Mastering Depths and Jig Sizes

Springtime is upon us, which means it’s prime walleye fishing season. In this blog post, I’ll guide you through the best springtime walleye fishing techniques, focusing on the depths to target and the ideal jig sizes to maximize your success.

Understanding Spring Walleye Behavior

Before we dive into the techniques, it’s essential to understand the walleye’s behavior during spring. As the water temperature rises, walleye become more active, and their metabolism increases. Consequently, they start to feed more frequently and aggressively. This increased activity usually coincides with their pre-spawn and spawn periods, making them more susceptible to anglers.

Targeting the Right Depths

In the spring, walleye tend to congregate in shallow waters, usually between 4-20 feet deep. They move closer to the shorelines, river mouths, and warmer areas in search of food and suitable spawning grounds. As a rule of thumb, fish shallower in the early morning and late evening, as walleye move in to feed on baitfish during low-light conditions. As the day progresses, walleye often move to deeper water near drop-offs, structure, or weed edges.

Choosing the Perfect Jig Size

Selecting the right jig size is crucial for spring walleye fishing. The best jig size depends on the depth and the water conditions you’re fishing in. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Shallow water (4-10 feet): Use 1/16 to 1/8 oz jigs for a slower, more controlled fall rate. This will keep the jig in the strike zone longer and entice walleye to bite.
  • Medium depth (10-15 feet): Use 1/8 to 1/4 oz jigs for a moderate fall rate. This will help you cover water more efficiently and effectively.
  • Deep water (15-20+ feet): Use 1/4 to 3/8 oz jigs for a faster fall rate. This will help you get your bait down quickly and maintain better contact with the bottom.


a photo of a young Colorado man in modern waders flyfishing for walleye on the shore of a lake on a bright sunny day, with modern waders, wearing a baseball hat, modern fly rod, baseball hat, shot on Agfa Vista 400 bright lighting


Spring Walleye Fishing Techniques

  1. Vertical Jigging: This technique is highly effective in spring when walleye are holding close to the bottom. Lower your jig to the desired depth and use short, sharp upward jerks to make the jig dance enticingly. Pause briefly, letting the jig settle back down, then repeat. Remember to match your jig size to the depth and water conditions.
  2. Pitching Jigs: Cast your jig towards structure, drop-offs, or weed edges, and let it sink to the bottom. Once it hits the bottom, slowly retrieve the jig with short hops and pauses. This technique allows you to cover more water and target active walleye.
  3. Slip Bobber Rigs: A slip bobber rig is an excellent option for suspending your jig at a precise depth. Adjust the bobber stop to control the depth, and use a jig size that allows for a natural presentation. Cast the rig towards walleye-holding areas and let it drift with the current or wind.
  4. Slow Death Rig: Rig a slow-death hook with a 1/8 to 1/4 oz bottom bouncer, and attach a nightcrawler or soft plastic bait. Cast the rig out, let it sink to the bottom, and slowly retrieve with a stop-and-go action. This technique is excellent for covering water and triggering reaction bites from walleye.