Tube Jigs for River Walleyes

News & Tips: Tube Jigs for River Walleyes

TubeJigsRiverWalleyes blogTube jigs are typically thought of as bass baits: smallmouths off of rock piles; largemouths from underneath docks. But tubes are also effective on river walleyes, particularly during late fall and early winter.

At this time of year, river walleyes will spend much of the day in deeper pools, low current areas where they needn't fight any significant current. During peak feeding times — most commonly early and late in the day — they often move shallow, foraging on the bounty found in shallow areas like creek mouths and rock bars.

Relatively light tube jigs can be used to effectively work these shallow-water feeding areas. Walleyes find the shape and fall of a light tube appealing; the angler need not worry about the force of the cast ripping the bait free of a minnow-tipped jig.

For shallow water fishing, I like a 3.5 inch tube like Bass Pro Shops' Tender Tube or similar slender bodied tube. Good walleye colors include green pumpkin or chartreuse for stained water. Smoke/red flake is a good clear water choice, while mustard/red pepper often excels in dirty water. Some days color doesn't seem a factor, but in the world of the finicky walleye, at other times it does

A slow descent and turtle-paced retrieve can be a key in triggering bites from walleyes, even feeding walleyes, in cold water. So go light on the jig head. Eighth to quarter-ounce insert-style leadheads with a quality light-wire hook ensure a proper presentation as well as hooksets that bite. The lighter jighead also allow the tube to fall slowly, which is often the mechanism that prompts the strike.

Fish that don't respond to the initial fall of the bait will often do so if it dragged along the bottom. Again, the use of a light jig makes certain that you work the bait slowly to keep it on the bottom.