By Dan Johnson

Of all the ways to catch river walleyes, float fishing is arguably one of the most overlooked. That’s a shame, because it remains a great option for suspending jigs and baits while working them through prime lies.

Part of the reason many anglers shun the bobber scene in rivers may be due to the tricks current can play on your riggings—such as twisting and tangling your line. Too, setting a float to keep the bait the right height above bottom during a drift can be intimidating, especially where depths vary.

But by using the right tackle and techniques, you can easily conquer such challenges and catch walleyes when anglers throwing other presentations can’t.

For example, float rigs that present baits at or slightly slower than the speed of the current are deadly on tough-bite walleyes, which may turn down crankbaits and jigs zipping through the strike zone.

One of the tricks to hassle-free river bobbering is choosing the right float. Compared to still-water floats, those designed for use in current typically have longer stems while the body sports a tapered profile and rides higher on the stem.

Fixed floats are fine for holding back the rig in moderate current in depths of 8 feet or less. Thill’s Turbo Master and River Master are classic examples and have accounted for countless walleyes and other river fish over the years. In deeper water, slip floats like the Thill Center Slider are excellent choices.

A 7-foot or longer spinning outfit spooled with 6- to 8-lb monofilament, capped with a swivel and 2- to 4-foot fluorocarbon leader, works great. To complete the rig, thread a leech, minnow or crawler on a small Lindy Jig, large Lindy Ice Worm or plain hook. If need be, pinch shot on the line for added weight.

Top areas include gravel banks, eddies, flats below current breaks and other feeding areas like current seams and the upstream edge of an incoming creek. Float rigs also excel in holding areas like below wing dams, points and pilings.

You can often find fish-holding areas by casting jigs and crankbaits until you catch a few fish, then slowing down and thoroughly working the spot with a float. No matter where you live in Lindy Land, such tactics can help you put more fish in the boat or on the bank all summer long.