Pre-Spawn Plays for Walleyes

Pre-Spawn Plays for Walleyes

Author: Game and Fish Magazine
Published: February 28, 2023

“When walleyes start moving in anticipation of the upcoming spawn, be ready to intercept them and tempt them with the right lures.

Few things excite Midwest anglers more than catching a large walleye, and the pre-spawn period often offers them their best chance at tangling with one. Fish have spent the winter moving little and fattening up on whatever prey swims by them. Now, as rising temperatures trigger their natural drive to reproduce, they move toward key spawning areas, feeding along the way.

The best pre-spawn walleye anglers know where these fish are headed and understand where fish will be at each stage of the process. When they do find walleyes near spawning grounds, these folks capitalize on opportunities with the right baits and presentations. Let’s examine where to find pre-spawn walleyes—beginning with winter holding areas and ending with spawning habitat—and how to catch them once you do.


When, exactly, walleyes begin their journey from overwintering areas to spawning grounds varies immensely, depending on geography, type of waterbody and weather among other factors. On many lakes that freeze, it can coincide with ice-out. On others, it may begin well before the ice leaves. Farther south, where lakes never freeze, this migration may begin as early as February. Way up north, it may be closer to June.

In parts of the region where ice is a prominent factor, rivers often provide the first action. This, again, is a result of higher water temperatures. Open water warms quicker if it doesn’t have an ice cap, and, because of their current, rivers lose ice more quickly than similarly frozen lakes. Because of this, you’ll often see rivers in later stages of the pre-spawn and spawning processes than area lakes.”

The full article can be found here. 

Photo Credit: Original Author

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