There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what type of jigs to use
for walleyes. In winter, short-shanked jigs are the way to go, not
long-shanked. The latter are for adding a dressing, particularly in
an open water fishing situation. Short-shanked jigs are for live
bait only, and we want to use the lightest jig possible to be in
contact with the bottom.
A jig that’s too heavy restricts bait movement, and it appears
unnatural because it tips our minnow to the side. Also, when a
walleye grabs it, he feels that extra weight and blows it out.
Above the ice, you never feel the bite.
Avoid hooking your minnow like you do in the summer (that is,
through the head). We want to place our hook along the dorsal fin
parallel to the fin, point forward to create a very natural
profile. In the winter especially, walleyes are very selective.
We’re letting the minnow do the work, not jigging it back after a
long, open-water cast. The minnow is both the attractor and
When fishing in darker water or while night fishing, (or if there’s
a lot of snow cover), consider using a larger minnow for a bigger
profile. Experiment with this.
In clear water, when fish are spooky, I avoid rattle jigs. But I am
back on a color kick this winter. Experiment with a variety of
colors, but on large bodies of water this winter, I have been
amazed with my success on my color varieties.