WHERE TO FIND WALLEYES & SAUGERS
Natural Lakes. Early in the season you'll find walleyes and saugers relating to bulrush beds on shallow points and reefs, weedy flats and any associated fingers, turns or meandering weed edges. Shallow and mid-depth gravel/rock shorelines and flats, gradually sloping points, shoals and humps leading into deeper water are also productive.
During mid-season, deep, hard-bottom points, reefs and humps or a grouping of such structures in close proximity are good bets.
Late in the season, deep, sloping points and features near spawning areas such as mid-depth gravel flats or river mouths draw large schools of pre-spawn fish.
Man-made Lakes. At first ice, walleyes and saugers feed on shallow flats offering weeds, flooded timber or stumpfields. Mid-depth, rocky shorelines, riprap banks, points, shoals and humps are also productive.
During mid-season, walleyes and saugers may continue to frequent early-season hotspots, provided water levels remain consistent and cover, food and oxygen remain available. Given dropping water levels or loss of food and oxygen concentrations, walleyes may drop onto deeper, woody flats and rocky or woody points adjoining the main and secondary creek channels, or given severe fluctuations, relate to sharp breaking points leading into the deepest available water.
Late-season walleyes and saugers begin migrating up secondary creek channels and holding in deep pockets outside shallow gravel flats or river mouths prior to the spring spawning migration.
Ponds and Pits. Walleye populations in ponds and pits are largely dependent on stocking. Early-season location is dependent upon the pond or pit size. On small, shallow waters, walleyes usually relate to the deepest open pockets within vegetation in ponds or shady rock outcroppings in pits. On larger, deeper waters, they'll typically suspend over deep water.
During mid-season, walleyes often suspend in relation to sharp drop-offs or over deep water.
Late in the season, walleyes suspend over deep water, but shallow rock or weed cover may draw fish toward ice-out.
Big Rivers and Backwaters. Early-season walleyes and saugers usually relate to rocky or riprap shorelines and embankments along side channels that feature a slight trace of current, or deep, ice-covered pools and eddies within tributary streams or at the mouths of backwater areas.
During mid-season, deeper pools and eddies within side channels or below dams and locks featuring minimal water flow hold active fish.
Late in the season, walleyes and saugers begin upstream migrations, and deep, iced-over pools or slack water areas within spawning rivers can provide fabulous action.