By Team Northland’s Cody Roswick
Walleye season runs year-round here in North Dakota, but this is the time of year anglers look forward to most—when the fish are predictably shallow and pitching jigs to the shoreline can result in an amazing day on the water.
Devils Lake is a huge body of water with miles and miles of shoreline, though, so deciding just where to fish can be daunting. I look for spots where there’s a little bit of current, or that tend to warm up faster—backwater areas or where a channel brings in warmer water.
Once you’re on a likely spot, fish it thoroughly with slow-and-steady retrieves. Swim the jig close to bottom and just fast enough to keep the soft plastic’s tail working.
Depending on water depth, and wind-and-wave action, I typically use a ¼- or 3/8-ounce head, though a 1/8-ounce jig isn’t out of the question on calm, still days. Tip it with something like an Impulse® Swim’n Grub that has some action at slow swimming speeds.
When selecting lure colors, I think white is hard to beat, but any pattern that features chartreuse, like Sunrise or Firetiger, is a good choice, too. The main thing is to move it slowly and steadily near the bottom. Keep the rod tip high when the jig hits the surface, then lower it during the retrieve to keep the bait in the strike zone.
Walleyes are notorious for following a lure, and they often don’t strike until the lure’s halfway back to the boat.