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  • March Walleye Spawn

    I often hear folks discussing 'March Madness', but when I hear that particular term I always think about walleye. In Kansas, the walleye spawn begins in March. District Fisheries Biologists across the state are currently engaged in walleye egg taking operations to supply fertilized walleye, saugeye, and sauger eggs to the state fish hatcheries to produce fry and fingerlings for stocking in state managed waters.

    I understand that some folks like basketball, but I've yet to hear of anyone being able to set the DVR to record the walleye spawn or catching a nice 'eye from the comfort of the couch! If you've been waiting for the spawn, the time is now.

    Here's two pictures from last week.

    Big boys! A couple of 21-inch plus males waiting on the lady 'eyes.


    Big girl! A female of this size will have around 120,000 eggs. Fish like this is what keeps all those males hanging around the spawning areas!


    If you're looking for a way to pass the time before the crappie spawn, grab a rod and hit a rocky shoreline at your local walleye fishery. You can catch the basketball highlights after you get home!

    Originally Posted by PurpleCrappie
    What baits and techniques work best for not getting hung in the rocks?Nice eye's.May have to try Hillsdale.

    PurpleCrappie,

    The more popular bait type is the stick bait, slash bait, or jerk bait type such as the original Rapala, Husky Jerks, Rogues, and Rapala X-Raps. These baits will reach bottom in the shallow water without burying in too deep and you can control depth with the speed of your retrieve. Some of the baits are buoyant and will float out of the rocks if the retrieve is stopped but a neutrally buoyant bait or one that is only slightly buoyant is preferred as it will 'hang' in the face of the walleye longer than one that rockets back up to the surface after the retrieve is stopped. Vary the retrieve to see what the fish are liking. Sometimes a 'twitch, twitch, pause' is very effective and other times a steady slow retrieve is best.

    Casts should be made parallel to shallow shorelines. This will keep your bait 'in the zone' much longer than a cast perpendicular to shore. Spawning fish will be very shallow. On shallow sloping banks (such as the dam at Hillsdale) a pair of waders is nearly a must. One can wade out to 3 feet of water and make long parallel casts. If the bait becomes snagged in the rocks, simply walk over and get it. It doesn't take long to justify the cost of waders when you are saving $7 to $10 crankbaits on a regular basis! Dams, such as the one at Marion, are very steep and much more difficult to wade unless you stay near the ends of the dam. The dam at Cheney is very steep and usually very slick with algae and wading is impossible in the center of the dam. However, the ends are shallow and can be fished via waders. For safety reasons, know the area that you are fishing and what you are walking off in to!

    Nighttime is usually best for fishing during the spawn as fish concentration is highest during the dark hours. However, males will usually be in the shallow water throughout the spawn and they can be caught. Angler pressure is much lower during the daylight hours. Notice in the pics above that it was 'daylight' when these fish were caught and they were shallow!

    Walleye act a bit differently during the spawn in regards to their willingness to bite. Unlike spawning crappie and white bass that are very willing to take a lure, spawning walleye can be quite reluctant to accept a lure. So even though the walleye are very concentrated during the spawn they may not offer fast fishing action. The attitude of the walleye changes when they hit the flats and feed heavily after the spawn. Even though the fish are slower to bite during the spawn, the chance at the at trophy is high during the spawn as females are heavy with eggs. Large females can lose 1 to 2 pounds after dropping their eggs which makes a big difference on an 8lb frame!

    Good luck!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: March Brings the Walleye Spawn started by Craig Johnson View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. broz's Avatar
      broz -
      Thanks for the info.
    1. brucec's Avatar
      brucec -
      Good to know, thanks !!!!
    1. Billbob's Avatar
      Billbob -
      good picks
    1. GoTennTitans's Avatar
      GoTennTitans -
      Wish there were fish like those down in south Arkansas. Looks like fun. GTT
    1. Dave and Lynn's Avatar
      Dave and Lynn -
      Good article and pics.
    1. plateboater's Avatar
      plateboater -
      Nice.......
    1. bighornrmk's Avatar
      bighornrmk -
      Nice pics and good read.
    1. LowePro's Avatar
      LowePro -
      Awesome read! Im bout to go walleye fishing!!!!
    1. kickingback's Avatar
      kickingback -
      Nice!
    1. Tn Johnboy's Avatar
      Tn Johnboy -
      Good read,Thank you. I would love to have a freezer full of those fish. Best eating I know of.
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