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Thread: Post spawn walleye

  1. #1
    Member NPhusker's Avatar
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    North Platte
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    Default Post spawn walleye

    I have read enough on here to know that there are many factors that affect the spawning times for walleye (all fish for that matter), and the photoperiod is supposed to be the big one (spawn starts about April 1st).

    What are the factors that affect when the Walleye start feeding during post spawn?

    Does photoperiod play a role? Temperature?

    Is it basically whenever they are re-engergized?

    Is this pretty consistent from year to year?

  2. #2

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    Fish go through the same annual cycle every year. Yes, the walleye spawn is about the same time every year and therefore the post-spawn is about the same time every year. Of course every year is a little bit different, weather, water conditions, and a host of other factors can modify behaviors and movements, but the fish progress through the same general cycles year after year.

    Keep in mind that not all fish in a population spawn at the same time; some will spawn early and some will spawn late. Oh, and the males come early and stay late. That means the walleye spawn will last over a period of weeks, maybe as long as a month. Males will be on the spawning habitat that entire time while female walleyes show up when they are ready to deposit their eggs, do their thing usually in one night, and then get outta there. In a population of walleyes there will be some fish that are pre-spawn, some that are spawning, and some that are post-spawn all at the same time in the middle of the spawn period. As the spawn progresses all the fish in a population finish spawning and progress into the post-spawn period.

    I do not believe there is much if any recuperation period after fish spawn. They need to re-energize as you put it, and they accomplish that by feeding! I do not believe there is some "slump" in fishing success during the post-spawn because the fish are "worn out" and laying around on the bottom resting. They have to start feeding after they finish spawning in order to recover; any recuperation period, if there is one, is short.

    For a time during the post-spawn you can still find some males on or near the spawning habitat especially if there is prey there for them to eat. Typically, walleyes in Nebraska reservoirs scatter all over the reservoir during the post-spawn period. Once they finish spawning they are hungry, and at this time of year the abundance of natural prey is at its annual minimum. So, walleyes scatter all over the reservoir and feed on a variety of prey items when the spawn is finished. In fact, it is not at all unusual to see walleyes in our reservoirs spawn on the dam face and then when they are done spawning migrate clear to the opposite end, the upper end of the reservoir, to start feeding. Walleyes will feed on a variety of prey, in particular a variety of other fish in the post-spawn period, so it is typical to find a few walleyes here, a few there, and catch them on a variety of presentations during the post-spawn. Covering water and using a variety of baits and presentations is probably the best strategy for post-spawn walleyes in reservoirs.

    However, keep a couple of things in mind: First of all, the walleyes will scatter and feed on a variety of prey, but during the post-spawn the water is still relatively cold. Warmer water will attract walleyes during the post-spawn because those warmer areas will tend to have more prey. Walleyes will use a variety of depths after the spawn as they pursue a variety of prey, but warm water, shallow water will attract a lot of fish. Do not overlook shallow water, especially shallow water where there are some prey fish of some kind, especially wind-blown shallows.

    Fishing will become more predictable and more consistent as the water warms and the fish settle into certain habitats and feeding strategies. The best walleye fishing on Nebraska reservoirs occurs during May and June every year--after the spawn, when natural prey is at a minimum, and after the water warms a little. And then in late June/early July the abundance of young-of-the-year (YOY) prey fish begins to show up and with all of that natural prey the fishing gets tougher and stays that way well into the fall on most of our reservoirs.

    And then comes the cold-water of winter and then spring and the whole cycle repeats itself.

    Daryl Bauer
    Fisheries Outreach Program Manager
    Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

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  4. #3
    NEFGA Sponsor! Merritt's Avatar
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    North Platte
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    Thanks for the thorough explaination of the rather mysterious early post spawn walleye bite (or lack of a bite). Here at Merritt the general rule is spawn peaks during the first week of April followed by tough walleye fishing until late April to early May. I had always assumed there was a rest or recovery period that accounted for a slow bite but a scattering of fish with erratic feeding patterns would also explain a slow bite. At any rate, we look for the 'eyes here to settle into more predictable patterns soon. I plan to to fish the back of the Powderhorn & Boardman arm along with the upper Snake arm with my favorite spinnerbaits in late April or as soon as the water there warms up a little.

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