The big dance is over with frisky male walleyes looking for fun while slack-bellied females slide back downstream a little higher in the water column.
Sharply falling water temps when it was just about show time pushed spawning back a couple of weeks. But they got-er-done over the weekend. Water temp on April 24 was a solid 49-50 in a brutal south wind which switched to WSW in the early afternoon and then really started to howl. Needless to say, boat control was tricky especially since my trolling motor decided not to work. A quick run to J-Man MinnKota repair got me back on the water for tomorrow…But the possibility of a hard frost tonite will drop temps again making walleye/saugers in sand based running sloughs a better option than chasing smallmouth bass which begin their pre-spawn migration when water temps reach 55 degrees.
You can expect to find marble-eyes over pretty much clean sand bottom in 12-14 fow for the next couple of weeks. The fish will respond to pulling 3-way rigs upstream @ 1.1-1.7 mph or hair jigs/plastic downstream eith pitching/dragging or in a vertical drift. On any given day one presenttion will work better than the other.
The River level has stabilized at ‘action stage’. Looks like this trend will continue. This means access at some ramps is impossible and many other ramps require knee boots to keep feet dry at both ends of the launching sequence. Road closures on both sides of the River are also part of this matrix
Bluegills are back in the trees in very shallow water right now. You’ll probably need to frog around to find ’em. But when you do catching a mess is pretty easy. Crappies are still pretty much in late winter/deep water pattern, suspended over submergent wood. Perch are in the wind for the short haul. With spawning completed only prepubescent river tigers are hanging around in areas which used to hold quality fish. Don’t be surprised if you pick up a big ‘un when looking for walleyes.
Besides challenging access the WIND is an ever-present factor. It seems like wind is < 10 mph only about every 5th day, seriously impacting presentation options once you’ve found the fish.
So far this year fishing overall has been generally tough when it comes to putting numbers in the boat (besides perch & saugers) . But this is definitely been a good year so far for quality walleyes. The slot limit is already working!
Although there is no sauger size limit on pool 9 and the daily bag of walleyes is 6 from 15-20″, harvest in my boat is 3 walleyes per angler, with no sauger <14″.
If you wanna fish with me and take home more bring a kid! Kids from 12-15 fish for for free. Kids younger than that are entirely the responsibility of the adult who brought them. To my mind there is no more important task an adult can do. My job is to ensure this person has every advantage to assure the true hero status that they deserve.
tight lines, y’all!