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This time of year, when fishing the big rivers for walleye and saugers, fishermen will have the best luck fishing wing dams. A wing dam is a length of concrete or stones or both that projects into the river at an angle from near the shore. The dam directs the flow of water to the main river channel, keeping it from silting in and open for traffic. Wing dams are great holding areas for walleyes and saugers, especially in the spring and fall, when the fish make spawning runs upriver. They use the wing dams to rest and feed as they push their way upstream.
There are three areas to fish on a wing dam. On the front edge are the most aggressive of the walleye, grabbing meals as they flow by in the current. Just behind the outer end of the wing dam is the second area, where the neutral biting fish locate. It takes a little work to get them to bite. In the third area, inside the wing dam, are the negative biters. They have probably already fed and are now sitting in the slack, quieter water behind the dam, out of the current. Live bait works best for fishing wing dams. Fishermen can cast minnows on a light jig (1/8 oz. to 1/4 oz.) just upstream of the dam, then let them slip downstream with the current, taking up the slack in the line as it drifts in the current.
A word of warning: Those not familiar with the rivers and wing dams need to be very careful in moving downstream. The best maps will give a good idea of where the wing dams are, but water levels and debris can change things. A wing dam will tear up the lower unit on an outboard motor, so it pays to approach the area where they are located with a good bit of caution.
Until next time… keep a tight line.
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