Suspending Jerkbaits for Winter River Walleyes

News & Tips: Suspending Jerkbaits for Winter River Walleyes...

SuspendingJerkbaitsWinterRiverWalleye blogSuspending jerkbaits like Rapala's X-Rap, XCalibur's Xs4 Stickbait, Lucky Craft's Pointer and Bomber's Suspending Pro Long A aren't just outstanding bass lures. In specific river situations, fished in a precise manner, a suspending jerkbait dupes big river walleyes.

Starting in late fall and extending to early spring, river walleyes will be found concentrated below barriers such as dams. Typically the first major hole (often a scour hole below the dam) will hold high numbers of fish, and will experience the bulk of the fishing pressure. And while good numbers of walleyes can be taken vertically jigging the hole and its edges, often larger walleyes are in the shallows, feeding on the flat that exists below the deep pool.

I've found suspending jerkbaits will catch these fish in water temperatures as low as the mid 50 to low 30s. Typically I'll hold the boat upstream of the flat, and cast downriver over the shallows. The jerkbait can then be worked ultra-slow back upriver, using the mild current to help instill action in the lure.

Another tactic is start at the downriver end of the flat, and slowly troll back upriver. A snail's pace troll with allow the lure to hover in a walleye's face, yet still cover the flat comparatively quickly.

The flat's which I've found most productive run from 3-7 feet in depth, and are directly downstream of a deeper pool, one which provides a deep water sanctuary. Fish that move onto the flat are there to feed. Attempt to get the bait to within a foot or two of the bottom. If you're dragging bottom, switch to a shallower running lure. In the cast of the upriver troll, reduce to amount of line out.