Spring walleye fishing on Green Bay offers some of the most exciting fishing opportunity of the season! Big females moving up shallow, staging to spawn (pre spawn), spawning, and staging after the spawn(Post Spawn). Plenty of action for everyone. The Fish start their spawn first in the southern part of the bay, and as the water warms the fish spawning further north will begin their annual run. Theres tons of areas and locations to target these huge Wisconsin walleyes during the spring. Typically the West shore of Green Bay will warm up first, with the fishing also heating up their first. The east shore of Green Bay has a lot more deeper water and takes longer to warm up to spawning temperature. There are TONS of baits and techniques you can use to catch fish in all stages of the spawn, literally hundreds! Casting, pitching, dragging, and vertical jigging are some local favorites when using your casting gear. Trolling can be a great way to cover water also looking for finicky, cold water spring walleyes. I will share my top 3 favorite lures for spring walleyes on Green Bay. This can be challenging because there are SOOO many different lures that work great through the spring. Other anglers may have their own favorite lures that work well for them also, and that’s no surprise. These baits work for my clients and myself, they consistently put fish in the boat every day throughout the spring walleye run on Green Bay
1. Jig and Minnow
Old faithful, tried and true, if its not broke don’t fix it……. The old Jig and minnow is still my favorite go to for cold water walleyes. Any walleye in any temperament has a hard time passing up a jig and minnow dancing in front of their nose. The Jig and minnow shines early in the season when the ice just came off the rivers and lakes and the water is very cold. Im talking 34-36 degrees cold. The fish are very lethargic and do not want to chase big artificial baits. This is one of my favorite times of the spring to utilize live bait. In the river systems, vertical jigging is a deadly presentation for the jig and minnow. Anglers can utilize two rods each (once comfortable) to maximize their efficiency of catching fish. Also drifting back with the current you are covering a lot of water with your baits in the strike zone constantly. Once the water does warm up a bit pitching and casting jig and a minnow can be a great presentation for both pre and post spawn walleyes. In the rivers I prefer to cast my jig and minnow on a 45 degree angle up current from the boat dragging it back letting the current do the work. In slack water or very little current pitching is the preferred method. For most applications on Green Bay my go to jig is a VMC moon eye jig. 1/8, 1/4, 3/8 are the most common sized used. As far as colors go, a lot has to do with water clarity. A few of my go to colors are Chartreuse, purple and white, gold, parrot, Green and chartreuse, green, and light blue. Don’t overlook the jig and minnow in the spring of the year. There’s a reason its been around for so long, because it works! A must have in your boat in the spring of the year while walleye fishing on Green Bay.
2. Rapala Rippin’ Rap
Lipless crank baits are my favorite way to catch GIANT Green Bay Walleyes in the spring of the year. The Rapala Rippin’ Rap is a super versatile bait and every serious walleye angler should have a box full (Or a few boxes). When most people think of the Rippin’ Rap they think post spawn fish. Yes, its a great post spawn bait when the fish are done spawning and looking to put the feed bag on and regain their body weight. It should not be overlooked in cooler water situations either.The Rippin’ Rap is a great Pre spawn bait as well. The difference in using this bait for Pre spawn to Post spawn is all in the cadence. Day to Day , sometimes hour to hour fish change moods and you need to adjust your cadence to keep catching them. This is where it’s helpful to have a few people fishing with you so everyone can try different retrieves until you figure them out. The cooler the water the slower you need to work the Rippin’ Rap. In cold water I like to start with a slow lift, moving it just enough to get the bait to vibrate and set it back on the bottom. The colder the water also the longer I let the bait sit on the bottom. A lot of your strikes this time of year will come when the bait is actually laying on the bottom. As the water warms up you can speed your cadence up. Mixing in more “hops” and “ripping” action, with shorter pauses with the bait on the bottom. There is really no wrong way to work a Rippin’ Rap, but you need to pay attention to what’s going on around you, water temp, clarity, how aggressive the fish are, etc. One of the other things that makes a Rapala RIppin’ Rap such a great bait is that if used correctly it can entice an inactive fish into eating. You can use this bait when the walleyes are not necessarily active, and still get walleyes to eat it. Walleyes are curious creatures and they are also greedy. The Bay is full of gobies and the food, but if you catch the attention of a walleye that not hungry, you can still get them to bite out of sheer spite. Making this bait that much better. As far as colors I like just about everything. There are some great stock colors the baits come in. Fire tiger, gold chrome, red fire craw, yellow perch, road trip, leprechaun, chartreuse shad, blue chrome are some of my favorites. Custom colors have become more and more popular through the years as this bite gets more popular. There are several great companies that offer great custom Rippin’ Raps and other lures, Viper Custom Tackle and Northshore Bait Company where most of mine come from. Regardless of custom baits or stock colors Rapala Rippin’ Raps are a must have for Spring Walleye Fishing on Green Bay.
3. Plastics (Paddletails, ringworms, moxi, swim baits)
Another great and versatile bait for spring fishing on Green Bay are plastics. There are hundreds of variations of plastics, colors and sizes. We will cover a few of my favorite and what works the best for my customers and myself on Green Bay. Before we get into the actual plastics let talk about jig heads. I use both regular jig and darter head jigs depending on the application. One thing I always make sure of no matter the jig is to make sure the jig has a long shank hook. A long shank can eliminate the need for a stinger hook and will in turn put more fish in the boat and you will have less short bites. Some days it may not matter if the fish are fired up and inhaling your plastic, but days the fish are not active they may short strike your bait, where a longer shank hook will catch these fish instead of them just getting your plastic. Another key factor in picking jigs is making sure there is a bait keeper on your jig. This will keep your plastics pushed up all the way on the shank of the hook and won’t keep sliding down and wasting time. A strong, beefy shank is also key, as on Green Bay the size of the fish is astounding. Fish in the 28-32” range are not uncommon. You don’t want your hook failing, our straightening out when the trophy of a lifetime is on!
Let’s talk plastics now. Theres a few different plastics that seem to out produce others. The First is the B-Fish-N products, the pulsar and moxi are great spring (and summer) baits for Green Bay Walleyes. Both these baits are similar, with a few differences. They pulsar is essentially a paddle tail, which normally I use when the fish are a bit more active. It has a louder “Thump” and moves more water and creates a bigger disturbance than the moxi. The moxi shines in cooler water when the fish are a little more sluggish. But it offers an artificial approach instead of using a jig and minnow. Allowing the angler to cover more water and not having to worry about losing your minnow. Both are great baits to have in your box. Chartreuse/orange core, Purple and white, firecracker, sassafras are a few of my favorites. Ringworms also offer less water disturbance and a smaller profile than a paddle tail or maxi. They have a slimmer body. Having a mixture of moxi, paddle tails, and ringworms is a must for the bay.
Swim baits have been around for a long time but can be overlooked for spring walleye fishing. I prefer to use swim baits in cleaner water. Depending on depth I will pair my swim bait on a 1/4 to as heavy as a 1/2 oz jig head. There are many companies that offer several different types, sizes and colors in swim baits. Keitech in the 3.8’ is my most commonly used swim bait I like to use. Goby, Copperfield, Silver Flash minnow, Gold Flash minnow, AYU, and gizzard shad are a few of my favorite colors. Slow rolling a swim bait over rock to sand transitions , or sand flats can be deadly. Hooping this bait can also produce depending on the mood to the fish.
Many people have different opinions, and different favorite baits. These are my top 3 producers for my customers in the spring of the year. Spring walleye Fishing on Green Bay is a special season, and for special reason. The GIANT walleyes that move in every spring offer some of the finest trophy walleye fishing in the world! Make sure to schedule some time to target these gravel lizards on the Bay!
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