Tips for targeting walleye when the water’s cool and the days are still short
#3 Use vertical jigs over structure
Anchoring over structure and jigging vertically is a fun way to catch early-season walleye. Let the leech- or crawler-tipped jig settle to the bottom, then slowly work it until you find an effective pattern. Sometimes, rhythmic jigging will produce strikes, while on other occasions, just letting the jig suspend motionless or twitching it on the bottom will trigger a hit.
The key to success with this presentation is being able to feel the jig and set it when a fish strikes. For the best results, use the smallest-sized jig possible. Keep in mind, however, that factors such as increases in wind speed, current or water depth often require upsizing to a heavier jig so you can stay in contact with your offering.
To anchor, simply drop down a traditional anchor and let out enough rope to hold the boat on the spot to be fished. You can also anchor down by positioning the back of the boat into the wind or current, then use a transom-mounted trolling motor to hold the boat in place. Another option is to use a bow-mounted electric equipped with the likes of Minn Kota’s i-Pilot Spot-Lock feature to hover over the spot.
A spinning reel spooled with four- to six-pound fluorocarbon along with a 6½- or seven-foot medium-power, fast-action rod works great for vertical jigging, as the set-up allows you to get your offering away from the boat, detect bites and enjoy solid hooksets.