The Spring walleye night bite

SaugeyesSpring is almost here. After a long winter and limited access to the local ponds the ice has almost completely disappeared in the metro areas. As the water starts to warm it is time to start fishing them during the peak hours when the activity is at it best, at night.

From the full moon cycle in March Until the full moon cycle in April there are some great fish to be caught. We focus on the smaller ponds earlier in the month and as the water warms into April then we start fishing the larger reservoirs.

The main baits I use are suspending jerk baits. BPS Nitro minnows and Smithwick rogues are two of my favorite. I use clown color and fire tiger most of the time with a slow steady retrieve or a cadence of jerk, jerk, pause and just let the bait sit there for a few and work it to the bank.

You will have to dress properly for a night excursion. A warm jacket, boots, gloves, and a head lamp are important to bring along. It may be nice out when you decide to leave the house and if it is clear out the weather can turn cold in an instant,be prepared for this or your trip will be a miserable one. Colorado weather is always changing and I check the forecast before I head out.

The fish I focus on this time of year is walleye. I love to chase walleyes and saugeyes"a walleye,sauger hybrid". These fish become very active in the night as they move in the shallows to feed. The walleyes are getting ready for the spawn and the saugeyes although sterile go through the same motions and feed heavily as well.

WalleyeFocus on creek channels, gravel banks or dam structures, these areas provide good spawning habitat for the walleyes. This time of year you can catch a giant, please take a photo of it and release it. The big ones are females and we need them to spawn out and help out our future fishery. The smaller males are very active and are usually the ones that hit your jerk baits most of the time. I like to take a few of them home to eat. We have a rule with the guys I fish with. If it is five pounds or more it goes back. Catch, photo and release.

If you have ever had a chance to see the actual spawn occur at night it is a sight to see. The males pack up and chase the female and bump her up into the shallows, she spurts out eggs as the males are bumping her and they are fertilizing the eggs as she loses them. It looks like a boil and there is a lot of commotion on the bank. It doesn't last long but can happen throughout the night.

Now is the time to head out and try the night bite. It is not for everyone but is a great opportunity to get out and catch some springtime walleyes in your local lakes and reservoirs. Give it a try you might enjoy it as much as I do.

Best of Luck,            

Sam Heckman

Pro Staff

Released Walleye



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