Mississippi River Walleye Basics

Walleye Basics – when it doubt, use a jig. Drop mic and walk away.

But you can catch Walleye how ever you want, cast jigs or crankbaits, troll jigs or crankbaits. Troll bottom bouncers with floater rigs. Troll using bottom bouncers and rapala minnow type crankbaits; troll using heavy jigs instead of the bottom bouncer. What ever you like doing, you can catch fish. You can use slip bobbers and live bait.

Finding them is the hard part, but once you find feeding fish, they will bite about anything, depending on the time of year and conditions. Fish are in different areas, different structures, it’s always changing. A lot of times guys never do figure out where they go, they just disappear or just won’t feed. Sometimes they feed at night, or in the evening, or midday in the hot sun. Sometimes they like wingdams, sometimes they like holes, or riprap, or log jams. Sometimes they want current, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re shallow, sometimes not, sometimes both and inbetween. Sometimes fish go into the lakes and gravel pits, or stay in the fast current of high water. They are where they are.

I have caught big walleye in 12″ of water, and 10 minutes later caught another big fish in 15′. It is so complicated, I can’t keep track of them and I have been fishing for walleye for 30 years or more. The river is always changing, rising dropping, dirty or clean. When I go fishing, I don’t know where to go, I have to get a pattern going. It depends on where the bait fish are, the river conditions, the weather, the time of year and time of day. Anymore I think I would rather fish for bass or something else, it’s a lot easier. But you can get patterns going and in the same conditions, you can go back and catch fish there yeat after year. You can catch fish on what ever you like using. Sometimes I keep switching patterns. My arms get tired from trolling heaving jigs so I cast for a while, or go with a light jig. I get more enjoyment out of getting a pattern going than catching fish. Sometimes I know where fish are and I will still go looking. I throw all my fish back anyway, I’m not a meat hunter or bite chaser.

I think the most over looked places where walleye hide is in log jams. Not just logjams, but in deep water, really hard to fish. They sit there and eat at will, and know when a boat comes and don’t need to jump on a lure. So no one finds them. And if someone did, people would see them and everyone would be fishing deep log jams. Most of the year fishing is terrible and people are desperate.

Up in Dubuque people fish different, they troll riprap and ledges. These are overlooked down river where everyone fishes wingdams. Not all riprap is good, up there it’s within a few miles of the dam, then the further down river you go the less fish you catch. Further up river they don’t have many wingdams and the fish are in the deep sloughs and cuts.

I don’t like talking about fishing, it’s all too complicated to explain. To me what’s impostant is just getting out and having fun. Anymore I just go looking for photos.

About Dave Tackett

Dave Tackett is from Sterling Illinois. An avid fisherman since childhood, he has fished all over the Midwest, mainly the Mississippi River pools 8-19. His home waters are pools 13 & 14. After fishing Bass tournaments for many years, he gave it up to fish for Walleye year round. He now guides and fishes for fun. He likes to take photos of the scenic places he visits on the river and likes to keep a video camera running to get footage for his Walleye DVDs. Photography is now where he most of his time working, using professional DSLR cameras and lens. These photos include landscape around the Mississippi River and the Rock River, river birds like eagles heron, egrets etc.
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