Jigs for Fishing Weed Walleye

By Lance Valentine

JigsWeeds provide some of the best walleye habitat in most lakes and can be the primary home of walleye in some bodies of water. As soon as they turn green in late spring weeds, especially cabbage and coontail, host good populations of walleye and even some trophies. Finding a way to get them out of the weeds can be a challenge but learn a few jigging techniques for weed walleye and you will always be able to catch some fish.

Jigs may not seem like a first choice for fishing in the weeds, but when done correctly fishing a jig can be one of the most effective ways to extract walleye from weeds, even thick beds in the summer. Let’s look at a few jigging options that work for walleye in the weeds.

First, let’s look at weedless jigs like the Northland Tackle Weed Weasel or Lindy Veg-E-Jig. One of my favorites, I like to fish them with plastics or live bait. Since they are weedless, they can be pitched into weeds and can be fished effectively. If walleye are active or I’m searching for biting fish, plastics are preferred. Choose plastics with a fork tail or a paddle tail since twister tail plastics tend to “grab” weeds. Once an area that holds fish is found continue pitching plastics for active or fish a plain jig with a leech and slow down, working the area for less active fish.

When fishing weedless jigs I like weights of ¼ ounce to ½ ounce with 3/8 being a favorite. Weeds help hide your line, so rig up with 8-12lb test high vis braided line to help you pull fish from the weeds and to be able to detect the subtle “tick” on your line that signals a bite. A medium action rod with a fast tip around 6’ – 6’3” in length is perfect. The shorter rod makes it easier to cast or flip your jig into tight spots or small weed pockets.

JigsCasting, or Swim Jigs, have become a hot presentation the past few seasons and are a great option for weed walleye. Swim jigs are usually a little heavier than weedless jigs, and the line tie coming out the jig nose helps them slide through the weeds. Paddle tail plastics are the first choice as a body, and 3-5” plastics are the norm, although plastics up to 7” can produce bigger fish in warmer waters. Since they are usually fished aggressively, 5/8 ounce is a perfect weight for swim jigs.

Heavier jigs call for heavier tackle, and 12-14lb fluorocarbon main line fished on a 6’3” to 7” Medium Heavy fast tip spinning rod is the perfect combo for swim jigs in the weeds. Heavy line and a stiff rod are needed to “snap” the jig off weed stalks, and that snap action usually triggers aggressive bites.

JigsStand up style jigs are a great choice when casting parallel to deep weed edges and are usually tipped with live bait. The head design keeps the jig hook up off the bottom and fairly snag free. Stand up jigs produce lots of walleye when cast parallel to weed edges and slowly pulled along the bottom then left to sit, allowing the live bait (leeches are a favorite) to just dance in front of the fish.

Stand up jigs are fished with a little more finesse than weedless or swim jigs, so the rod and line is a little different. Longer rods, around 7’ long with a medium action and moderate tip are preferred to keep the action imparted on the jig to a minimum. Spool up a spinning reel with 8-10lb fluorocarbon line and you’re ready to catch walleye on deep weed edges.

Jig fishing the weeds for walleye is an effective and fun way to fish. The viciousness of a strike from a shallow walleye hiding in cover then darting out to grab a meal can often surprise an angler. Try the jig designs mentioned above this season and your catch of weed walleye will be on the rise!

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