It’s that time of year again where walleye anglers are biting at the bit to get their boats back on the water and get hooked up with some nice eyes.
The most typical approach this time of year is to target walleyes in the river systems, as the rivers are usually first to thaw and provide the warmer water and great conditions for spawning walleye.
In many cases, warm water discharges generated by power plants, such as Gavin’s points Dam in Yankton, South Dakota or Fort Randal Dam near Picks Town, South Dakota, will hold lots of walleye very early in the year. The fish have moved up river to spawn and once they reach the dam they are confined to that area as their up-river path has come to an end.
To most anglers vertical jigging sounds very easy, and it can be once you have mastered a few things. However there is a big difference in your success rate based on a few minor adjustments one can make. Here are few tips on how you can improve on your vertical jigging skills to help you increase your hook ups.
A few things to try out next time you’re vertically jigging for some early spring walleyes is to increase the size of your jig. I know everyone says to go as small as possible so the walleye can inhale the jig with little resistance. However, if you’re a beginner at this method go with a heavier jig until you get a good feel for the bottom.
A bigger jig will also displace more water creating more noise which can be very affective in murky water. A jig and a minnow is a very typical approach for this presentation and it works very well. I like to rig a curly tail grub or a Berkley Gulp minnow for my bait. If you lack confidence in using plastics or gulp products tip the presentation with a minnow as well. Give the fish both options until you build the confidence to use just the plastics/Gulp products.
Trust me, they work great and the fish can’t bite them off.