Walleyes can be caught from shore in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs throughout the year. In lakes, top spots include the mouths of feeder creeks and outlets, including culvert areas that connect marshes or shallow lakes to the main lake. In Canadian Shield lakes, large eddies below barriers like waterfalls or rapids hold hordes of walleyes in spring. Most current areas have a few distinct spots that break the current and provide a resting place for walleyes and baitfish. The edge of current seams–where moving water meets calm water–is a good spot for walleyes to ambush a passing meal.
Narrows, which are bottlenecked waterways connecting two larger bodies of water, often have some current that attracts baitfish and walleyes. The best spots vary depending on the size of the narrows, both length and width, and the size of the two connected bodies of water. Where current is swift, downcurrent areas attract baitfish and walleyes. Deeper holes near or in the narrows might also hold walleyes, though active fish tend to hold in shallower water.
On windy days, look for walleyes along windswept shorelines. Long stretches of shoreline or points covered with rocks or pebbles can be good. Where 1 to 3 feet of water meet the shore is an ideal spot for walleyes to trap baitfish. Main-lake points are good locations on windy days, too.
Walleyes might also pass through current areas into back bays or marshy areas commonly considered good carp spots. When fish aren’t in traditional current spots, back bays are worth a look. Start by investigating the mouths of bays or culverts that connect the slough to the main lake. Deeper water, like a creek channel or deeper hole within a bay, sometimes concentrates fish.
In rivers, walleyes often stage near dams until after they spawn. Structure along the main current creates current breaks and eddies, again providing a place to rest and ambush prey. Riprap along causeways, roads, and railroad crossings provide current breaks that often can be reached from shore. Tributary rivers and streams can be good, too. Tributary water likely is warmer, which attracts baitfish and walleyes.
Baitfish and young-of-the-year fish like crappies, perch, and bullheads use shoreline weeds or flooded timber to hide from predators. A weedless jig, like Lindy’s Veg-E-Jig, is ideal for working livebait or soft plastic baits through weeds and wood. The key is to hop and weave your bait through the cover slowly enough to give walleyes time to react to and ambush your bait.
Shallow-running cranks, such as a Rapala Floating Minnow, or neutrally-buoyant minnowbaits, such as a Smithwick Suspending Super Rogue, are top crankbait choices in the shallows. At rest, neutrally buoyant baits hang level, neither rising nor sinking–a proven trigger for trailing walleyes.
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