Casting Jigs for Prespawn Great Lakes Walleyes

Casting jigs is my favorite way to fish prespawn walleyes in the Great Lakes, particularly when the fish are gathered on shallow reefs and flats adjacent to the spawning grounds. I make long casts with a 1/8- to 1/4-ounce jig, then alternately drag and pop it along the bottom back to the boat. Long casts help me avoid spooking walleyes that might flare away from the boat, while the drag-pop presentation draws reaction strikes from spawn-minded fish that aren’t in a feeding mode.

Total Solutions Technique

Use your bow-mount to ease quietly into the fishing area. A typical staging reef or flat will be in six to 10 feet of clear water—situated between deeper water and the windswept or current-washed, hard-bottom areas where the fish will spawn. Fire out a long cast. Let your jig fall to bottom and reel up slack as you lower the rodtip toward the surface. Move the jig by raising the rodtip from the 9 o’clock to the 11 or 12 o’clock position; then reel back down to 9 o’clock (reeling while lowering the rodtip, keeping the line tight so you can feel for bites). Alternate slow drags with sharp, snapping pops. Experiment with the duration and pace of both until the fish tell you what they want at the moment.

Total Solutions Equipment

For long casts, I use a 7-foot, medium-light graphite rod. With a fast tip (important with smaller jigs) and beefy backbone, which is a blessing for making solid hooksets when you have a lot of line out. Match it with a good spinning reel.  For main line, I use 6/2 Berkley Fireline in either Crystal or Smoke. I add a size 12 barrel swivel to the end, followed by eight to 12 inches of 6-pound Berkley XL. The mono leader keeps the jig from “rolling up the line” when you snap the jig forward—a common occurrence with superlines. Tip the jig with a 3- to 4-inch Gulp! Minnow Grub (experiment with different color patterns) and you’re ready for action.

Berkley® Trilene XL®

Berkley® FireLine®

Berkley® 3 inch GULP!® Minnow Grub