The coming of spring marks a surge in walleye fishing opportunities in river tailwaters below major dams throughout northern Indiana.
River walleyes began to migrate upstream mid-March in search of spawning habitat. Where blocked by dams, they congregate in large numbers.
“Avid walleye anglers have fished these areas for years,” DNR fisheries biologist Neil Ledet said. “We want to encourage other fishermen to give it try.”
Hot tailwater locations include the Tippecanoe River below the Oakdale Dam near Monticello, the St. Joseph River below the Elkhart Dam in Elkhart County, and the Salamonie River below the Salamonie Dam in Wabash County. Anglers also should try two hot spots in Fort Wayne. They are the Maumee River below the Hosey Dam and the St. Joseph River below the dam at Johnny Appleseed Park.
Walleye fishing can be more productive when water levels drop after a period of runoff. The increased flow triggers walleye to move upstream, and the declining flow helps concentrate them.
Walleyes are not built to swim against a strong current for long periods, so anglers can find them on the edge of eddies, behind boulders or anything that provides a break from current. Anglers also should look for areas of slow current near the bank, especially after sunset.
Ledet suggests fishing with white or chartreuse lead-head jigs, or suspended jerk baits with rattles. Walleyes are most active on overcast days and the first couple hours after sunset and before sunrise.
Some walleye anglers wade, which can be treacherous during high flow. Most areas can be fished from the bank.
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