by Wally Banfi
Spring River Walleyes
If your like me, you can’t wait to quit drilling hole in the ice to catch fish, and want to start casting your favorite rod & reel combo in search of spring walleye’s & saugers. We are lucky to live in the Sauk Prairie area where good fishing is just a short dive away!
The Wisconsin River winds its way slowly down from the Wisconsin Dells Dam, approximately 27 miles down to the mouth of Lake Wisconsin. Lake Wisconsin is basically a man-made lake. It was built in 1909 and flooded in 1919. Its surface area is roughly 9,000 acres and its water is stained and murkey at times. Lake Wisconsin is a great fishing lake and it is a very diverse fishery. Many species thrive in the lake including muskie, northern pike, large & small mouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish & sturgeon. Walleye’s and saugers are plentiful in the lake and the “slot-size” has made Lake Wisconsin a terrific fishery. Think of Lake Wisconsin as a river impoundment held back by the Prairie du Sac Dam.
From the Prairie du Sac dam, the Wisconsin River travels approximately 90 more miles where it dumps into the “mighty” Mississippi River at Wyalusing State Park. Now….That’s a lot of water to fish!
Typically our local anglers will start their spring walleye/sauger season in the early spring below the “Dells Dam” or the “Sauk Dam” as soon as they can launch a small boat, and the ice allows them to fish below the dam. There is normally a few schools of fish that winter below the dam, but after 2 to 3 weeks of heavy angling pressure, they get beat-up a bit. Do not forget to fish downstream because many of the bigger fish (female) never move all the way up to the dam area. Look for current breaks, eddies, sand flats, and slack water areas.. This is where many of the bigger fish will lay, just out of the heavy current.
Good techniques that you can use this time of year include:
- tumbling ringworms on a light jighead with a 6’6” or 7’ Fenwick spinning rod with a good reel spooled with 6lb Berkley XL Line.
- casting shadtails on 1/8 oz “Slo-poke” jig and swimming them slowly near the bottom with a low-stretch sensitive line like Berkley Fireline.
- wading in chest-waders and casting “husky-jerk” and “count-down” Rapalas in the shallows in low-light conditions and after dark. Be careful and fish with a buddy for safety reasons.
For a fun place to stay on Lake Wisconsin, try “Lake Wisconsin Resort”. It’s open year round. Phone 1-608-635-7291.
Don’t forget to tune your radio to AM-1670 on Saturday mornings @ 8:00 am for “Outdoor Horizons Radio.” This weekly outdoors radio program is proudly sponsored by The Wilderness Fish and Game store. Need any fishing tackle, fishing reports, or fishing tips, stop by our store, and our staff will be glad to help you.