As water warms, walleye fishing heats up
PRATT — As table fare, walleye are at the top of most anglers' lists. They are not only tasty, but they grow large enough that a few fish can feed a family. (The state record walleye is more than 13 pounds.) As spring weather warms both water and air, walleye fishing heats up, too. Walleye move over shallow points, flats, and underwater roadbeds to feed in May and early June. While fishing from a boat is the preferred method, walleye can be caught at this time by wading. Look for fish in water 3 to 15 feet deep.

These post-spawn walleye are often aggressive and can be caught trolling with crank baits or drifting a jig and nightcrawler combination. Jig size varies depending on the amount of wind and water depth, but usually a 1/8- or ¼-ounce jighead works well. Popular lure colors include chartreuse, red, orange, pink, and white.

Many of Kansas’ 24 reservoirs provide good walleye fishing. Much of this success can be attributed to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks' (KDWP) aggressive walleye stocking program. This year, KDWP fisheries biologists harvested approximately 100 million walleye eggs and produced almost 60 million fry.

In addition, length limits allow walleye to grow to reproductive age, and in some reservoirs, prime habitat produces excellent walleye populations year after year. The Kansas Fishing Forecast, on the KDWP website, rates the top five walleye reservoirs for 2010 as Cheney, Lovewell, Kirwin, Wilson, and Webster. As of the last week in April, the only large lakes reporting good walleye fishing were Coffey County Lake and El Dorado, Lovewell, Milford, and Wilson reservoirs, but action should intensify through May and early June. And anglers shouldn't overlook smaller impoundments and other reservoirs.

Conditions for walleye fishing can change daily, so visit the KDWP Fishing Reports and the Public Fishing Reports, ksfishing.blogspot.com, for the latest information.