Walleye Fishing

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Video water temp for walleye spawn

Late fall until ice up offers some of Iowa’s best walleye fishing, with a good chance of catching a real trophy (>10 lbs.) in deep, low-current overwintering areas. Use live bait with a slow retrieve to increase your chance of catching walleyes in these overwintering areas. Try a jig or a 3-way rig tipped with a fathead minnow. Use these same techniques to target walleyes in the Mississippi River tailwater areas below the lock and dams.

Walleyes start to move to their spawning spots as spring begins and water temperatures rise. Dams are good places to catch walleyes, but don’t avoid the river section further downstream that often provides deeper resting pools for migrating walleyes. Use a jig and twister combination or baitfish imitation crankbait as water temperatures rise and walleyes become more aggressive. A slip bobber rig tipped with a minnow or leach fished close to known spawning areas is a great choice in lakes and reservoirs. A 1/8 ounce jig tipped with a minnow or leach can also work well. Try fishing these areas at night when walleyes are more active.

The outside bends in a river usually has the deepest water and are great places to find walleyes in spring through fall. Try near log jams and fallen trees if available. These structures provide cover and attract forage to the area. Fish tight to the trees with a 1/8 ounce jig, but don’t stay in one spot too long. Throw minnow imitation crankbaits between the inside sandbar and the deep outside bend.

Walleyes spread out more in summer through early fall so move often. If you don’t catch a walleye in 20 minutes move to the next spot to look for hungry fish. On rivers, look for areas of slack water near current and underwater obstructions. Walleyes often use current breaks (made by fallen trees, rocks, bridge abutments or abrupt changes in the channels) because they offer resting areas out of the current and deeper water near food sources. Run habitats between riffles and deep outside bends can be great places to fish in the middle of the summer. They tend to have moderate water speeds and depths (3-5 feet). Try fishing eddies made by boulders and downed trees. Fish a 1/8 oz. jig with a ringworm or half a nightcrawler along the current seam.

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Summer is a great time to troll crankbaits and 3-way rigs near deep weed beds in lakes and over hard bottomed flats in reservoirs. Walleye fishing the wing dams on the Mississippi River can be great in the summer. Fish a 3-way rig on the upstream side of the wing dam.

Riffles, shallow rocky areas in rivers and streams, are great spots to fish for walleyes in the spring (April) and fall (October). Use a 1/8 oz. jig with a twister tail or throw a shallow-running, minnow-imitation crankbait. These riffle areas can be very good during low light conditions (early morning/late evening) when walleyes use their superior night vision to invade these shallows to search for an easy meal. Areas of streams that have boulders or rip rap are also great areas to catch walleyes. Try baits that imitate crayfish along these rocky areas.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>