Outdoors column: Walleye quick-step

With such a late ice-out you can expect spring walleye patterns to move along pretty quickly. Water temps should heat up faster than normal and push everything along until we catch up with what might be considered normal.

Even so the good spring patterns like drifting or slowly trolling with a jig and minnow should stay plenty hot for the next couple of weeks or so.

Ron Anlauf made a quick move to pop this nice early season walleye.
Ron Anlauf made a quick move to pop this nice early season walleye.Submitted photo

Dragging a one-eighth ounce jig tipped with a shiner minnow catches fish wherever they swim, but is particularly effective on lakes like Winnie and Leech. Maybe it’s all of the sandy flats interspersed with patches of gravel in the four to 10 feet range, maybe it’s something else. Whatever the case, if you’re not jigging you might not be catching.

It’s a pretty simple program really. Head for the windy side of the lake and cast out a jig like a Northland Vegas jig and tip it with a spot-tail shiner (if you can find them) and work it along the bottom with a lift drop motion.

If there is enough wind you can drift.

If not, an electric motor like the Minn Kota Terrova can help you dial in the perfect speed which is enough to slowly move along while you pop the jig forward and then settle back to the bottom. Strikes typically come on the fall and all you might feel is some extra weight when you start to snap it. That might be perfect time to set the hook but if you’re missing fish you can try waiting a bit before the set.

It could be they take it in further or maybe it’s the change in angle when they start to move off, but in either case the delay can mean more fish hooked.

Windy days make for the hottest action, but you can still find some active fish in shallower water early in the season.

It might take quite a few moves before you run into a few biters so don’t give up.

Another option is to move a little deeper and maybe use a heavier jig if you can’t feel the bottom and keep on with the same lift or snap and drop technique. Deeper could be 10, 15 or even 20 feet or more depending on how calm it’s been and for how long.

The longer it’s been calm the more active fish you’ll find in deeper water.

See you on the water.