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Tuesday, 16 April 2013 14:53

Jigging For Walleye

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As the water temperatures warm to 40°F, the walleye are starting to hit on the Detroit River. Landing a trophy walleye in the 10 lb - 13 lb range is possible as females get ready to spawn. If you want to do it in a kayak, it’s not a problem.

Jigging For Walleye In a Hobie Kayak

If you are familiar with jigging for walleye on the Detroit River you would find it hard to understand how someone can do it out of a kayak, unless you knew how a Hobie Mirage Drive Kayak works. With the combination of the Mirage Drive and rudder you can accomplish the same thing as a powerboat that uses an electric motor or a kicker motor to maneuver their boat to float with the current of the river at a speed that will keep their line vertical. The Mirage Drive is a device that will seat inside the kayak and allows you to pedal instead of paddle your kayak. [There are other non-paddle options for kayaks, including the Native “Propel” pedal drive and the Ocean Kayak “Torque” electric motor. –Ed.]

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Jigging Presentation

Because you are sitting, you need sharp hooks that will help to give the hook set needed when you feel that bite. Try to use around a 7’ rod, which will give you the extra travel when you first set the hook. Sitting in a kayak only gives you half the travel, or less, than if you were standing in a powerboat. I have started using Matzuo® sickle hook jigs this year, and my percentage of hooking fish is much better than in the past.

JIG Wallleye

I use a spinning rod set up spooled with 10 lb PowerPro line with a 6’ – 7’ leader of fluorocarbon. Depending on the depth, I use 5/8, 3/4, or 1oz jigs. Using a needle that carp anglers use for setting up a hair rig, I will put through the FinS minnow starting just where the hook came through and push through to the tail. Here you hook on the stinger hook and pull back to main hook and fasten onto it.

Jigging for walleye

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Jigging for walleye

Jigging for walleye

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Once you have hooked the fish, make sure that your drag is set properly to give enough pressure so the fish can’t spit the hook. Make sure your net is close by, so you can grab it just before getting the fish to the surface. I have my net right behind me on the right side of my kayak, because I am right handed. In one quick motion as I take one hand off the rod I will continue to lift the fish to the surface with one hand as the other is grabbing the net and lowering it just beneath the surface to net my catch. Probably 90% of the time the hook pops right after netting the fish. This is where sitting in a kayak close to the water has the advantage if you are using your net properly.

Jigging for walleye

Best Time of Year

April and May is prime time for jigging on the Detroit River. Even if the wind blows and one side of the river unfishable, there is always the other side. I purchase a Michigan license every year to have that option and also carry a Nexus card in case I need to go into a canal or land on shore. [The Nexus card is ID used for cross-border travel. –Ed.] There are a couple of spots where the Detroit River is less than a mile wide and easy to cross.

Read 16656 times Last modified on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 15:18
Richard Ofner

Richard Ofner started fishing in the fall of 2008 from a kayak, targeting all freshwater species. He has fished all over the Great Lakes Region from Lake Michigan, Lake Superior to the French River,  and Bay of Quinte in Eastern Ontario. Taking advantage of all the opportunities Southwestern Ontario has to offer, Richard seeks out trophy Muskie, Walleye and Bass which can all be caught minutes away from where he lives.  The last few years Richard has ventured into Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas participating in several Kayak Fishing Tournaments.

He has organized the Border City Classic, in Windsor, Ontario which has grown to become one of  the Great Lakes Region’s largest Kayak Fishing Events. It is also one of the Hobie World Qualifiers since 2014. 

During the winter months where he can't get on the water he will do seminars, work fishing and boat shows, and write for blogs to help promote the areas vast resource of fishing opportunities and helping others to discover the sport of kayak fishing. Taking videos and pictures on the water of other people fishing in kayaks has also expanded into his kayak fishing experience.  
As a Hobie Fishing Team Member you may see Richard out in one of his Mirage Driven Kayaks mainly targeting Walleye, Bass, and Muskie, and will travel a few hours to target Salmon, Trout, and Sturgeon.



# smj190 2013-04-17 14:25
Can't wait to do some Walleye Jigging on lake Winnebago this year!
# asgmp 2013-05-24 08:20
Nice write up. Do you do any fishing on Lake St. Clair? I'm on the US side just north of the river.
# Roger51 2015-03-04 19:33
Just curious as to why you are not wearing a PFD in these shots?

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