Since the ice started to break up and depart the Wolf River around April 3rd, the above average temperatures since then steadily warmed the waters of the Wolf River and the marshes adjacent to it up to prime spawning temperatures for Walleyes. It is pretty hard to believe that in only a little over a weeks time the river went from ice covered to having Walleye spawning activity.
Due to the quickly rising water temperatures, anglers only had a very short fishing window for the "Up Run" as it is referred to in the area. This is the time period where Walleyes are heading upriver towards their spawning locations and usually lasts a couple weeks on a normal spring. As water temperatures climb into the low 40's in the river, water temperatures begin climbing into that mid 40° range that Walleyes favor to spawn in. The closer the water temperatures get to this, the tougher the fishing becomes as the fish become focused on getting to their spawning locations to carry out their annual duties.
The interesting part of the Winnebago System Walleyes is their tendency to spawn in marshes rather than in the actual river. Each year that water levels allow it, male Walleyes enter the marshes right after the ice leaves them, where they will stay for several weeks waiting for the females to show up and carry out the spawn. Females play a much different role, only entering the marshes when they are ready to spawn, which takes one night. Once they finish spawning, the females return to the river and begin their journey downriver towards the lakes.
This year, I expect there to be a very strong "Down Run" of primarily females to begin by Tuesday of this upcoming week and last around a week. Soon after this, the males will begin to exit the marshes and make for some great fishing in the following couple weeks as they also make their way back to the lakes.
Each year there seems to be a 3-5 day lull in the fishing action, as the main spawn is in progress and the majority of the fish are in the marshes rather than the river. We are in the midst of this lull as we speak, which means by the middle of this upcoming week the fishing should greatly improve as long as the rains don't dirty the river to badly.
I hope to make it out on the Wolf River this upcoming week to partake in the action, check back often for future reports and updates!