|“In spring, walleye are on the spawn moving upriver, so I’ll be targeting the river systems and shallow rock areas within the river,” Parsons said. “Ideally, I’m looking for water in the mid to high 40s — 46 to 47 degrees is prime. I keep my eyes open for structure in the shallows near the spawning grounds, i.e. early vegetation growth, sand flats and channel edges.”
Vertical jigging is Parsons’ preferred method to claim walleye.
“When vertical jigging, I want to be drifting with the current, matching the speed of the current to stay straight up and down and not having any lines under the boat or at an angle” he said. “I’ll deploy the Power-Pole with Drift Paddle to slow us down in a rushing river to an ideal 1 MPH drift. Where we used to use a drift sock, the to an ideal 1 MPH drift. Where we used to use a drift sock, the paddle takes the place of the cumbersome and difficult-to-deploy sock.”
Parsons drops jigs on sand flats and channel edges that span anywhere from 6 to 25 feet deep.
“Generally, I drop a ½-ounce to ¼-ounce jighead tipped with half a nightcrawler or fathead minnow. If I don’t have live bait, then I want somethingthat kicks up a lot of vibration like a 3- to 4-inch ribbed paddletail or Strike King Rage Swimmer,” Parsons said. “Bright colors like chartreuse and pink work best. On the reel, I spool up with no-stretch 6- to 8-pound braided line matched with a 6-3 to 6-6 medium fast-action rod that holds a lot of backbone with a quick tip to work the jig properly and for hook-setting power.”
After the spawn, walleye stage at “resting grounds” and gravitate to areas with the warmest water; usually around the sand flats outside of the river system.
“When walleye are resting up, I’ll locate them by trolling floating stickbaits,” Parsons said. “The plan is to explore and set the crankbait spread out with planer boards, and slow troll at .8 to 1.2 knots along flats that can sometimes run a mile long in 8 feet of water. When I do find them on a troll, I plant the Power-Pole down and throw paddletails or Strike King Red Eye Rattle Baits. Cast out and work the lures slow. The wild vibrations of slower-cadence lures can put up numbers of 10 to 15 fish while stuck stationary with the Pole.”
Dial Parson’s walleye tips in to put yourself on the meat during this spring spawn.