The jig & minnow for walleye is a tried and true tactic from Fishing Opener, well into the season. In this video, Brad Hawthorne goes through everything you need to know to put more walleyes in the boat using a jig & minnow…. and he catches a bunch of Mille Lacs walleyes in the process!
The biggest key to spring jigging for walleye is to understand that your jig needs to hit the bottom. Maintaining bottom contact and slowly lifting the jig rather than aggressively snap jigging made all the difference in catching fish on this particular day with a jig & minnow.
Hawthorne uses a Long Shank Fire-Ball Jig for pitching in water under 65 degrees and says that under 10 feet of water he uses an 1/8th ounce jig and from 10-16 he uses a 1/4 ounce jig. Anything over that he goes to 3/8th ounce jig but this can vary based on where you’re fishing.
Hawthorne prefers a medium light jig rod with a little more length to it which he uses smaller diameter braid to a slightly smaller fluorocarbon leader so the fish can’t see his line.
Relying on his electronics is crucial to his success and he demonstrates how he uses side imaging to locate structure and fish also to discern between what is rocks and what are actually pods on fish on his graph. As technology evolves it has allowed to angler to be more precise in locating and casting to fish and this can certainly be a huge advantage when using a jig & minnow for walleye, or really any other technique as well.
Deciding between fishing a jig and a minnow can be a challenge but Brad says that he will use a plastic when fish are less finicky and aren’t investigating the rig as closely, so anytime he can trigger a bite that’s a very important understanding to have is what mood are the walleyes in.