Ripping cranks on riprap

Late summer marks the beginning of some really good fall walleye fishing. I like to head to the rivers when the weather is hot and do some ripping of cranks along the riprap.
This is a spring and fall approach to finding walleyes shallow but it also is very effective on late-summer walleyes.
One of the main reasons I go to the river at this time of year is to hone my skills for tournaments coming up in the fall. Rivers offer more riprap than most natural lakes because they usually have a railroad track running along the corridor of the river valley.
These railroad tracks offer an angler a great place to try techniques and presentation for shallow walleyes.
In fact, I believe that if more anglers would fish more shallow, they might be surprised to find a number of walleyes. Those that inhabit the riprap along the Mississippi River, for instance, will be found in one to seven feet of water most of the time.
Exceptions to this rule may be clear water conditions or bright hot weather. But more times than not, you can find walleyes in and around these shallows caused by the riprap.
To catch shallow fish, I use my bow-mounted MotorGuide to get a close to shore as possible. I face into the current and cast upstream so the bait moves downstream. This is essential because 90 percent of all fish in a river face into the current in order to feed.
When I make my first cast, it is critical to present the bait to the feeding fish in a natural, life-like manner. I will cast upstream as close to shore as possible, then I point my Quantum rod directly at shore. This gives my crankbait a direct downstream run.
By extending my arm, and using a long seven-foot rod, I can get as close to shore as possible.
As the bait starts down river, I will use my wrist to jerk or flick the bait, causing it to dart and dive representing a wounded minnow. As the bait approaches the boat, I also will take in as much slack as possible to allow myself better feel and better hook-setting leverage.
My next couple of casts are going to be deeper. Here, because the water tends to be deeper, I will change my presentation to more traditional casting. My cast will be ahead of the boat, and I will retrieve the lure with a bait-bumping approach.
My next cast might be even deeper to see if the walleyes have moved out, but again it will be a normal cast and retrieve method.
Under low-light conditions or in darker water, walleyes will be shallow (one to seven feet). But if it’s bright or there’s a lot of boat traffic, they move deeper.
When I am fishing along the riprap, I use a method known as “slipping the current.” Basically, this method allows the operator of a boat to stay in one spot or drift downstream slowly by using the electric trolling motor.
I set my bow-mount MotorGuide to match the speed of the current and occasionally I will increase the thrust to move upstream to new water.
Your electric trolling motor is important for you to use in this situation because it provides a quiet approach to fishing fish in the shallows. A gas engine is likely to spook the fish, and the method of staying in one place to combat the current with a gas engine is difficult at best.
When fishing walleyes in the shallow column of water, I prefer to use the Storm Thunderstick or the Thunderstick Deep Jr. in the metallic silver of the golden shiner colour. The fish–even this shallow–are still visually orientated, and I need something in dirty or stained water that is going to give off flash and has the ability to dive to the desired depth.
Summer weather might be cooling off at this time of year and as we approach fall, many of the shad start to move into places that are warmer, especially along the rocks of the riprap.
This is also a place you should look for late-summer walleyes. So get out those crankbaits, stow away the jigs, and start ripping some cranks along the riprap.