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Don't Overlook that Spring Shoreline

By Eric Brandriet - May 11, 2021
While many boats are poised to exit winter storage, fishing from shore and/or docks which can continue into early summer can provide some of the best angling of the year. Shore fishing can provide great walleye action, due to access to shallow spawning walleyes. While many see this as a simple thoughtless way to catch walleyes, paying attention to location and approaching it with a sort of methodology will increase your success.

Spring walleyes can be caught on any shoreline but gravel/scattered rock areas (2-5 ft.) are prime spawning areas and those that drop off to deeper water are even better. Rocky or rip-rapped shorelines are also favorites and those on the west sides of water often will out produce others due to the increased sunlight. Always look for wind driven shorelines as bait is often driven towards them. Running water often produces temperature differences that always will attract more walleyes. Some of the best shore fishing locations can be found when in a boat so taking mental notes. Another great scouting tool the Humminbird FishSmart App that aids in finding potential fish holding areas.

There is no reason to overthink lure selection as walleyes are shallow to spawn and...ready to eat. A jig and minnow/plastic combination screams walleye candy. Proven favorites include a Northland Tackle Fireball Jigs or a Mimmic Minnow. Slip Bobbers teamed with a split shot and plain hook tipped with a minnow/leech will provide a natural presentation that can be fished at any depth. Natural colored shad-style or stickbait crankbaits on a slow retrieval can easily entice shallow hungry walleyes.

Casting straight out (12 o'clock) will produce but switching it up and casting from 3-9 o'clock will cover more water and potentially more bites. Casting at angles and varying rates in relation to the shoreline gives walleyes different views of baits and will unveil exact location and walleye preference. Make mental notes on where casts are made and when fish are caught. Where there is one... there usually are more and action can be fast and furious.

Like all angling, paying attention to detail can be crucial in determining success. When you find that shoreline that produces walleyes, make sure to remember and hit it again next year. Because walleyes are spawning and water warms up the quickest on shorelines, early morning, late evening and midday due to highest water temps often can produce the most action. This can be a favorite time of the year for many as there is no better time to get kids out fishing. The spring shoreline bite can quickly become a tradition. For many anglers, the warm spring evenings are a special time of year.

Eric Brandriet
Eric Brandriet, a USCG licensed captain, is part owner/operator of Dakota Prairie Angling LLC, offering year-round guided trips on SD Glacial Lakes and summer trips on Lake Oahe. When not on the water or ice, he enjoys sharing his knowledge through fishing seminars, articles and blogs. Learn more by visiting
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