Jigs tipped with soft plastic, like a Berkley Power Grub, or soft-plastic shad bodies featuring a heavy boot tail like Mister Twister’s Sassy Shad, also are top producers. Large-profile soft plastic shad bodies, like a Walleye Assassin 4-inch Turbo Shad, rigged on a jighead, are good baits at night. A grub rigged on an 1/8-ounce jig’s a good combo for most shallow situations. Use a slow, steady retrieve with an occasional lift and drop to trigger strikes.
A Few Shoreline Locations:
- Narrows–thin, bottlenecked waterways connecting two larger bodies of water•funnel fish when there’s enough current to attract baitfish and walleyes.
- In moderately fertile and fertile lakes check areas where running water enters the lake or where necked-down areas create current between lakes.
- Sandy beaches in shallow, fertile lakes, and around the edges of swimming beaches on any walleye lake.
- River eddies below dams, large and small.
- The confluence of tributary streams.
- Larger eddy areas where the river widens below prominent barriers like waterfalls or rapids, particularly in Canadian Shield lakes.
- In reservoirs, check the flats at the mouth of prominent creek arms where the creek arm connects to the main reservoir.
- Prominent points inside major creek arms.
- Riprap along the dam face or shorelines.
- In Canadian Shield lakes, flats or points at the mouth of shallow, sandy bays near deep water in the main lake attract fish.
- In fertile lakes, sandy points at the mouth of muck bays attract fish during the autumn frog migration.
Typical Shallow Walleye Lake–Limited Structural Features
Shallow walleye lakes are difficult to fish during the day because of their lack of structural elements to concentrate fish. Find a prominent point, hump, or weedbed, and chances are you can catch walleyes during the day using a standard approach–livebait rigs and jigs. But if the lake is basically a shallow dishpan with no distinct features, you’re usually better off fishing at night in a spot that concentrates fish in a limited area along the shoreline.
In most cases, this will be a current area. It draws both walleyes and baitfish to a small spot where they can be reached effectively. Maybe not a classic example of walleye behavior, but on these lakes it’s usually an overlooked pattern for walleyes, particularly big ones. The big fish hold somewhere outside these areas in deeper water during the day, moving into the current to feed at night.
Not all current areas offer the same potential. The best have classic hard bottoms. Pure sand will produce only if plenty of forage is moving through the area. As the season progresses and everything else freezes, almost any open flowing spot can become a hot spot. The key, once again, is presence of prey.
Areas A are shallow backwater areas connected to the main lake. Prey move in and out during the night and hungry walleyes ambush them.
Area B is where current flows from one lake to another. It’s particularly good where a more fertile, food-rich eutrophic lake is connected to a meso lake. As the season progresses, predators and prey congregate on the current side.
Area C is an example of a lake outlet flowing over a dam and into a river. Fish the river if it’s large enough to hold numbers of fish, or fish the area above the dam. These areas may be related to a pumping station or powerhouse, becoming dynamite later in the season when everything else freezes.
Area D is a feeder creek with flowing water. Although creek mouths entering huge flats produce at times, the best drop into or offer immediate access to deeper water.
Area A-1 is better than A-2 because of deeper water nearby. Weed remnants in current areas seem to hold forage.
Find a decent area where no one else is fishing and anything can happen.
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