Spring-time walleye fishing success: working a jig

Terry TumaOn most big rivers, jigs remain the top choice for spring walleye anglers. Jigs are not the only way to catch walleyes in spring, but they’re extremely productive. I follow a few simple jigging rules.

First, use the lightest jig possible. You want to keep your line vertical when jigging, and I like lighter rods for the job, as they help me detect lighter bites.

Walleyes don’t always thump. Plus, with my longer rods, while fishing a wing dam, I can anchor and fish to those specific locations.

You’ll usually see me using no bigger than a 1⁄8-ounce to 3⁄8-ounce, short-shanked jig tipped with a fathead. If I use a long-shanked jig, I’ll add a dressing like a Power Grub.

If anglers are missing bites, they immediately think stinger hooks. Rivers are indeed good places for stingers, but before adding one, try a long-shanked hook with no dressing.

See if you get a hookup that way. I’ve found many times that’s much more productive.

Stingers can pick up debris, which affects the feel of the jig and its effectiveness. Finally, when using a stinger, do not hook it in the minnow, let it trail. Hooking it too far forward again affects minnow movement.

If you’re consistently missing fish with jigs, try a different size. Also make sure the hook is sharp. Rocks and clam beds can dull the point and hinder hooksets. Another option is to simply open the hook to a wider gap.

And you don’t always need super tiny jigs. In 20 feet of water, I’ll sometimes jump up to a 3⁄8 ounce. It just has to be vertical so you can feel those fish.

As for a jigging action, vary your movement; don’t use just a lift-and-drop method.

The color of your jig can influence effectiveness. Remember, the minnow is the attractor, but still work with the color. Firetiger, chartreuse, and pink are top colors.

Water clarity and fish conditions are all factors that (determine) the color of your jig. One day the bite will be unbelieveable on one color, and the next day a totally different color will perform.

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