Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Midwest Outdoors March 2009

Walleye Focus Heats Up At Ice Breaker Time
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

Well IF I was correct in last months article, anglers have been finding good action through the ice throughout the system. But March can present a different set of challenges. Warm days and rising river levels can create access problems and make ice fishing an activity limited to fewer areas of the river then during February. In fact, a couple of good rain storms can take just about what ever ice has formed and turn it into open water almost over night. A recent conversation with Dick Kiesow from Kiesow’s Landing discussed a past year where they he as driving his tractor on the river on one day, and after a good thunderstorm, boats the next day. I don’t doubt that. I’ve seen spring rains lift the ice and break it up over night and a warm sunny day take fishable ice and turn it to mush. I’ve even seen a few box tip ups floating on ice rafts because they became un-retrievable by the angler who set them out on decent morning ice. That’s pretty rare these days as those who fish the late sheets of ice usually have small Jon boats or canoes to push out with them. But, when the shore ice becomes impassable, it’s time to think open water.

I have actually had some of my best nights of fishing during March while the ice was flowing. Being aware of your surroundings and fishing on a protected inside bend are very important. An ice flow can flip a boat in seconds, so don’t ever think about anchoring in the current. Even inside bends can be dangerous, so make sure to keep a look out at all times. You should also have a sharp knife out and ready to cut your anchor rope should a sheet of ice get lodged on it. Quick thinking and a sharp knife have saved numerous lives. Light jigs from 1/16 to 1/4 ounce are all you need. I like an OddBall jig because of it’s action and “stand up” presentation when I’m fishing close to the boat at the edge of the lantern light. If I want to get the jig away from the boat a bit I go to a small Slo-Poke jig because the style allows for a great hook position when long lining. The minnow also stays in a very natural position and I seem to get a lot better hook sets then with other small jigs. Your basic glow color seems to be best but I’ve had nights when blue, black or red are what the fish seem to like. A nice slow lift and fall action works best and be ready for anything. Although walleye are the target, suckers, carp and sturgeon all use the same “highway” in the spring. That’s the inside bends where current levels are less and where back waters and weedy shallows gather bait fish.

Although the “up” run usually lasts until about mid April, water temperatures play the most significant role as to when the walleye will spawn. I’ve gone fishing the first night of open water in Fremont and been in the shocking boat seeing spawning walleye 8 days later. Now, that was one of the warmest spring periods in memory. Usually, there are enough cold nights to keep things on a slow progression towards the spawn. In fact, there is often sporadic spawning activity going on all over the river once the sun shine and spring rains have warmed the water. Just the way the sun hits certain marshes allows them to warm quicker then others. That diversity allows for year classes to establish themselves even when spawning conditions are not at their best. It’s the main reasons that the Winnebago system continues to provide great walleye fishing.

ICE BREAKER 4 - MARCH 13, 14, 15

If you want learn more about fishing the Wolf River, fox River and Winnebago system, make sure to go to ICE BREAKER 4. The line up is second to none when it comes to walleye fishing information and there will be plenty of see and do. Speakers include keith Kavajecz. Daryl Christensen, John Kolinski, “Axl” Ehricke and others. Boats will be on display from 7 area boat dealers and there will be a Techno Hunt competition all three days. There will be an Off Shore planer boards service booth where you can up date or up grade your boards or just have them tuned up. Replacement parts will be on hand. Guides, sportsmen’s clubs and more will be there to provide just about ANY area information you could be looking for. Join the others with pen and paper in hand and “get the skinny” on what it takes to catch walleye here in Wolf River Country. Local resorts are opening hotel rooms a bit early in the season to accommodate those coming from a distance who wish to join us for the evening festivities. Make plans now to join us.


© Copyright 2009 - 2011 ~ Joel "Doc" Kunz - All Rights Reserved
No Use Or Copy Of The Material In This Website Allowed Without Written Consent By The Owner
Web Site Hosted By The Big Palm