Fishing & Boating News
A Double-Barreled Approach for Spring River Walleyes
The versatile, double-barreled Dubuque Rig targets river walleye and sauger in the lowest portions of the water column.
The Dubuque Rig is designed to be presented from a moving boat. Position your boat downstream of your intended fishing area, and start moving upstream at a speed of 0.5-0.8 mph. I rely on my Minn Kota Ulterra 112 to provide me with quiet, consistent power throughout a long day of targeting spring walleye in heavy current. With the boat moving, lower the rig into the water, allowing the heavier jig to contact the bottom. Present the rig with a series of lifts and drops, releasing enough line to allow the heavy jig to remain in contact with the bottom during the drop. It is important, however, to resist the temptation to simply drag the lower jig across the bottom, as this is a sure-fire way to donate tackle to the river gods. In high-flow areas, you will likely notice that most of your bites occur on the bottom jig, while the top bait, fluttering off the bottom, will be a key producer under low-flow conditions and in cleaner water. As such, this double-barreled approach excels under a wide variety of river flow and clarity conditions that anglers encounter throughout the year.
The Dubuque Rig is quite versatile. Common modifications include using a much longer leader for the "upper" bait, and connecting that leader to a long-shank live bait hook dressed with a minnow, leech, or the front half of a nightcrawler. In some parts of the walleye belt, a trolling fly will take the place of the bare hook. Another variation is to attach a small floating crankbait to this elongated leader, allowing the heavy jig and the bottom of the rig to pull this crankbait down to depth. Likewise, some anglers will cast a Dubuque Rig to fish the front faces of wingdams from fixed position, maintained by using the Spot Lock feature of the Minn-Kota i-Pilot Link system. Day in and day out, however, I use the Dubuque Rig as described above, with two jigs each dressed with a soft plastic, presented from a moving boat.
When you fish the Dubuque Rig, you'll be presenting relatively heavy baits in moving water, and as such, this is no place for a wimpy walleye rod. Two rods are particularly well-suited for presenting the Dubuque Rig. On the spinning side of the family, I like a St. Croix 6'8" MXF rod, which you can find in series ranging from the Eyecon all the way to the Legend Xtreme. I like the same length and action in the Avid X casting series; look for the AXC68MXF to find a rod that can pull double duty for chasing walleyes and summer bass. When paired with a casting reel that features a flippin’ switch, presenting the Dubuque Rig with casting gear can be accomplished with a minimum of angler effort. When fishing either rod style, spool up with 20 lb test braid, and you're ready to hit the river.
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