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Bass Ttactics for High
Water Spring Walleyes
It's the beginning of April, that magic time of year for
the fisherman who's been waiting all winter to catch those wonderful walleyes.
We've watched all the fishing shows this past winter. We've read
all the magazines and seen all the videos. We've even gone to numerous
outdoor shows and seminars learning all we ran about our favorite species,
the walleye.Now, it's time to put everything we've learned to use.
It's spring on Wisconsin's own Wisconsin River and the bordering Mississippi
River. The mild winter caused northern Wisconsin snow cover to melt
early, but a late winter/early spring snow dumped snow up north and copious
amounts of rain in the southern half of the state.It's time for spring
walleye fishing on the Wisconsin River, but in the wink of an eye water
levels rose dramatically causing the river to overflow their banks and
flood backwaters everywhere. The river's main channel is roaring
with dam gates open up and down the Wisconsin River, making the normal
placid river a fisherman's nightmare. What does a person do to catch
walleyes during this high water period?I'll tell you what I do and have
been doing to be successful during this difficult period.First, remember
that water temperature is in the mid forties (40s), nights have been moderate
with low temperatures still in the 40s and 50s, there's been some warm
rain, and finally dam gates have been opened allowing fresh water (i.e.
baitfish, bugs, other organisms) into a river system that has been stagnate
for months. The water flowing has rejuvenated the whole river system.
But, where do these ready-to-spawn walleyes go during the sudden period
of high water?Walleyes will move into shallow flooded timber and brush
during these periods. Instead of thinking like a normal walleye angler
does this time of year; light jigs, minnows, light line, and plain hooks
I take a page from the bass fisherman. I switch to 1) a heavier jig,
usually 1/4 or 3/8 oz., instead of the normal 1/16 or 1/8 oz. jig. 2) I'm
swimming my jig fast enough to just tic bottom occasionally. Dragging
a Jig here would result in constant snags and breakoffs, hense reel fast
enough to prevent getting constantly caught. I also switch from live
bait (minnows) to plastic-scented twister tails which stay on your jig
better than live bait and seem to attract fish better with its flash and
vibration, reel fast enough to get the jig and plastic through the brush
and wood. Occasionally, I lift the jig and lot it fall. Hits
usually come on the fall. But, the most important thing I de) is
to switch from 6 lb. Stren Magnothin the 10 lb. coffee colored Easy
Cast. The coffee color blends beautifully with the stained water.
The 10 lb. test East Cast allows you to pull out of most of your snags.
if I used 6 lb. test line I wouldconstantly be re-tieing and losing jigs,
You are going to lose some Jigs and break off on the occasional stump,
but you are going to be able to fish and you will catch fish in the wood,in
these extreme conditions, I don't think the jig color or tail color makes
that much difference. I constantly change Jigs and tail colors, until
I find what the fish want. The walleyes are in the shallows to get
out of the strong current flow, to eat since the baitfish have moved into
the brush cover and finally they're looking for a place to drop their eggs.So
remember this spring when confronted with high water, go shallow, right
up into the wood, trees, and brush; go to a heavier line, preferably 10
lb. test; and use plastic twister tails changing colors until you find
the profile these fish want.You can anchor outside these wooded areas,
or use a push pole to get back into the timber, or you can wade making
short casts right into little pockets and openings. I guarantee the
walleyes will be there, now you have the technique and tactic to get at
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