Most anglers will agree that jigs/plastic grubs catch their share of Walleye, especially when they’re tight to the bottom and lethargic, like in their post-spawning stage. When they recover from spawning, water temps increase and they start cruising and venturing into deep and shallow water different type of food becomes available for them. lWalleye are primarily “piscavorial” (they eat smaller fish), but they also feed on crustaceans (crayfish) and invertebrates (aquatic insect stages), and also a variety of food that can include leeches, amphibians and more.
My go-to spring jigging tactics are simple. I use the right jighead to get to the bottom. If I’m fishing deeper, faster water like the Detroit River, ON. I’ll go to a 5/8 oz jighead and use a “hydrodynamic” soft-plastic that creates little water resistance. This includes a thin, straight minnow configuration with no action tail or the Fishing Compelete Case Mad Tom.
In inland lakes/rivers I use the straight soft-plastic minnow or even a Case Plastic Jack’s Worm . If I’m fishing any Great Lakes or it’s tributaries I use both. I find that baitfish like emerald shiners start to move in first in early spring.
As waters start to warm up in the low to mid 50’s small perch and gobies become active and plentiful. That’s when I switch from the straight plastic minnow to the Mad Tom that looks like a goby.
Both are fished as close to the bottom as possible and worked with my rod tip in short “snappy” movements to make both dart and wiggle. Most of the time I don’t feel the hit, just a heavier weight and I know it’s a walleye.
My fishing outfit is usually a medium-heavy spinning rod matched with the proper size spinning reel and loaded with 20 lb. test braid. The braid definitely helps to keep the jig near the bottom, it’s extremely sensitive to detect fish grabbing the jigs and with no stretch it produced good hook-sets!