If you develop an itch to get in some early season walleye action you can scratch it by looking for a warmer climate and taking a due south heading. There are plenty of opportunities for open water walleye spread throughout the south and includes states like Arkansas, Missouri, and even Kentucky. While the South and good walleye fishing aren’t exactly synonymous it is a possibility, especially if you know a little about the when, where, and how.
Big southern reservoirs like Cumberland in Kentucky, Lake Norfork and Bull Shoals in Arkansas, and Lake Stockton in Missouri are just a few of the bodies of water that have fishable numbers of walleyes. Fishable numbers means that there’s enough walleyes present to make it worth your while to pursue. Without the numbers you can feel like your looking for a needle in a haystack, which can be a little frustrating. You better believe the numbers are there, even more than you might think.
For example; Bull Shoals was on last year’s list of tournament sites for the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail and there was a little apprehension going in. Southern tournaments in the past have made for tough fishing, although we did catch at least a few fish and learn something every time we made a trip. Bull Shoals really opened the eyes of everybody that participated in the tournament and the action was exceptional. So much so that is was the best fishing we had during the entire season, including all of the tournaments held on the tremendous fisheries of the North. Everybody has a favorite lake to fish and Bull Shoals has made it’s way into my top ten list, and maybe even top five.
Making a southern run early in the season can put you in the right place at the right time and be a peak time of the year for finding schools of walleyes bunched up in areas that are easy to identify. Even though the spawning season is not usually associated with good walleye fishing, it’s one of your best bets for finding heavier concentrations of fish.
Southern walleyes behave like they do anywhere else, and the spawning season is no different. Classic movements include upstream migrations that lead walleyes up incoming rivers, as well as to the back ends of coves and arms with feeder creeks.
Once the actual spawning has taken place walleyes can be expected to hang around for several weeks or more, before slowly filtering back into the main lake. They’ll hang around because that’s where most of the baitfish can be found; seeking out the warmer temps that shallow water can provide.
Warmer water temperatures is a draw for many species of fish, including walleyes, bass, stripers and crappies. In fact walleyes may be in the minority, but don’t let that bother you. Catching bass, stripers, and giant crappies can provide plenty of action and fun, and will help keep you entertained during your search for southern gold.
Because of so many other species that might be available solely relying on your electronics to find walleyes