When water temps start approaching 50 degrees, baitfish (shiners, smelt, etc) begin migrating out of large bodies of water into adjacent feeder rivers…big walleyes are always close behind.
This migration occurs all across the walleye world. Big greenbacks move from Lake Winnipeg, MB into tributaries like the Red River and Pine Falls. Lake of the Woods ‘eyes follow schools of shiners into the Rainy River. Some Lake Superior walleye will run into the St. Louis River. The list goes on and on.
Start near the delta areas where the river dumps into the lake and work your way up from there. You’ll primarily be looking for holes, current breaks and back eddies. Feeder rivers and runoff pipes that pour into the primary river are also key spots. Scan with your electronics until you come across some activity. If you can find the bait, you’ve found the fish!
Lindy Rigs with a redtail chub is a tried and true tactic that will catch fish. The classic jig and minnow works great too. You could even try a jig tipped with a salted minnow (“salties”).
These bites can continue until these rivers are almost unnavigable due to ice. In spring of the year, the walleye will start dumping back out into the lake after they spawn, but that’s another story.