Fishing Near Riprap for Walleyes On June 17, 2013
By: Bruce “Doc” Samson
Remember that old song from childhood? Knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone? Well, I’ve changed the words a bit for a valuable lesson to use when fishing riprap.
RIPRAP FISH’LL WHACK
CHANGE YOUR LINE FOR STRETCH
DON’T SPOOK THE FISH, USE PLANER BOARDS
AND LOTS OF ‘EYES YOU’LL CATCH.
OK. It’s goofy. I know, but just hang in there, because once we are done with this lesson, you’ll be out on the water singing to yourselves and comfortably fishing near Riprap for walleyes.
First, what the heck is riprap? Technically defined, it is a loose assemblage of broken stones erected in water as a foundation or the broken stones used for such a foundation (that’s from Dictionary.com). In common terms, it is manmade rock in the water, like bridges or shorelines. On rivers the railroads will run parallel to the river and it’s a riprap paradise. Riprap protects the shore from erosion, but for anglers it is a great place to hunt for walleyes, as long as you know how to find them.
Here is the part where we learn about the second line of our song. Change your line for stretch. If you fish regularly, you’ll know that monofilament line is stretchy and that so-called “superlines” are stretch-free. As long as you use the right line in the right conditions, you will be much more successful.
When using more than 100 feet of line, use a superline, like Fireline. Fireline has no stretch, which will help you to feel the bottom better. If you are using 100 feet of line or less, use a monofilament line, like 10 lb Trilene XT. See? Change your line for stretch, whether you need more or less.
The same theory works for the line to the planer board when cranking close to the riprap. Since there is usually only 10-30 feet of line from the planer board to the crankbait, stick with monofilament. The line stretch helps keep the fish hooked. Planer boards are used in this instance to keep the bait away from the boat and prevent spooking the fish. The only person who wants your boat 6 feet from a rock wall is the prop repairman! And there you have the third line of our song.
When casting into riprap, you should position your boat next to the riprap and cast parallel to it. This will keep your lure in the fish zone longer. You can also position the boat away from the riprap and cast towards it. However, this will minimize your lure’s presence in the fish zone. If the wind or current is an issue, drift next to the riprap and cast with the wind. Your crankbait will cast much better and your boat won’t spook the walleyes. If you retrieve at different depths, you will be able to figure out where the fish are suspending and target your search. This is where your boat partner comes in to find those deeper fish.
When it comes down to it, walleyes can be picky eaters, so choose your bait wisely. I like to present these toothy fish with a FLOATING SALMO MINNOW 7F AND 9F shallow water crankbait when using a planer board. Color truly depends on the individual bodies of water, so look to the local tackle stores for direction.
Minnows, leeches and nightcrawlers all make good meals for walleye, too. Pitch 1/16 to 1/8 oz. short shank Fireball jigs with minnows or leeches or use a long shank jig and thread ½ nightcrawler on it. Shallow water fish are usually aggressive, so I use heavy line to straighten the hook on snags. This also slows the drop of the jig, so I can keep it close to, but not in the rocks. Just as with crankbaits, position the boat away from the riprap and pitch the bait to the structure.
Slip bobbers work great in current or with waves crashing on the riprap once you find the fish. Anchor the boat and float the bait to the walleyes. This method allows fewer snags and makes it easier to hook the fish. It also keeps the bait in the fish zone longer.
There you have it-this is how you can be fishing near riprap for walleyes. The end of our song. Follow these simple rules and LOTS OF ‘EYES YOU’LL CATCH.