How To Catch Walleye In Any River
You can fish for (and catch) walleye during any season in most of the rivers hosting a population of walleye.
3 important "quick tips" for catching them in rivers:
1. Walleye are extremely sensitive to light. Keep this in mind. When it is bright and hot outside, walleye will head into the deeper areas of the river, and find underwater structure to hide in and around. Take this into account when you're fishing.
2. Search for walleye by dams and in eddies. Any place where current is broken, or meets with some still water are good areas to take a shot.
3. If you are trolling in a larger size river, consider drifing through possible walleye hot spots. Just cut the engine completely up current, and drift through. If you do troll, go slow, and use an "S" or "Zig Zag" pattern to cover the most ground. I always recommend a 3 way swivel on your rig when trolling as well.
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Also, when you're trolling a river, try to keep your baits just above the bottom to limit snags, and also keep the bait just above the eye level of bottom hanging walleye.
If the water is very clear, try lures and baits that are black, white, blue, and/or silver.
If the water visibility is low, try brighter colored baits such as orange or gold.
If you're trolling, I highly recommend using planer boards to keep your line away from the boat. This will descrease the odds of serious tangles.
Look for areas on the river where quick moving current meets a "break". Side eddies and pools are great spots.
When in doubt, start fishing about 20 feet deep. Obviously walley will hold at different depths through the season, depending on condition and temperature, but 20 feet is a good starting point when you are unsure.
You can also target deep holes and pockets around river bends, culverts, and dams. Walleye love ambushing prey from these areas.
Here's a good technique I've had some success with: bounce your bait along the bottom of the river, and reel it in fast and hard to attract aggressive walleye. Sometimes this works better than just letting it flit around with the current on it's own.
If you can, try night fishing the river as well, if it is legal in your area. Walleye are active night feeders, and you'll have some great spots all to yourself.
For jigs, I recommend greens and reds as good starting point colors. Then test and tweak your presentation from there. Also don't hesitate to test your jigs with live or scented cut bait as well.
On jig size: if you are in shallow or slow moving waters, 1/8 ounce jigs do best. Otherwise use 1/2 jigs in strong current or in the deep.
Now take these tips and test them out on your next walleye fishing "river run". Enjoy!
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