Use Jigs and Three-Way Rigs for Spring River Walleyes

By Terry Tuma

Where you can find an open season, usually on border rivers in my neck of the woods, spring walleyes are great fun. This is usually an aggressive, rapid bite!

Find these walleyes anyplace where these fish can concentrate. Off wingdams are logical locations. Or off points, or really anyplace that breaks current.

Jigs are the go-to productive lure, combined with large flathead minnows, in targeting these fish. I try to avoid a stinger hook with a short bite. It just picks up too much debris this time of year. If I'm missing fish, I'll switch to a long-shanked jig though my default is a short-shanked jig.

Rig your rods with 8-pound-test mono (for the stretch factor) usually either clear or green-colored.

As for your jigging action, most of time walleyes and sauger are near bottom, so use a more subtle jigging action. Raise it 1 to 3 inches off the bottom, then let the minnow provide the trigger. That's why we need healthy bait and change it constantly!

Early season, we're dealing with current, so a use a jig weight that corresponds with ticking bottom. No heavier, no lighter. We absolutely must feel what's happening down there.

For jig fishing, I run a 7-foot plus rod with a medium light to light action with a spinning reel.

Another option is a three-way swivel rig with leeches. Add a dropper line to that three-way swivel that runs about 6 to 7 inches long. Add just enough weight to stay in contact with bottom and use medium to large leeches. Here's a great way to develop your three-way skills when you can expect to catch lots of fish.

With three-ways, I use a baitcasting reel and long rod with a softer tip. You have better control of the fish with the baitcaster in those conditions combined with that weight. It's just a better way of using three-way swivel rigs.

With threeways, use Fireline or braid, then add a five-foot mono snell in 8-pound-test. For your dropper, try 4- 6-pound test. You'll find you often get hung up, so that lighter line allows you to break without replacing the whole rig.

I also use snaps at end of dropper line; attach that weight so you can change fast while just touching bottom.

When trolling, bring weight off bottom without plowing the bottom. When the fish hits, do not feed line. Set that hook immediately! I use colored hooks and beads on three-ways, too.

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