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Andrew Martinsen's Walleye Fishing Update

Where the Wisconsin Walleye Are

Finding and Reeling in Some Wisconsin Winners

While Wisconsin may be known for its Cheese heads, this state also offers some great walleye action for anglers. Wisconsin has a large variety of lakes and rivers that anglers can utilize. The key to catching Wisconsin walleye is knowing where and what to drop on the line.


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Spring and fall are the best times by far to fish for Wisconsin walleye. These two seasons signal major changes in the day to day activity of walleye. Hitting the water during these two times can be rewarding both in size and number of fish.

In April, Wisconsin walleye will start their pre-spawn migration. In the Great Lakes, the walleye will leave the safety of the deep in head to favorite spawning beds. Most walleye will head inland up rivers and tributaries. There will be some that prefer the shallow reefs in the open water.

The walleye that head inland are often easier to catch since specialized gear is not needed. Look for shallow, rocky flats that are adjacent to deep holes. During the pre-spawn phase, the walleye will hold up in these holes. Offering the right presentation may be enough to entice a bite.

Vertical jigs work great this time of year, especially if tipped with live bait. Let the jig sink to the bottom and bring it up slowly. This will help to determine where the most active fish are hiding.

Once the spawn is on full tilt, catching male walleye becomes much easier. The males patrolling the spawning beds are much more aggressive. A more active jigging technique is the best approach. Live bait also works to make the entire presentation more appealing.

Things slow down during the post-spawn phase. The fish will be tired so they will be harder to incite a bite. Slow vertical jigging with live bait is pretty successful. Using a slow-rolling crankbait along the bottom also yields good results.

Once the walleye have rested, they will be start heading back to open water. This is a great phase for the angler. The fish are hungry and respond well to aggressive jigging. Target darker slack waters downstream of the spawning beds. Walleye will often hold up in these areas during daylight hours.

Fall is another great time to hit Wisconsin waters for walleye. Weed beds that were prominent during the summer months begin the die and thin out. This makes it much easier for the walleye to locate baitfish.

Vertical jigging with live bait is the way to go when fishing around weed beds. Use a jig that is heavy enough to sink the bait to the bottom. Walleye will typically lay low so that they can ambush a meal. The bait needs to be in the strike zone in order to be the most effective.

Minnows and night crawlers both pair well with weed lines. They tend to wiggle and move in a very appealing way to the hungry walleye. If the action suddenly dies, it is probably time to check the bait. Dead bait is not going to yield as good results.

Rock humps are also good spots to visit during the fall. Since cover is disappearing, bait fish will use the locales once they have gone to deeper waters. Walleye will also stay near these structures. Again, jigging with live bait produces good results. A leech is a great choice near rocks. They are hardy enough to withstand being bounced off rough rock.

There are several spots in Wisconsin that yield great walleye. Oconomowoc Lake and Lac La Bella are great spots with some big beauties hiding in their depths. These lakes both have size and number restrictions on the walleye caught. It pays to know the rules in order to avoid paying a fine later.

Lake Winnebago sees a lot of walleye action especially in July. The Walleye Fest hosts a large tournament that draws anglers from all levels to this lake. Weed beds and underwater structures are the places to be prior to the tournament. Overall, Wisconsin walleye seem to respond best to minnow and jig combinations.

Wisconsin holds a lot of opportunity for the eager angler. There are many great spots that can yield up a trophy-worthy walleye. Catching Wisconsin walleye may mean hitting the water when others are still bundled up against the cold. Braving the cooler temperatures is often rewarded with a great walleye catch.


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