> The catching can be tough at this time of year…. It’s not necessarily because the fish aren’t eating…it’s more due to their location after the spawn is over. Or, should I say, due to the many locations they could be during this transition season.
> At this time of year, I cover as much water as possible to get a jig in front of the yaps of as many walleyes as I can muster. You’ll see me crankin’ up the main Mercury outboard on my Lund, running spot-to-spot, more than any other season.
> In general, males are the smaller-size fish of this species. They can often be found very near, if not still on, the very structure on which they were spawning: large rock piles to gravel-strewn reefs and flats, to weed beds.
> …run to as many likely spawning locations as possible…deploy [the] trolling motor and cast jigs and crankbaits in depths of 3-12′, keying in on areas adjacent to deep water.
> Large rocky and weedy flats that butt up to main-lake basins are my first choices to find them. In clear water, I’ll scan the flats while looking through a pair of high-quality polarized sunglasses. Then I’ll cast to the outer edges of weedbeds, as well right up onto rockpiles and gravel. In stained water, I use Lowrance’s HDS-LIVE to find structure, and perhaps even see the fish themselves, as well my bait.
> Another key area lies along steep drop-offs that butt right up to deep-water flats. Here, I’ll keep my boat out over deeper water, then cast up onto the flat and work the jig down the break.
> …best retrieve I’ve found is a short, 1-2′ lift of my rod tip…reeling in the slack as the jig slowly falls…allows the jig to swing back towards the boat while falling. Just before the jig hits bottom, I’ll repeat the lift and pendulum fall it all the way back to the boat.
> …set the hook on anything that doesn’t feel like all the other lifts and falls. Walleyes are notorious for striking extremely light. A hit may feel like nothing more than a slight “tick” telegraphed through the rod tip, or even just a twitch of the line.
> Rule #1 when jigging is to use as light a jighead as possible. Overall, a 1/8-oz head is my go-to…may need a 1/4-oz if the wind is up, grabbing my line and creating slack. If the fish are in extremely shallow water…I’ll go as light as 1/16-oz.
> I want my line to be as light as I can get away with…6-lb Berkley FireLine is my choice for jigging…super-thin and its nearly no-stretch properties make it extremely sensitive.
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