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Sold for fish...or for the fisherman.

So many "new" baits, is your goto a "jig and minnow"- mine too but let's look at 5 lures/baits or methods to put more walleyes in your boat this spring.

Keep a few things in mind...water temperature, wind, sunlight all play major roles in the migration and seasonal patterns for walleyes. I don't mind the "sunny days" in the spring as much as I do in the summer...why? because that sun is warming up shallow bays or shallow areas faster. In my opinion, if I can find a bay that has water temperatures 5 degrees higher than the main body of water you will find fish in the spring. These warmer waters bring in bait and also provide post spawn comfort.

Next idea- with walleyes, males out number females and often can be more aggressive. Males are smaller than females. So, I hear "I'm only catching 14" walleyes" or "all we caught were "slot fish" so we can't keep any. This absolutely has to do with depth and temperature. MOVE! Move in 5 feet, maybe move out 5 feet, maybe move out 10 feet. In the spring walleyes will group up in schools and often those schools are fish of the same year class "hanging out".

Finally, with colder water everything moves slower. Don't put on a super aggressive swimbait or present your jig in an aggressive "rip jigging" motion...slow down, tease and try to entice those walleyes.

5 Baits that might be new to you, but you should consider:

  1. Plastics- This isn't your grandpa's "mr. twister" type of plastics. Fish more plastics! Why? I love plastics because they are versatile, and walleyes love them. What's so new? Many plastics like Northland Tackle's "Eye Candy" are made of incredibly durable material called Super TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer). The stretch, durability, and float is unlike your grandpa's plastic worm. * my pick: Eye-Candy Grub:

  • The 3-inch Eye-Candy Grub is made from Northland’s New Super TPE material.

  • Super TPE provides more action, flotation, and durability, keeping this finesse grub moving all day long.

  • Its realistic body design fools fish into striking without hesitation.

Some others to consider:

Zman- Diezel Minnowz -Bulletproof 10X Tough ElaZtech® construction, a lifelike profile with scale pattern and dorsal fin detail, vibrant swimming action, a wide array of color choices, and 4”, 5”, and 7” size options make this paddle-tail swimbait a must-have for any angler.

I LOVE THIS Plastic...use the 4" in the spring GOLDRUSH or PEARL BLUE GLIMMER

B-fish-N from Jigs and Spins: AuthentX™ Pulse-R™

Swimbaits have been utilized by walleye and bass anglers for decades now, but not until the development of the Pulse-R™ Paddle Tail has a swimbait been this effective at ultra slow speeds. This bait is designed to come alive when fished slowly and produce the body and tail movement other baits lacked.

More specifically, the tail on this bait does things never seen from other swimbait designs. The bottom of the tail turns 180 degrees so it’s at the top, all the while the tail is swinging out to the side before repeating in the opposite direction. This all happens when fished at an absolute crawl or when the Pulse-R Paddle Tail is in current. This bait is going to be the undoing of some BIG fish for you! The 3.25” and 2.45” Pulse-R is available in 24 proven, fish-catching colors to match any fishing scenario.

The reason this is so good in the spring is the "action" and the baits size. In a slow retrieve or against current, the tail on this AuthentX Pulse-R is unreal- here are some top colors.

2. Blade Baits- are you saying "what's a blade bait". This type of thin metal vibrating minnow type bait is one you must throw into the tacklebox. Long been associated with Lake Trout, walleye fishermen are finding success tugging them across gravel bars or sand flats in the spring, pre-weeds and pounding trophy walleyes. Blade baits often are fished vertically, but recently spring rivers and fishing walleyes in areas with current, the natural vibration and the weight if a "blade bait" can be ripped in front of a fish and dropped back to the bottom to stall before being ripped again...triggering neutral fish to bite.

Take a look at these favorites:

ACME- V-Rod V-Rod lures are the new standard for open water baits and ice fishing with our v-rods for open water you can cast it, vertical jig it, and retrieve it. The ice V-Rod creates the same actions and vibrating on the vertical jig comes in an array of colors to match any condition.

Jigs and Spins- B3 Blade Bait It’s counter-intuitive for sure, but what blade baits do is TRIGGER reaction strikes through visual, vibratory and auditory cues. They flash, rip, slice, slash, dart and give off loads of vibrations that are simply too much for fish to ignore!

3. Glide Baits and Jigging Raps- the rage over the past 5 years...Categorically, glide jigs are dense, minnow-shaped jigs of the classic Rapala Jigging Rap vein. Most have a single hook molded into the nose of the bait, as well as the tail, with a treble hook hanging from the belly. A plastic fin molded into the tail gives the lure its gliding action. The line tie is located along the back of the lure where the dorsal fin would be.

To the best of my knowledge, the emergence of glide jigs began when anglers from the Upper Midwest’s “walleye belt” applied the Rapala Jigging Rap, an ice-fishing lure, to the open water. It was discovered that when worked erratically along the bottom, the lure oftentimes provoked strikes from both active and inactive walleyes. This success has fueled the development of many such lures, such as the Acme Hyper Rattle, Moonshine Shiver Minnow, Northland Puppet Minnow and Johnson Johnny Darter among others, with new versions continually trickling into the market.

my tackle: Northland Tackle's "Pitch'n Puppet" is also a favorite! The Pitchin’ Puppet features a lead frame with an over-molded resin exterior & fin giving this lure the lifelike look of a translucent baitfish in addition to extreme durability. When jigged, snapped, and ripped this lure darts and rolls triggering strikes. A wide gap rear hook and the absence of a front hook make this lure perfect for darting across the bottom, and the split ring connected treble hook will keep fish pinned all the way back to the boat!

ACME Hyper Rattle or Hyper Glide A variety of presentations are available for all types of conditions and bites. Hyper series lures will trigger negative bite fish, make the day even hotter, or simply be enjoyed as they are action-packed. One of the most sought after lure collections on the market.

or Rapala Jigging Raps Swimming in tantalizing circles under the ice or in open water for suspended game fish, the Jigging Rap® features a balanced, weighted minnow profile. Single reversed hooks with center treble and eyelet, this bait can also be bottom bounced, yo-yo style off the bottom with unbeatable results.

slightly different because of the lack of plastic fins, a true jigging lure is

Moonshine Lures- Shiver Minnow here is a YouTube video series on better fishing these lures: Shiver Minnow in Open Water with Keith Kavajecz

Great Video on- Wired2Fish highlights Professional Walleye angler Korey Sprengel on

4. Hair Jigs- yep, go back to grandpa's tackle box because there is a chance he has these...Not just a pike bait, the action and ability to tease and trigger dormant walleyes in cold conditions makes hair jigs a must have in spring conditions.

Deep-Vee Buck-tail or Deep-Vee Flash Tail from Northland Tackle is an easy choice. Modern V-shaped jig head glides through current easier, allowing from smaller jig weights vs. tradition ball jigs.

Target Walleye has an excellent video for you to improve fishing "hair jigs" "Hair Jig breakdown for Spring fishing"

VMC Moontail Hair Jig or Bucktail Jig A VMC Moon Tail Jig, at first glance, looks like any other jig of its type, but the difference is in the oversized flat aspirin head shape with an extra-large 3D holographic eyeball profile on the side. Walleyes like it! The flattened head enhances the dart and roll head motion when jigged. Oh, and you can shoot this Moon Tail Jig out there like firing a bullet! The low profile and elongated bucktail fibers maintain their shape and create life-like action in the water. Thin fibers create less resistance, so you can drop it fast and snap it quicker. Or fish the jig slowly on a retrieve, as it is relatively snag-free. The colorful VMC jig series is made so by a UV BRIGHT Finish to reflect more light energy, strengthening the lure's visibility. As for the hook, the TechSet technical locking curve maximizes hook sets and locks fish in place. Fish for post-spawn walleyes in the shallows, and you'll have a blast with the VMC Moon Tail Jig!

5. "Jerk Baits"- this is not any old Rapala tugged along. If "jerk-bait" lures are foreign to you it okay. The idea has been around for a long time, spring walleye fishing is just one of those time you need to make sure you have this type of lure in your box.

Jerk baits are lures designed to imitate the movement of bait fish that walleye are prone to feeding on. They are slender-profile, shallow-running hard baits that look like a minnow. The jerk baits are ideal baits to lure and catch walleyes as they imitate a minnow in the water. You can drag them behind a boat on a long line at a constant speed or cast them in close to cover or other natural structures and twitch the rod tip to add extra life.

Rapala Shadow Rap is one of the best, The Shadow Rap® combines a horizontal struggle with a vertical fade that perfectly mimics a minnow in trouble. Rapala has perfected the natural minnow action in this new jerkbait that triggers fish in three ways: on the kick, on a slow fading fall and on the snap back to life. Most jerk baits continue on a forward plane with each jerk. Not the Shadow Rap®. It kicks almost 180 degrees right then left, so it can be fished nearly in place with very little forward travel, keeping the flickering fade of the Shadow Rap® right in a fish's strike zone.

Rapala X-Rap and Rapala Husky Jerk have long been my go-to jerk-baits!

Northland Tackle's Rumble Shiner- This tight action elongated profile bait mimics forage such as minnows. Great for casting or trolling this bait works in a variety of situations. The Rumble Shiner crankbait is available in a multitude of colors, from match-the-hatch patterns to bright and vibrant custom paint themes. Features premium short shank treble hooks and an oval split ring on the line tie.

Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow- An injured baitfish will swim erratically, sending out flashes of reflected light from its broadside of scales. These flashes, along with the flat-sided erratic swimming action of the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Freshwater lures, perfectly mimic’s the frightened baitfish that prized gamefish seek out and hunt. The natural patterns and colors, combined with the lifelike body shapes and attention to detail on the gill plates, create a strikingly realistic looking injured baitfish!!

Smithwick Suspending Rattlin' Rogue- One of the best-kept secrets in walleye country, the Smithwick® Walleye Suspending Rattlin' Rogue® has taken some of the largest walleyes ever caught. Its slow side-to-side swagger and ability to hang motionless on the pause, several feet below the surface, make the Rogue absolutely deadly on big marble-eyes in cold water or post-frontal conditions – especially during low-light periods. Working it more aggressively with a wounded-minnow action activates the loud fish-attracting rattles, bringing explosive strikes. Walleye-targeted paint schemes and bright plated bodies provide exceptional flash and realism. The Smithwick Walleye Suspending Rattlin' Rogue is effective for casting or trolling, and a truly outstanding shore casting bait!

Wired2Fish does another fantastic video on long-lining "jerk baits" for walleyes.

Bonus Lure: Lipless Crankbaits

Northland Tackle Rippin Shad Rip your way to more panfish, perch, pike, walleyes and trout. Use for vertical jigging through the ice and both casting and jigging in open water. Flat head produces a tight-wiggling action when jigged aggressively and on the retrieve, when it pays to experiment with straight and rip-fall cadences.

Rapala Rippin Rap The Rippin' Rap features a lipless, deep belly profile designed to crank, swim and rip. With its skinny sides this bait flutters on the drop. Hard vibrating action on fast or slow retrieves accented with loud, distinctive BB rattle system.

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