By Dan Johnson

In southern Wisconsin, veteran walleye guide Dave Duwe reports that walleye action is improving on Delavan Lake with fish being taken in 10 to 12 feet of water. Best tactic has been trolling medium-diving crankbaits such as Lindy River Rockers in shades of firetiger, silver and blue, although tried-and-true Lindy rigging with nightcrawlers is also catching a lot of fish.

Duwe also reports that Lake Koshkonong is a solid option for walleyes, where the same tactics in 5-foot depths along the south shore have been yielding consistent walleye catches with bonus saugers available.

At more than 10,000 acres with a maximum depth of just 7 feet, Koshkonong is a shining example of shallow, fast-warming fisheries across the Midwest where walleye activity perks up fast in May.

Big Stone Lake on the South Dakota-Minnesota border is another example, but there are literally countless options ranging from prairie potholes to flowages sprinkled across the Walleye Belt.

Typically, such waters are heavy on relatively featureless, soft-bottomed basins and thin on classic walleye structure. When walleyes scatter across the flats or along subtle depth or bottom content transitions, trolling programs like Duwe’s are top options. But where fish gather along sweet spots such as rock or rubble areas along banks and points, pitching Lindy Jigs tipped with leeches, minnows or half crawlers can be dynamite.

However you tackle them, shallow lakes can be hotbeds of walleye activity anytime, but they’re especially good while we’re waiting for water temperatures to warm and fish activity levels to pick up in deeper natural systems.