Walleyes Love Plastic in Cold Water


There are plenty of walleye catching lures and techniques out there, but when the water is cold in the early spring Walt Matan says soft plastics may be your best bet. Here is how to fish them effectively. 


Each spring, walleyes and sauger move upriver to spawn and are readily catchable within the first five miles of dams. They are very susceptible to live bait and a variety of lures at this time. Yet no matter your fishing ability level, if you are after walleyes, you need to add plastics to your arsenal.

If you are thinking of trying plastics for the first time, a ringworm is a top choice. Ringworms catch walleyes in both numbers and size. Walleyes and sauger that nip or mouth your jig and minnow will attack a ringworm. This is no baloney! It’s exactly what happened to me when I made the switch.
Ringworms have been around for a long time. A ringworm is basically an elongated twister tail with a ribbed body. The ribs and tail give ringworms added motion and sound which attracts fish. Once walleyes arrive near dams, the size and color triggers them to eat.

You don’t have to have a boat to use a ringworm; shore-bound anglers have great success with them, casting off the bank, too. If you like pitching jigs and live bait, it’s pretty simple to put a ringworm on your jig and fish it as you do live bait. However, a ringworm causes your jig to act differently. You need to use a slightly heavier jig to get the same “feeling” on bottom.
When using a jig and ringworm, you’ll want a jig that is light enough to tumble downstream, ticking bottom every once in a while. Too heavy a jig will snag up; too light a jig will be above the strike zone along bottom. B Fish N Tackle H20 jigs have features designed for fishing plastics. First, they come in nine different weights. The difference between a 1/8-ounce and a 3/16-ounce jig could make a huge difference. The weights are stamped on the underside of the jig for easy size identification.

The jig head is streamlined and easily cuts thru the current. It has a keeper barb that holds plastics tight to the head, which allows you to catch several fish off the same piece of plastic. If the area you are fishing is too snaggy, then you need a snag-less jig. B Fish N Tackle’s Draggin’ Jig has an arrowhead shape that cuts current. It also has a fiber weed guard to ward off snags and the same keeper barb to hold the plastic tight. It’s a shore fisherman’s dream jig!

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If your fishing technique is a weight, a hook, a minnow and a prayer, you can use a ringworm in place of the minnow, but I would suggest a size 1/0 or larger hook. I’m not opposed to casting out and setting a rod in a holder and waiting for the fish to come to you, but by doing that, you really eliminate 99 percent of the fishable water in front of you. I’d suggest casting out, leaving your offering out for ten minutes and then recasting to a different spot. The ten-minute rule is a great method for shore-bound anglers fishing with plastics.

Color plays a huge part in walleye fishing and ringworms are available in 37 colors for a reason. The “hot color” is different in different bodies of water, and oftentimes that “hot color” will change in hours and even minutes. If you are fishing with a buddy or two, each needs to use different colors until the hot one is found. If you are fishing alone, you can use a double jig rig, a Dubuque rig or a drop shot rig with a heavier jig on bottom. By using these double rigs you can try different colors at the same time.

If you are wondering where to start, get yourself four packs of ringworms in strikingly contrasting colors. Two bright and two dark colors. As your time on the water using these colors increases, you can add more colors into the mix. Then, if you are like me, you will have to many colors to choose from, thus causing confusion each time you go fishing.


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