Our last shot at open water: rivers

Terry TumaBy now, fish in most water bodies are starting to move toward their winter haunts. On rivers, our last bastion of open water this time of year, I focus my walleye search on current breaks, like wing dams, clam beds, eddies, or anything that breaks the current. Such seams are logical attractors for transition-season walleyes.

I fish some of these channels, but not all are created equal. If you can find a channel with some eddies, work those outside edges. There will be a flat on both sides of the channel, and fish often will move to that flat or be on the outside edge of that channel.

And of course, fish current breaks. Wing dams always are good, as are eddies and clam beds. I have a couple ways to fish these specific locations: One is leadcore line, expecially when working channels where you put some distance between the lure and the boat.

Another is three-way swivel rigs, which are great in tandem with fatheads, but don’t leave to much line out. Backtroll so your three-way line forms a 45-degree to the boat. You want it heavy enough to contact bottom but without getting hung-up. These are bottom-hugging fish, so we don’t need a long snell.

Then of course, there are jigs. You need enough size to be in control and in constant contact with the bottom. If using a short-shanked jig with a whole minnow, you’ll sometimes find yourself missing hook-sets. Instead of instantly attaching a stinger hooks, try a long-shanked jig. I’ve done a lot of work with stinger hooks in the past, and I find they too often hang up on bottom or pick up debris.

My advice is to swap that short-shanked hook for a long-shanked, especially when using live bait or a Power Grub,

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