drift.  The control comes from positioning your boat sideways into the current and using your trolling motors or a Sea Anchor "drift sock" to slow down your drift and your presentation. 

Two main differences between jigs and blades and spoons are: blades and spoons typically are worked with a more aggressive hop and fall motion.  Use as much as 24 inch upward sweep of the road tip to rocket them upward, then follow them back down on a semi taunt line to detect strikes on the fall.  Blades wobble best on the upward surge, spoons better on the downward flutter.  And in rivers, spoons and blades typically offer fewer casting applications than jigs, their treble hooks are prone to snag when cast.  Shoreline structures spout abundant rocks and wood, and even the bottoms of holes collect bits of wood that grab trebles.  Stick to vertical jigging with spoons and blades in most current conditions. 

Another structural element that I key on, are the wing dams.  In most the Mississippi there are several wing dams either near the tail water area or down river from the dam, When fishing a wing dam, I concentrate on the up current side of each wing dam or the flats between them.  An angler should look for the boil line (disturbed water on the surface) that signifies the presence of a wing dam and check out the scour hole behind the wing dam to see if it is large enough to hold inactive fish.  Wing darns hold fish all year long but I like to fish them in the spring and the summer.
Fish are unusually spooky along wing dams and noisy gas engines will spook the fish.  I prefer to use quieter electric motors, like my bow mount Motorguide trolling motors trolling motor.  The key element here is presentation, to keep the bait in front of the fish.  Point the bow into the current and "slip" down at about current speed.  Keep baits in the strike zone longer by sweeping the baits across the structure allowing the bait to fall at a slow rate to naturally present the bait to the fish.  It is essential, to slow down your drift with the electric motor as you go over the structure and watch your depth finder for "breaks and barriers".  You might have to run your big motor or a kicker motor in reverse to slow the presentation down even more if the current is increased.  If the fish are shallow, you might want to anchor and use your bow mount motor to swing your bait and change your position on the face of the wing dam.
I don't know about you, but just thinking of hooking a trophy walleye in the spring on a spoon has got me day dreaming and singing songs from the Lovin' Spoonful.

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