Muddy water can pose some real problems for walleye anglers. In the spring the erratic weather patterns are a weekly occurrence. The changes are commonly mucking up an angler’s plan to capitalize on some spring walleye. This causes the conditions to quickly change leaving anglers with very few days to fish under normal water conditions. Waiting for conditions to change can often leave you sitting on the sideline during some of the best fishing conditions offered.
Not all is lost for those savvy anglers. It’s time to learn where those pre spawn walleyes are going during those high water periods. Then once you locate the walleye it’s time setup fishing strategies that will capitalize on those behaviors.
When the river spills over its banks, the flow is also going to exponentially increase and muddy water conditions are imminent. This will start pushing walleyes tight to shore and even up into shallow cover along the shoreline. Walleye push to the banks, structure, riffraff and current breaks to escape the river’s heavy current. They also feed on the baitfish that has also moved into these locations. Channels and ditches that are typically inferior locations can offer excellent spots.
Many of these locations can be identified before the water rises. Any location that has good structure close to shore is a potential hotspot. Rock structure off the downstream sides of islands, bridge pillars, riffraff, rock piles, and even lumber turn into hot locations.
High water walleye have dramatically reduced strike zones. In a clearer water situation, it’s common for walleye to react to a lure. Decrease the visibility to inches, and that walleye may not react to your bait unless it plops right in their face. During this time it’s important to really understand the exact location walleye are staging. Focus on the edges of those current breaks and inside the structure. Fishing around those key areas will no longer produce strikes. It takes fine tuning the approach to ensure you’re able to capitalize on active fish.
These locations are all close to the shoreline making them easy for shoreline fishermen to target these walleye. Even boat anglers can easily cast along the structure. Most of these types of structure allow for walleye to suspend in the riffraff. To catch these suspended walleye, use a bright High-Ball Floater tipped with an Impulse Swim’n Grub. Rig these in a Carolina Rig using an inline sinker then an 18-48 inch leader followed with a high-ball floater. This technique will put jig right in the face of a walleye. One of my favorite combinations is an orange jig head with a sunrise grub tail. This highly visible color combination allows the walleye to see the jig from a greater distance.
High muddy water is notorious for pushing fish into new locations and confusing fishermen. Looking for breaks in the heavy current allows a fisherman to target active walleye. Once walleye are located, it is time to get the lure placed in the exact right locations. In muddy water walleye need a lure right in front of their face. This means it is critical to use highly visible lures and being very specific with your cast. Using these aspects together allows a fisherman to turn tough fishing conditions into a successful walleye fishing trip.