By Dan Johnson

Thoughts of world-class walleye waters often conjure up visions of wilderness waters far from the beaten path. But in reality, many anglers in metro areas across the Walleye Belt are a short cast away from fine fishing.

Case in point: Pool 2 of the Mississippi River. Set nearly dead-center in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, this rejuvenated stretch of the mighty waterway offers a great shot at fish of all sizes, including trophies topping 10.

It’s one of my favorite places to dance a 1/8- to 3/8-ounce Lindy Jig tipped with a fathead in a variety of fish-holding sweet spots. Depending on the current and water levels, everything from shoreline timber to backwaters and wing dams hold potential.

And Pool 2 is just the tip of the iceberg. A bit farther north, the St. Louis River serves up great walleye fishing throughout the open-water season. I like the fall jig bite around piers and pilings, but the options are endless. Trolling River Rockers along channel edges is a perennial producer, as are Lindy Crawler Harnesses on the dunes and edges of the lower estuary.

The list of urban hotspots goes on, from the Detroit River in the shadows of the Motor City to the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the Fox River in Wisconsin and countless other waters East to West.

While some areas see plenty of anglers at peak times, overall, many of these fisheries receive relatively light fishing pressure due to anglers’ unfamiliarity with river systems or unwillingness to test new waters.

By adding short trips to such destinations to your schedule this year—sandwiched in between road trips to iconic places like Lake of the Woods and Devils Lake—you can easily squeeze more great walleye action into the months ahead. And that’s a win-win proposition, no matter where you call home.