Not long ago, walleyes in Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago system threw their spring playbook out the window and abandoned the Fox and Wolf rivers en masse.
Looking for an easy meal after the rigors of spawning, the fish flushed out of flowing water and set up shop on Winnebago’s fertile shorelines and reefs.
“They shot right out of the rivers and upper lakes, creating phenomenal opportunities for anglers to troll, pitch and slipbobber shallow rock structure,” says veteran guide Jason Muche.
That bite persists today, although Muche reports that recent warm weather triggered the beginning of the next phase of Winnebago’s seasonal progression.
“Last weekend the water temperature rose to 68 degrees, and some of the fish began transitioning from spring to summer patterns, which means moving from rocks to mud,” he says.
As a result, Muche trolled Lindy Old Guide’s Secret 3-hook nightcrawler harnesses over soft bottoms in 17 to 18 feet of water adjacent to the reefs.
“We smoked them,” he laughs, explaining the presentational particulars included pulling chartreuse-orange, chartreuse-lime and firetiger colored rigs 1mph behind 1-ounce weights.
“Running the rigs 20 to 25 feet behind planer boards puts them down about 10 to 13 feet, which is perfect for targeting aggressive walleyes suspended just off bottom,” he says.
While a cold front that hit Monday and lingered into Tuesday set the transitional process back a bit, Muche expects the spinner trolling program to pick up steam again by this weekend.
“Until then, try trolling River Rockers or pitching 1/16- to 1/8-ounce Lindy Jigs on the reefs and along shore,” he advises. –
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