By Dan Johnson

With a mixed bag of weather in the forecast across much of Lindy Land for the next few days, walleye fans around the Midwest are scouring their tactical playbooks in search of productive patterns. Here’s a surefire strategy to add to your playlist this weekend, courtesy of veteran guide and Fish Ed TV host Jon Thelen.

“One of the simplest and most effective ways to fish spring walleyes is trolling jigs along breaklines near spawning areas,” says Thelen.

The pattern is simple-but-deadly on lakes of all sizes, and has saved countless trips when high winds or other foul weather kept Thelen off big-water hotspots and forced him to focus on smaller lakes where he could maintain boat control.

In search mode, Thelen studies a lake map for slow-tapering, hard-bottom shorelines where walleyes recently spawned.

“A spawning flat that tapers out to a nice, sharp break into deeper water is perfect,” he says. “Typically I try to stay at one specific depth range along the break, such as 7 to 9 feet, maybe swinging out once in awhile to check for deeper fish.”

Rather than jig vertically, which is a great approach when fish are concentrated in one spot, Thelen favors slow trolling to contact walleyes scattered along the structure.

“Pull the jig along, bouncing it on the bottom,” advises. “When you see a fish on sonar, raise the rod tip and slow the boat down. If you can park the bait over the fish a little longer, most of the time you’ll get bit.”

Thelen’s weapon of choice for spring jig trolling is a 1/8-ounce Lindy Jig tipped with a nose-hooked shiner minnow. This combination will actually catch a little bit of everything, including slab crappies and northern pike of all sizes.

Another key, he notes, is looking for areas with the warmest water temperature.

“If shorelines along one corner of the lake are a few degrees warmer, fish them first,” he says. “The walleyes will be farther along in their postspawn progression and more likely to be on the feed.”

For more of Thelen’s tips on jig trolling walleyes this weekend, check out an online episode of Fish Ed dedicated to this timely topic by CLICKING HERE.