In many Lindy Land lakes, finding midwinter walleyes is a matter of focusing on fish-holding main-lake structure in deep water. But in river systems large and small, skinny water can hold the key to great catches.

Case in point: the Lower St. Louis River along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. Veteran hardwater warrior and Lindy pro Charlie Nelson reports some of the best action lately has come from depths of 7 feet or less.

“I know a guy who was poking around in 3 feet of water and caught a nice bunch of walleyes that, when he cleaned a few of them, were full of frogs they’d been rooting out of the mud,” he said.

Shallow dunes created by the current have also been productive, as have old weedbeds with just enough life in them to produce oxygen and attract baitfish, Nelson added.

Tracking down shallow water walleyes can be challenging because sonar is not much help for marking fish in scouting mode.

“Looking for contour changes with a chartplotter can sometimes help you get in the right neighborhood, but even then, you still pretty much have to fish for them,” said Nelson.

For that, he leans on a loud and proud presentation like the Lindy Darter or Rattl’n Flyer Spoon.

“The 1/8- and ¼-ounce Darters are great search lures when you pump the rodtip aggressively to really make them swim and activate the rattles,” he explained.

While Darters excel without any kind of tipping, Nelson often experiments with putting a minnow head on either the front or rear treble.

“Adding a minnow head on the front treble changes the bait’s attitude and action,” he said. “It hangs more nose down, and drops faster on the fall.”

Conversely, he says impaling a minnow on the tail hook makes the bait ride more horizontally and swim in a flatter pattern during its descent.

“Rattl’n Flyers are also great for finding walleyes fast,” he added.”You can tip them with bait, but when I’m searching for fish, I typically don’t.”

With either a Darter or Flyer, Nelson normally fishes a live minnow on a plain hook on a second line a short distance from the active presentation. “A lot of times this will catch walleyes that come in to check out the commotion but aren’t aggressive enough to hit it,” he said.