April 18, 1996

Water Temperature Holds Key For Walle

From Staff And Wire Reports
 

Water temperature is the key to finding and catching spring walleyes.

To catch them in early spring, look for water from 39 to 44 degrees, says veteran guide Randy Amenrud. “It’s the only time during the year I pay attention to water temperature,” he said.

“It tells me the walleyes are prespawn, gathering in areas getting ready to spawn,” Amenrud said. This pattern is going to catch males 90 percent of the time. The bigger females are harder to find.

The idea is to look for areas where they’re going to gather close to spawning areas, near rocky areas in feeder creeks.

“They might spawn on hard sand if nothing else is available,” Amenrud said. In lakes, look for rocky flats along the shore.

It’s important to get a lake map, one that will help locate gravel, rock or hard sand bottoms, he said.

“The key is the structural elements. There might be five creeks flowing into a lake, but only one may have a rocky bottom,” Amenrud said.

“Those prespawn fish can be caught extremely well at night, trolling Rapalas or some type of crankbait imitating a minnow,” Amenrud said. “Try to work water 3- to 5-feet deep.”

During the day, look for walleyes in 8 to 15 feet of water.

A jig and nightcrawler combination works well when water temperature is in the 40- to 50-degree range, he said.

Females are usually a little deeper, 12 to 25 feet, Amenrud said. They usually get a bit more active late in the day and bait seems to work better for them.

Whatever the bait, present it slowly. When working shallower water, or during the day, Amenrud said, it’s better to shut off your big engine and just use an electronic trolling motor.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Walleye watch Savvy anglers have found good walleye fishing at Sprague, Banks and Roosevelt lakes as well as Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake. But a new fishery is emerging at Liberty Lake. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department, assisted by angler groups, released the first of several plants of walleyes into Liberty this spring.

This sidebar appeared with the story: Walleye watch Savvy anglers have found good walleye fishing at Sprague, Banks and Roosevelt lakes as well as Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake. But a new fishery is emerging at Liberty Lake. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department, assisted by angler groups, released the first of several plants of walleyes into Liberty this spring.


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