Shallow River Walleye

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SOURIS RIVER FULL OF SURPRISES

Having the Souris river so close, I often check it out regularly. It’s a great river for a multi species fishing, with carp, suckers and bullheads in residence. It’s great fun to change it up every once in a while, as it does hold the odd surprise Manitoba Master Angler. It’s a relatively shallow river, more so in the summer but I do like to target the river with small plastics and swimbaits for walleye. On a good day in either spring or fall it can be constant action and like all fishing it can also have bad days..

Steve checking out his options

There is even pike in the Souris and you can usually count the occasional pike putting a bend in the rod.  There is reports of masters being caught from the Souris River but my biggest to date has been around 38” which is still decent, right?

MID SUMMER A GREAT TIME TO GIVE IT A GO

Mid summer has been a great time of year for me on the river, targeting deeper pools with various baits looking for walleye. If you don’t tend to fish the river much or even at all in the summer, give it a try as I think you will be presently surprised.  

Most anglers often overlook shallow rivers as prime destinations for walleye in summer. Believing they have to go deep and fish lake structure, they don’t ever consider rivers as a hotspot. Now let me explain, it’s not that the deep lake structure isn’t a hot spot, because it certainly is. Most of my time spent fishing since I was a kid has been from shore, I actually enjoy nothing more than a walk along the river bank checking out various spots, swims and looking for any deeper holes that may be holding walleye. Doing so can be quite productive. 

I always approach the river the same way every time mid summer, looking for any fish-holding habitat, fish movement, silhouettes on the bottom. If you can, use higher ground to look down onto the river to spot possible laying fish or potential swims and if you have the option to use low overhanging cover then do so. The last thing you want to do is spook that monster fish. Simply find deep pools, fast flowing water or changes in the bottom (often from gravel to sand or mud) and you’ll find fish. 

KEY AREAS FOR MID SUMMER WALLEYE

Known to be aggressive and opportunistic feeders, walleye position themselves in mild or slack water areas close to fast moving water. Staying in slow moving water saves energy, allowing them to feed on vulnerable and disoriented minnows caught in the strong current. Walleyes quickly ambush prey and then return to calmer current areas to enjoy their snack.

Most anglers associate walleye as low-light predators,  working the shallows at dusk, dawn and at night. They can still be caught in the day and especially mid summer offers some rod-bending action. Start by searching these spots with your small swimbaits. One that has been hot for me right now is Ricky The Roach. It is a perfect baitfish imitation with a paddle tail. I fish it on a seven gram jig head and crank it in. I make a few casts upstream and work my bait through the spot in the hopes that some walleye are sitting there. If not keep I keep moving on.  Too often I see many anglers standing thrashing the same spot and then leaving with little or no success – The key is to keep moving and keep changing baits, find what’s working and fish it hard! 

CHANGE IT UP TO FIND WHAT WORKS

Make regular bait changes and be sure to try various colours and patterns. Other favourites of mine are the Curlteez Curltail, Shadteez and Hypoteez. These are designed perfectly in size and profile to represent the small bait fish that are being forced downstream and flushed through the spots mentioned earlier. However if the river is really shallow and moving super slow, I like to get on the drop shot. There’s something kinda cool about selecting a swim or slack area and flicking a mini bait in and pulling out a fish. 

Curlteez Curltail

STAY MOBILE

You never know exactly where the walleye will be holding, so it’s important to cover the entire stretch of water. And in order to do that, you need to make sure that you cover all the castable areas. When it’s time to move on to the next spot, repeat the same process. Keep casting, keep changing and keep moving.

Shadteez – Deadeye Custom

ANYONE CAN DO THIS

One of the best things about fishing for walleye in rivers is that you don’t need specialized gear (i.e boats, sonars etc). I head out light with two rods with different setups, medium sized tackle bag and a net. It’s always important to take the necessary tools to unhook fish, leader making tools and you may laugh but a small first aid kit. It’s something that I started carrying with me years ago on my fishing trips, especially solo trips! Give your local river a shot this summer, see how you get on. 

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About Author

Steve likes to hunt down predator pike and walleye. Being based in Manitoba Canada he is certainly spoiled for lakes to fish! Originally from Scotland, Steve’s passion for fishing started at the age of 6 with trout, and gradually moved to the thrill of chasing pike. Over the years Steve has worked with some of the biggest brands in the fishing industry as pro-team, ambassador and social media manager. He enjoys what he does and looks forward to what future opportunities hold.

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