Shower Shallow River Walleyes With Shad Rap®s This Spring

For walleye anglers, April showers bring more than May flowers. They also bring a thunderous river Shad Rap® bite, says legendary angler Al Lindner. Target shallow rocks near the mouths of tributaries where runoff from rain enters the main river channel.

“For a really big bite, find a feeder creek dumping into a main-river area with rip-rap rock and pitch a Shad Rap up shallow,” says Lindner, co-founder of “In-Fisherman” and host of the influential “Angling Edge” and “Fishing Edge” TV shows. “Little feeder creeks that are dumping into the river will attract a lot of fish.”

James Lindner agrees.

“Shad-Rapping is a real classic thing that’s going to be done this time of year,” says James, co-host, director and producer of the “Angling Edge” and Fishing Edge” shows. “Cast ‘em up to shallow rocks with current blowing over them and slow-roll your retrieve back to the boat.”

Fishing shallow is key, because spring runoff muddies up the river. Shallower water will be a little clearer — though not nearly as clear as water in lakes this time of year. And that’s why a Shad Rap, in these situations, will often outproduce the classic jig-and-minnow set-up.

“A lot of times in early-spring river conditions, you’re fishing darker water, where you need that vibration for the fish to find the bait,” explains James, a Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Legendary Communicator. “You sort of reel it down there and you pulse it and go brrrrrtttt! And then you reel up and brrrrttt! And you want to be able to keep that bait vibrating.”

When you find shallow rocks near a tributary emptying into the main river, drop anchor so you can “work the spot quite thoroughly,” suggests Al, a Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Legendary Angler.

The benchmark other crankbaits are measured by, the Shad Rap closely resembles baitfish found the world over. Constructed of premium balsa, it is equally effective cast or trolled, performing from ultra-slow presentations to super fast, without fail. Its precise action, detailed finish and proven fish-catching patterns make this a “must-have” bait for all anglers. Hand-tuned and tank-tested for perfection right out of the box, Shad Raps feature super-sharp VMC® black-nickel treble hooks.

When he’s Shad-Rapping for spring river walleyes, James prefers a medium-action, 7-foot spinning rod spooled with 10-pound-test Sufix® 832 Advanced Superline® braid tipped with a three-to four-foot 10-pound-test leader of Sufix Invisiline 100% Fluorocarbon. “Because I’m constantly hitting the bottom and there’s also a lot of zebra mussels, I like to beef up my fluoro leader from what I’d use where I’m fishing in lakes,” he explains. “And you’re going to have to check your knots a lot, because you start ripping across that type of bottom and it scars that leader pretty quickly.”

Additional advantages of Sufix 832 braided line is longer casting distance and increased feel. “You have a more distinct feel of how the bait is moving in the water,” James says. “The vibration of the bait, the braid drives that back to you.”

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