Catching Walleye in Shallow Water
By: Steve Ryan
When fishing for walleye in shallow water, presentations and equipment must be refined to fool these wary fish
Shallow water walleyes present unique challenges for ice anglers. It’s about walking softly and carrying a stiff stick. These fish are in such skinny water that the ice can be nearly as thick as the water beneath it. Presentations and equipment must be refined to fool these wary fish. You can see them, and they can potentially see you. Blink and they’re gone.
On Green Bay, Wisconsin, Guide Bret Alexander waits until late ice to experience the best shallow bite of the season. With safe ice arriving shortly before New Year’s Day, he takes advantage of the incredibly consistent and prolific whitefish fishery. Walleyes are available for those willing to fish the 20- to 40-foot contours during low-light periods, but when groups can load up on 100-plus great-eating whitefish in a morning, walleyes take a back seat. It’s not until giant prespawn walleyes show up in greater numbers and slide into water less than 6 feet deep that walleye fever takes hold.
“When the weather turns nicer in March and anglers flock to the rivers in their boats to catch small, staging male walleyes, we relish the opportunity to catch double-digit fish in just a couple feet of water on short jigging rods,” he says. “The weather is comfortable. New fish move in every day and personal-best fish often are caught daily. It’s the perfect time to be on the ice cracking eyes.”
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